A Brief Introduction to German Culture

Map-of-Germany-Cartoon2Germany, or Deutschland as Germans call it, is located in Central Europe, where it has a rich and distinctive history and culture. Because it shares its borders with nine countries–Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and Poland–other cultures have greatly influenced German language, culture and lifestyle into what Germany is today. Neighboring countries, particularly Austria, with which it shares the longest border, is the most similar to Germany.

A Country with a Rich History

For a tourist, there are plenty of historical sites in Germany. The Trier baths, Roman Amphitheater. Black Gate (Porta Nigra) and pillars of the Roman Bridge over the Mosel; the Weiden Roman Burial Chamber on the outskirts of Cologne, the Drusus Stone on the grounds of the Mainz citadel, and other remains date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries. However, Roman ruins are common throughout Germany.

Other historical monuments are fairly new as compared to these. The Brandenburg Gate, the remains of the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany at one time, the Berliner Dom as well as castles and palaces built by dukes or Prussian emperors are major attractions for tourists.

The German Lifestyle

Germans, who are very hard working, place much value on precision and order in almost every aspect of their lives. They do not compromise on the quality of work. You will not find them frivolous. In fact, they are generally raised with a sense of responsibility ingrained in them. They are highly committed, self -disciplined, and generally reserved. This doesn’t mean they are unfriendly, but they may take a while to be communicative, especially when mingling with other cultures.

Eating Habits

The eating habits of Germans are not very different from those of other Europeans. They consume pork more than twice as much as beef or goat meat. Schweinshaxe and Saumagen, as well as pork sausages, are staples of German diet. Germans also eat bratwurst. beets, cabbage, cauliflower and other veggies as parts of their meals. Potatoes in all forms are a staple, as is brown bread. Usually German food is bland with little or no spices added.

As a large Turkish population lives in Germany, Turkish cheese and sausages, Turkish bread and doner kabab are also easily available. Beer, brandy and schnapps are the most popular alcoholic drinks in Germany.

Religion and Language

A large majority of the German population is Christian, divided almost evenly between Catholics and Protestants. Due to a large population of Turks and migrants from other Muslim countries, 5 percent of the population is Muslim. Jews are few because of the massive deportation and extermination during the Second World War.

Around 95 percent of the population speaks German, but some people close to the Rhine estuary also speak Serbian. Turks speak German, as well as Turkish and Hebrew. People living close to the Danish border speak Danish, whereas an indigenous language, Romani, is also spoken by a very few.

Apart from the Christian holidays, Oktoberfest is one of the most colorful events that Germans celebrate. It lasts a fortnight. The festival is a source of joy for adults and children alike. The actual event is centered in Munich, but similar fairs occur all over the country. It is the world’s largest party.

Doing Business with the Germans

Germans are very organized, efficient and orderly in their business. They do not like long discussions because they hate wasting time. The top executives of a company or organization conduct meetings with their counterparts, and hierarchy is given importance. Meetings are very formal, with an amazing amount of preparation and effort preceding each one. Germans tend to avoid on-the-spot and casual decisions.

German professionals make the most of their time and tend to get straight to business. Because Germans are very straightforward, their communication may seem undiplomatic and brusque to a foreigner. Their business communication is a proof of this characteristic.

Bavarian Cuisine

Marienplatz square, Frauenkirche, the significant locations closely tied to the beginnings and rise of National Socialism…there definitely is much history and many sights to see in Munich. And yet, a  not less interesting part of Munich is the food out, and in general – Bavarian cuisine. What first comes to mind when you hear Bavarian cuisine? Probably pretzsel, wurst, roast pork and sauerkraut. However, our friends from a Munich German Translation Service claim that this is a very tiny part that is associated with the cuisine of southern Germany. So there is a lot more to talk about.

Bavarians have kept many of their traditions and that includes their food. If we open the menu of any Bavarian restaurant we will undoubtedly see that it includes mostly traditional dishes and desserts.

Appetizers and salads include mainly root vegetables, potatoes, cheese and various wursts (sausages). Usually, as an appetizer or a snack you will be served a platter in a pan containing potato salad, baked sausages, sauerkraut and mustard, often accompanied by bacon and pretzels (pretzels in a knot-like shape).
Traditional breakfast or snack consists of Weißwurst (white sausage with spices, with minimum 51% content of veal), sweet mustard and a pretzel.

Soups in the Bavarian cuisine are most often made from clear beef broth with the addition of pasta or meat noodles. One of the most popular soups is Leberködelsuppe – clear beef broth with noodles made of beef liver.

Our friends, the technical translation workers told us, that in the past, meat was served only on holidays. However, the majority of Bavarian cuisine today includes meat – mainly pork and beef, although poultry is not neglected, either. Fish has been considered a vegetarian food for long, but today it also finds its place in the Bavarian table. Side dishes usually include roots and / or bakery products:  sour cabbage, potatoes, different types of turnips, pasta and potato noodles.

