Archive for Januar 2013

Time for a new blog entry and another interesting topic. We often see sentences like “Hey whaz up, how r u”,  but of course everybody knows the correct spelling.

But there are things that not everyone is sure about – although it concerns their native language. And I find this quite interesting/funny. Don’t you have to be “perfect” at your mother language? I can only come up with one example for English. I was chatting with a good friend from the USA and she wrote “seperate” instead of “separate”, and I told her “it’s ‘separate’, with ‘A’”, I was surprised that she didn’t know. To me, it was absolutely clear because in German you say “Separaaat”, you stress the “As”. “As”, that’s a good cue. Germans tend to use an apostrophe + “S” to create the plural for abbreviated/foreign words. For example “CD’s” (this is used A LOT), “DVD’s”. “PC’s”, “Pizza’s”, “Info’s”, … Horrible!

The most common German mistake is – I think – “seit” and “seid”, the former means “since/for”, the latter “are”. So, for example “My friends, you are amazing” becomes “My friends, you since amazing”.

Children tend to use “as” for “than”. Example: “I’m faster than you” -> “I’m faster as you”. But I also hear adults saying “as”. I think there’s no German that has never made this mistake.

Germans often use “einzigste/r/s” for “the only …”, e. g. “He’s the only one in the company who can speak Russian”, in Germany you often hear “the most only”.

Or, another funny mistake is…it’s a bit weird to explain/understand it in English… Instead of “Susan’s brother”, Germans say “The Susan her brother”. We never write it like this, but we always say so, always.

As far as other languages are concerned, I know that French people often use different endings because they all sound equal, for example “je peu/je peut” instead of “je peux” or “vous avez gagnez” for “vous avez gagné”.

I don’t know any other examples for foreign languages, be it English, French, Spanish, Russian, Korean… whatever. So, tell me, what mistakes do people make in your country? I’m curious!!

Here comes a new blog entry by the current WORLD TEXT intern! As translators and interpreters work with many languages every day, I’ve been wondering – what’s the most difficult one?

My research shows – you just can`t tell. It depends on who you are, what your mother language is, what languages you already know, how you study a language, and so on.

There are many “top language lists” on the internet, and people are leading heated discussions.

The language I often, almost always, find on these lists, is Chinese. Of course – their writing system and the immense number of Kanji impresses most people. But what about the rest? Grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary…? Of course, for us Europeans, Asian languages are interesting and exotic. But when you’re Japanese for example, it’s not that hard to learn Chinese, as far as the writing system is concerned, because it’s the same. However, the Kanji differ in meaning and the Japanese writing system also includes Kana.

The languages also often mentioned are the Slavic ones. They’re difficult indeed. But it’s not all about a different alphabet. I suppose grammar and pronunciation aren’t so easy either.

Chinese and Russian come to your mind quickly, but what about Finnish or Icelandic? They’re said to be pretty hard to learn as well. African, Arabic, Korean, Hindi, …

…or Polish. I found something interesting on the internet:

Number “two” (2):

English, Spanish, Dutch: 1 form (two, dos, twee)

Portuguese: 2 forms (dois/duas) – depending on gender (2 – masculine & feminine)

Croatian: 7 forms (dva, dvije, dvoje, dvojica, dvojice, dvojici, dvojicu) – depending on gender (3-masculine, feminine, and neuter) and case in one specific form.

Polish: 17 forms. Depends on gender (3), case for all forms. Pretty much all these forms occur in regular speech (6-11 less often than the others) – 1. dwa 2. dwie 3. dwoje 4. dwóch (or dwu) 5. dwaj 6. dwiema 7. dwom (or dwóm) 8. dwoma 9. dwojga 10. dwojgu 11. dwojgiem 12. dwójka 13. dwójki 14. dwójkę 15. dwójką 16. dwójce 17. dwójko

The language that’s often forgotten is English. Just because a lot of people speak it, doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Many people could perfect their English.

What also irritates me is that many people say, certain languages are very easy to learn. “No problem, go to site XY and you can learn it online in a few months!” No! You can learn the basics, but not the entire language. It needs many YEARS to be good at a language. By the way, those “easy” languages mentioned are Spanish, Italian (and sometimes even French). I think that’s not true at all. If you’re one of those “quick online learners”, listen to…an agitated Spanish soccer player and tell me what he says. Or listen to one of François Hollande’s speeches; do you understand all the idioms, the political terms? Or isn’t it as easy as you thought after all?

