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German Translation Online Resources

I come across a lot of German translation online resources in my work and German websites which cover many German translation-related topics. Here I’ve listed the ones I think are good, where I know who’s behind them or think they may be of help:

Learning German

  • Learn German Smarter. Still fighting with German? Peter Heinrich has a great way of making learning German grammar much easier by using mnemonics (visual or audio learning aids). What we know in German as Eselsbrücken. Thoroughly recommended. He also invites students 'into his home' with monthly language learning videos exploring aspects of life and customs in Germany with a German 'Gastfamilie'. It's a novel approach, and Peter says it's generating a lot of positive feedback.
  • If you want to hear how a word is pronounced in German, or you want to compare with the pronunciation you get with Leo, you can always try Forvo.
  • German Verbs Improve your German grammar knowledge and learn everything there is to know about German verbs.
  • Learn German Guide German courses run in German-speaking countries, and help with learning German online.
  • Learn German Easily with Lucas Kern, a guide on how to learn German, plus useful resources to download.

Professional online resources

German as it lives and breathes...

  • Redensarten Redensarten = expressions, and here is a great collection of German expressions and sayings. Discover the meanings and boost your colloquial German!
  • Zitate.de. Zitaten = quotes, and here is a large collection. Search by name or subject area and impress your friends!
  • phrasen.com. A dictionary of phrases, sayings, expressions and idioms in German and in English.

Fun German - take a walk on the light side

  • The Austrian Dictionary (in German). OK, German is Austria’s official language, but try asking for “Schlagsahne” or “Quark” in Austria and people will think you’re “Deppert” (Look it up!) Invaluable for anyone planning a trip to Austria and wanting to impress the locals!
  • Schüttelreime. Schüttelreime are created by swapping the initial letter(s)of words to create new word combinations. They’re a bit more than Spoonerisms (e.g. “teapot” = “peatot”), which are usually nonsensical, as the skill in schütteln(shaking up) is in creating real word combinations – Schicker Duft/Dicker Schuft) – and then putting them into verse. The website is in German, hope you’ll enjoy!

Not-such-fun German...

German was subjected to a Rechtschreibreform(orthography reform) in 1996, updated 2004, with the aim of simplifying spelling ( more –ss- and less-ß-, etc.). Not surprisingly, a fair amount of confusion has resulted. Here is the official version in PDF format (German), issued by the Institut für Deutsche Sprache in PDF form for you to download. (For general background info in English see this Wiki entry.) Enjoy!

English writing skills - key to a good German translation!

  • The BBC Style Guide by John Allen is a must for anyone using English professionally – e.g. German translators. Well set out and well written (well, obviously!), and you can download the guide in PDF format.
  • The Economist magazine style guide - I'm delighted to see this wonderful resource available again. Its primary recommendation is think what you want to say, and then say it as clearly as possible. Excellent advice.

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German Translation Tips & Resources

You’ll also find German Translation Tips & Resources listed in a variety of German translation online directories which I’ve listed here.

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