A Manual for Germany / Ein Handbuch für Deutschland

The German Government Representative for Migration, Refugees and Integration / Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration has published a Manual for Germany, mainly intended for foreigners.

Languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Turkish

Sections: German geography, civilization and culture
Politics and law
Employment and social security
Everyday life
Organizations and contacts

It says translation: TRANSLATIONES, Berlin. Reads well in English. I can’t trace these people, though. A trivial matter: vocabulary varies weirdly between British and American (probably deliberate, to make it comprehensible to everyone), spelling is British, capitalization American. Helpfully, a lot of German words encountered in everyday life are given in German.

German specialities
Frankfurter Würstchen – Frankfurter sausages
Grünkohl – Curly kale
Weißwurst – White sausage
Schweinshaxen – Knuckle of pork
Spätzle – Homemade noodles
Buletten – A type of Hamburger
Salz-Hering – Salted herring
Kieler Sprotten – Kiel sprats

Hmm. People might get a nasty shock if they’re expecting home-made noodles.

Via PapaScott, via Schockwellenreiter

8 thoughts on “A Manual for Germany / Ein Handbuch für Deutschland

  1. I was just wanting to say that I’ve been reading your posts for some days and pretty much enjoyed this lecture.

    As for translation offices, I have encountered the weirdest people – offering translations in fields where they have obviously no expertise [e.g. high tech]. Why should the government manage a lucky draw? [is there a term for ‘Griff ins Klo’] Maybe the shift between BE and AE is because they did not know it any better.

    Are you lucky with the translations to German specialties, by the way?

    Their site is http://www.translationes.net. Read and you understand why their translation is a bit bumpy. [IMHO] If I’m not mistaken, they participated at this contest in 2003: http://www.b-p-w.de/newsletter2003-07.shtml. Maybe that’s where the ‘connections’ come from. ‘Vitamin B’…

  2. Thanks for the reference to the website, and for the kind words. Google doesn’t help at all with translationes. Their website doesn’t work properly with IE6, so I started MozillaFirebird, then I had to load a plugin even to look at it. So, three Germans. But they may well have had it read through by native speakers of English.
    I thought parts of their translation were rather good, but I would need to look at it at length. Am I happy (you have to careful when criticizing) with the translations of specialities? Well, specialities are very difficult, aren’t they? I wouldn’t capitalize hamburger and frankfurter unless it was referring to people. I think ‘pork knuckle’ needs ‘roast’ or something added. I think Salzhering is soused or pickled. ‘White sausage’ is meaningless to me. ‘Noodles’ suggests something different from Spätzle to me, but if you read it in context – you’re reading a menu and you are given the German word – you would at least be aware it’s something made with flour.

    From your link I gather they’re a business start-up and therefore got some advertising from the city of Berlin. As you say, it’s par for the course. I will look at the manual again when I have more time!

  3. I do share your view on the food translation. Very much.

    I am on IE 6 and had no problems viewing their site? It might be a Flash plugin problem on yours, but that seems solved. I found the two links via Google, but I cannot recall my search criteria. I had their brand name included, though.

  4. Two problems with their site.
    1) under Übersetzer, clicking on Das Team brings up a window where the centre text is cut off.

    2) every single window that opens up is reduced. Clicking on the symbol top right to enlarge has to be done twice to get a full-sized window (which still doesn’t always have all the text).

    The second problem is one I don’t get elsewhere.

  5. Ah – I see you are supposed to scroll the text. Well, there is still one letter cut off at the right. Still, people’s tastes in websites do vary.

  6. Yes, it’s the design. The minimalistic window orientates at 800×600 screen res. The layout is set to remain in 800×600, so it won’t adjust when one maximizes the browser window. A dilemma in my eyes; for the screen size, they think “conservative”, i.e. still 800×600, whereas for the layout, they think “modern”, i.e. complicated mouse-overs etc.

    I, for my part, like the overall concept for a start, but for their target audience, they expect too much. Not everyone who needs translating and text services is a versed computer adept, and doesn’t even have to be. I’d say, they are a start-up and for that, they are on a good way.

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