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German Translation Examination – Why German is So Troublesome and One Key Secret to Decoding These Sentences

German Translation Examination – Why German is So Troublesome and One Key Secret to Decoding These Sentences

For many English audio system, German is tougher to translate than Spanish or French.  Why?  It has all these endings, and the sentences are longer. They’re additionally extra convoluted — actually.  That is what makes it a giant problem for Artwork Historical past graduate college students who must cross their German translation examination, usually in a giant hurry.  Nonetheless, they method German the proper approach, they’ll get entry to its secret code pretty rapidly.

On the coronary heart of cracking the German translation code is one thing referred to as “case.”  Case is principally a instrument that marks every noun or noun phrase in a sentence with respect to the position it performs in that sentence.

For instance, there is a case marker that alerts “topic.”  One other alerts “object.”  And so forth.

English not has case endings, so it should depend on phrase order to sign the features of the nouns in a sentence.

For instance, the next two English sentences imply very various things:

1) The canine chased the canary.

2) The canary chased the canine.

That is as a result of phrase order tells us who’s doing the chasing and who’s being chased. In languages with intensive case endings, issues are totally different.  In German, for instance, the sentences may learn as follows:

3) Der Hund jagte den Kanarienvogel.

4) Den Kanarienvogel jagte der Hund.

5) Den Hund jagte der Kanarienvogel.

6) Der Kanarienvogel jagte den Hund.

Discover the articles.  “Der” alerts that the noun phrase with that marker is the topic, whereas “den” alerts that it’s the object.  And in our examples 3) and 4), “der” is matched up with the canine (Hund), and “den” is matched up with the canary (Kanarienvogel).  This implies the canine is doing the chasing and the canary is doing the escaping.

In examples 5) and 6), nonetheless, the articles have been swapped.  This leads to a really totally different image: the canary is now chasing the canine,

As soon as once more, each variations imply the identical factor.  Be aware how now the thing case goes with the canine and so the canine is the one getting chased.  Why selected one over the opposite?  Whichever noun phrase the sentence begins with often is seen because the recognized entity, or factor the sentence is about.  The remainder of the sentence tells us what’s going on with the factor (or particular person, or animal) the sentence is about.  One thing like this:  sentence 5) is concerning the canine and what the canine is doing.  Sentence 6) is concerning the canary and what’s going on with the canary.  If you wish to do this sort of highlighting in English, it’s important to resort to passive:

7) The canary was chased by the canine.

Or worse:

8) It was the canary that the canine chased.

Thus far, so good.  You assume you possibly can deal with that.  However what makes this actually difficult is the truth that there are three totally different genders in German, and so there are three totally different units of case endings.  Not solely that, however the three genders are pretty randomly assigned to phrases.

So the one option to get a deal with on what’s what’s to memorize the phrases WITH their matching articles. Both that, or it’s important to search for loads of phrases.  That is since you should know the gender of the phrase so as to make sure of the case.  And you have to know the case to make certain who’s doing what within the sentence.

And the explanation why it is so tough to determine the final bit is as a result of Germans, having case to point who’s doing what, don’t depend on phrase order to do the identical, as we’ve got seen within the examples above.  This leaves phrase order to do a distinct job:  emphasizing, smoothening transitions, and indicating what is the matter of the sentence and what is the remark.

And that is one of many keys that make German tougher in a translation check, be it Artwork Historical past, Physics, or Philosophy. Nonetheless, when you be taught the articles as a part of every noun, and you have your case endings down, you are approach forward of the sport.

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German Translation Examination – Why German is So Troublesome and One Key Secret to Decoding These Sentences


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