One more thing I’d like to say. Some people boast of “knowing” so many languages. “I can speak Spanish, French, Italian, Greek… also Chinese… and I know what “How are you” means in Russian and Swedish.” I think they only have a basic knowledge of most of the languages they “know”, so if this is the case, I’m not impressed, rather annoyed. I know many people, we all know many people, who live and work in our country, but who are from abroad/have a different native language. They “only” know “our” language and their mother tongue, but they can speak both perfectly, they communicate at work, talk with clients, have to deal with complaints and misunderstandings, they go to the doctor, to the bank, they offer us their help… this is much more impressive, don’t you think?

Hello, it’s me, Madeleine, the new intern at WORLD TEXT.

I’m going through some files and found some interesting texts. I found gap fill tests on English business expressions. I already learned some of them during my apprenticeship as foreign langauge correspondent, but most of the idioms are new to me. So I’ve decided to list them (English -> German). 

to be hard-nosed -> kompromisslos/pragmatisch/abgebrüht sein
Example: „He’s the perfect person to take on this job. He’s a really hard-nosed person and won’t stand for any nonsense.“
fat cats -> überbezahlter Topmanager/Bonze/Geldsack
Example: „We have to work hard for our money while the fat cats in the city make money doing very little.“
high flyer/high-flyer -> Aktie mit extremem Wertanstieg/Senkrechtstarter/Höhenflieger
Example: „She’s obviously going to get a job soon. She’s a real high-flyer.“
to do a roaring trade -> ein Bomben-/Riesengeschäft machen
Example: „The product has been a great success. We’re doing a roaring trade in it.“
to cook the books -> die Bilanzen/(Bücher) verschleiern/fälschen
Example: „Their accounts were completely phoney. They had been cooking the books for years.“
earth-shattering -> weltbewegend/welterschütternd
Example: „Well I’m not surprised they’re in a mess. It’s not exactly earth-shattering news.“
big fish in a little pond -> „großer Fisch in kleinem Teich“; siehe auch „Fischteicheffekt“
Example: „He thinks he is really important, but he is just a big fish in a little pond.“
to run a tight ship -> den Laden fest im Griff haben
Example: „She’s an excellent manager. She runs a really tight ship.“
to make a killing -> ein Riesengeschäft machen/abkassieren/einen Mordsgewinn machen
Example: „I bought them cheap and sold them for a lot. I really made a killing.“
golden handshake -> goldener Handschlag/hohe Abfindung
Example: „Tom was forced to leave his job, but he got a very generous golden handshake.“
to have one’s hand in the till -> sich an der Kasse/am Geld des Arbeitgebers vergreifen
Example: „The accountant had stolen a lot of money. He had had his hand in the till for years.“
to be a big shot -> ein hohes Tier sein
Example: „John doesn’t look very impressive, but he’s one of the big shots in this industry.“
to hang up one’s hat -> seine Arbeit niederlegen
Example: „I’ve had enough. I’m going to hang up my hat and retire.“
money-spinner -> Renner/Kassenschlager
Example: „You can make a lot of money selling this product. It’s a real money-spinner.“
to stay ahead of the pack -> der Konkurrenz immer eine Nasenlänge voraus sein
Example: „If you want to succeed in the business, you need to always stay ahead of the pack.
to drive a hard bargain -> hart verhandeln
Example: „It’s hard doing business with Maggie. She drives a hard bargain.“
to corner the market -> den Markt beherrschen
Example: „He’s the only person who imports this product. He has really cornered the market.“
to cut a deal -> einen Kompromiss eingehen/eine Vereinbarung treffen
Example: „We’re both competing for the same business. Perhaps we can cut a deal to share out the work.“
to be on the make -> auf Geld aus sein/profitgierig/karrieresüchtig sein
Example: „I wouldn’t trust Harry an inch. He’s definitely someone who is on the make.“
to make it -> es schaffen
Example: „Now that I’ve got a million pounds/dollars in savings, I really feel I’ve made it.“



My name is Madeleine and I come from Bavaria, Germany.

I’m doing an internship here at WORLD TEXT from Jan 07 until March 30. I can speak German, English, Spanish and French. I’m a foreign language correspondent and as I haven’t gained any job experience so far, I hope to improve my language skills and learn new things here at WORLD TEXT. I’m writing in English because I hope to get more people interested in this translation firm 🙂 Especially when you’re from abroad, an internship at WORLD TEXT is a great opportunity to perfect your German and learn more about our country, Schwerin and its magnificent castle.

My grandmother’s relatives live here and they told me about the firm, that’s how I heard about WORLD TEXT. Regarding accommodation, there are many facilities where you can stay (at a reasonable price) – now I have to do proofreading (Spanish -> German), so see you later!!!