German Translation: A grammatical and lexical challenge

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German is among the most popularly spoken languages across the globe. Therefore, the demand for German translation services in different industries is also on an upward trend. Join Thao & Co. in this article to gain more insights into the German language, the challenges involved in translating it, and the rates of this service.

What is special about German translation?

German ranks among the most extensively spoken languages globally. According to Ethnologue, the number of German speakers is about 185 million individuals. Furthermore, it occupies the position of the third most prevalent language in Europe, trailing only English and French. 

German belongs to the group of Germanic languages within the Indo-European language family. It is the official language of many countries, including Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and some regions in Belgium and Italy. 

Let’s start by exploring some of the major challenges that translators and interpreters have to face when dealing with this special language.

Extensive vocabulary range

German is considered a tough language due to its diverse and vast range of vocabulary and complex grammatical structures. Currently, the exact number of words existing in this language is still unclear. 

However, based on the long-standing German dictionary, The Duden, the German language has approximately 75,000 core vocabulary words. Additionally, depending on different language origins and counting methods, the total number of German vocabulary words can range from 350,000 to 500,000

According to Jens Olesen, the founder and director of the Olesen Academy – a leading German language institute in London, to achieve a high proficiency level in German, learners need to have a solid grasp of 15,000 to 20,000 words

Similarly, the English language also has a considerable vocabulary. According to The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), there are approximately 500,000 English vocabulary words and phrases spanning from the past to the present tenses. However, to be fluent in English, learners only need to possess a solid command of around 10,000 words

German Translation Service - Thao & Company

Back to German, another challenge of this language is that it consists of a significant number of specialized terms, which stem from the nation’s robust developments in science, technology, medicine, physics, chemistry, and other technical fields. Hence, to have a firm grasp of the language, German learners and translators need to invest considerable effort in learning and researching vocabulary.

Complicated grammar

Though also using Latin alphabet, German’s grammar is known to be more complex compared to other languages in the same group. Similarly to English, German has rules of verb conjugation as well, whereas some languages as Vietnamese do not have this concept. 

When studying or translating German, it is a must to learn by heart all the verb conjunctions for every pronoun: ich, du, sie, er, es, ihr, and so on. Furthermore, the number of irregular verbs in German is much larger than those in English.

In German, nouns are classified into three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. This poses certain challenges for German translators, as those genders can be easily misemployed. In such cases, the translated sentence will sound funny and ambiguous. 

Besides, German is also a unique language in terms of using and forming nouns. A noun in German can be created by joining 50 to 60 single words. These kinds of compound nouns have complex meanings making them hard to interpret.

Distinctive pronunciation system

While applying letters in the Latin alphabet, German has some more special characters, such as Ä, Ö, Ü, ß, and more. This makes it more difficult to pronounce German words in comparison to certain other languages. 

Many people struggle with pronouncing the umlaut sounds (o, u) and final consonants in the German language. Thus, German interpreters not only need to have a deep understanding of the language but also continuously improve and refine their listening and speaking skills to ensure the quality of their work.

What to know before getting a German translation service?

When translating German documents, translators have to consider multiple factors to produce an accurate and natural translation:

  1. ● Context: This is a crucial element that translators should take into account when translating any content, not only German documents. Depending on the context, translators can choose a language accordingly, which can be formal or informal, professional or reader-friendly.
  2. ● Sentence structure: As German is a language consisting of complex grammar structures, translators need to be well-versed in its grammar points in order to prevent making unnecessary mistakes. Even a minor change in word order can result in a sentence with a completely different meaning.
  3. ● Avoid word-for-word or literal translation: Different purposes call for different writing styles and word choices used in the translation. Beyond mere word-by-word conversion, translation is the process of conveying the exact emotions and sentiments of the original text.
  4. ● Local culture acknowledgment: Germany is a country with diverse cultural backgrounds, and there are inherent differences in the use of expressions, vocabulary, and more among different regions within the nation. Additionally, the German language has also been heavily influenced by other languages such as Latin, French, English, and Slavic languages after several significant historical events. All these factors have made the German a more diverse and flexible language. Therefore, translators need to immerse themselves in German culture in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the content before translating it.

Where to find credible German certified and notarized translation services?

Certified Notarized Translations - Thao & Co.

Currently, the demand for translation, notarized translation, and certified translation services for German documents is constantly increasing. Among them, notarized translation is the process by which a document, transaction, or paperwork is notarized by a notary public to validate its authenticity and legality. 

In some countries, notary translation services are available at both state notary offices and private notary offices. To be more specific:

  1. ● State notary offices: Justice Department’s offices at the district-level People’s Committees.
  2. ● Private notary offices: Other notary offices which can be easily searched online.

It is also important to fully grasp the requirements for document submission at each type of notary office in order to make a suitable choice for your needs. State notary offices can notarize all types of documents and administrative papers. On the other hand, private notary offices can only notarize certain types of documents and papers.

An important note is that most notary offices do not provide translation services. They partner with translation collaborators and only offer translation services for simple documents and in commonly spoken languages such as English.

For certified translation, it comes with a signed certification statement provided by a translation agency to confirm the translation’s accuracy. In many cases, such as applying for a tourist visa or submitting documents to international organizations, you may only need to have your translation certified by a translation agency to have your documents approved. 

Particularly at Thao & Co., our Certificate of Translation Accuracy is provided completely free of charge to clients upon request. We also provide notary translation services at a reasonable additional fee if requested. Our full-service provision can save you much time and effort. 

Rates of German Translation Services

How much does a Translation Cost? - Thao & Co.

The pricing of German translation services is a common concern among clients. However, it is very difficult to provide an official and exact total fee since the cost may vary depending on various factors as follows.

  1. ● Length: Typically, the price of German translation services is calculated per page or per word. The greater the volume of German documents to be translated, the higher the cost.
  2. ● Complexity: Clients will have a variety of purposes and requirements for their German translations. Translation in specialized fields such as healthcare, technology, etc. may have a slightly higher price. This is because these fields require a high level of expertise from translators. Moreover, translating such documents also requires translators to invest considerable time and effort in researching terms and refining the translation.
  3. ● Rarity: The rarity of language pairs involved is another decisive factor on the final price of a German translation service. Common language pairs such as German-English will have relatively lower costs compared to other rarer language pairs with fewer available translators.
  4. ● Level of urgency: The level of urgency in terms of time is also one of the main factors that influence translation costs. The tighter the translation deadline, the higher the translation cost will be.

Professional German Translation Agency

These days, there are more and more German translation agencies emerging to cater to the growing demands of clients for German translation services. However, many individuals and organizations still struggle to determine where to seek German translation services and which agency provides reliable and high-quality translation services.

If you are in the same situation, Thao & Co. translation agency would be a viable option!

Get a Quote - Thao & Co.

The team of experts at Thao & Co. consists of highly skilled professionals with a great passion for languages and extensive years of experience in the field. They are all native linguists whom we have rigorously selected. 

We provide quality translation services in a wide range of fields and even for specialized domains. Our translation products are always guaranteed to be meticulously crafted to accurately convey the message, whether for creative translation or notarized translation.

Another outstanding advantage of our German translation services is the transparent and streamlined workflow. Each of our clients will be given a personal account to access our designated Dashboard. This account enables clients to easily monitor the project progress and facilitates quick and transparent file exchange. 

This also ensures the highest level of security for your project by an end-to-end working process. For consultation regarding our services, please fill out the information in the Get a Quote Form, Thao & Co. will promptly contact you to provide detailed advice.

Key Takeaways

The information presented above is everything we want to share about our German translation services. As previously mentioned, German is regarded as a challenging language, and translators will have to encounter many difficulties when handling it. Adept German translators must therefore possess a firm knowledge of not only German vocabulary and grammar but its rich culture. 

Mistakes made in the translation for notarization, certification, or any other purposes can lead to unfortunate consequences. At Thao & Co., we provide top-notch German translation services that will help you conquer all these challenges. With our professional expertise, your document translation project will be stress-free!

Source: Thao & Company
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