The Munich legal translation service professionals proudly say, that despite the large quantities of meat consumed, the Bavarians have a flair for desserts, too. The most famous of them are the apple strudel, Bavarian cream, fried apple rings, various cakes with yeast and dried fruit compote with fresh seasonal fruit – usually apples, pears and plums. Christmas cakes include the famous stollen, cookies and biscuits.

Group Dynamics – 2. Phases of Group Development

On their way to becoming a cohesive team and reaching their objectives groups generally go through a number of stages such as orientation, conflict, brainstorming, emergence and reinforcement.

The first stage in becoming a cohesive team is the orientation (formation) stage. During this stage team members socialize, get to know each other, establish their roles and responsibilities and develop a sense of common purpose. Unfortunately, as the workers from a Portuguese translation service comment, teams cannot start working smoothly from the very beginning, so after this fairly short stage, they begin to discuss their positions, their roles and the function of leadership. This is known as the conflict (storming) stage. As team members share their ideas, disagreement and tension natural arise among members. In fact during this stage conflict has not been identified yet, it is rather a stage so it can be characterized as a phase of chaos and disorganization. The Chinese translators mentioned above underline that it is important to encourage open communication during this stage so that team members can speak up and fully discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various options to resolve conflict issues during the next, the brainstorming (norming) stage. It is at the end of this stage when team members establish their roles, take responsibility and formulate standards. Yan Linski, a German to English transation professional, adds that although group brainstorming is a highly popular activity, in some cases it may be more productive to have people brainstorm individually and then to discuss them at a group meeting.

Some teams never reach the emergence (performing) phase because they have not resolved their internal problems. However, if they do, they find a solution supported by all members (even if not all of them fully agree that it is the best one).

During the reinforcement stage, members receive their assignments and they take steps to perform them.

By Margarita Mihaylova

Translating Corporate Formation and Financial Documents

We may say that to prepare individual pro-forma budgets is neither formality nor an end in itself. The aim is to create accurate, reliable, valuable and useful information which reflects the business activity of the entity for a future reporting period as well as to provide for a basis for systematic control. Budgets can be used for forecasting the costs for the next reporting period as well as for the execution of ex-ante, ongoing and ex-post control over expenditure.

In the opinion of Tom Stevens, a Spanish translator from Los Angeles, one of the priorities of the accounting staff in the business entity is to develop operational and financial reports. After they have collected information from the accounts of the previous reporting period and information from the annual financial statements for the subject span of time, as well as from original data sources, verified and issued in a chronological sequence, they proceed to the calculation of the estimated data. The advice of Tom’s former colleagues in a German translation company is first to prepare a Sales Budget, followed by a Stocks of Finished Goods Budget.  These budgets are fundamental, as they project the future development of the entity. Only after they have developed them they should proceed to the development of a Production Budget, a Cost of Materials Budget, etc.

To develop the Sales Budget, accounting staff usually uses the information from the Revenue from Sales of Production account for the previous reporting period. Using the information on the production sold by type in the past reporting period and accounting for the price change estimates for the next period, they present in a structured way by months information for: the potential sales volume in kind, the forecast sales price and the estimated revenue from sales.

The above mentioned certified translation workers further explain, that the compilation of the Stocks of Finished Goods Budget is a task of the Marketing Department only. Thus after preparing the Sales Budget, the accounting staff prepares the Production Budget.  In doing so they usually prepare:

pro-forma budget of sales volume in kind;

stock of unsold finished goods at the end of the period in kind and;

potential production volume  in kind.

Learning About the Job Market For Translation Workers

Once you have performed some background research and produced a comprehensive account of your competencies, aptitudes, concerns, and needs and wants, start learning about your career choices. In order to know how to respond to job trends, Detroit Chinese translation workers suggest that you start your hunt early. Make an effort by paying attention to these recommendations:

1. Starting in your sophomore year, start browsing the local and online job boards: many local newspapers still publish Help Wanted sections in their Sunday editions. Listed here will be job descriptions, wages, and requirements for many work opportunities.

2. Talk to a librarian and ask her to recommend occupational outlooks, industry or trade publications, websites, and magazines or journals in your discipline.

3. Go to your university’s career and placement office; job postings are listed there, interviews are planned, and advisers can offer useful tips regarding job hunting.

4. Contact individuals in your line of business to get an inside view and some useful guidance.

5. Register in your career and placement office for job interviews with business representatives who have announced campus visits.

6. Request the recommendations of professors who do professional consulting or who have worked in business, industry, or government.

7. Be on the lookout for an internship in your discipline; this experience may count more than your education.

8. Develop connections; avoid being scared to ask for guidance. Write down names, titles, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and addresses of individuals ready to assist you.

9. A lot of professional organizations offer student memberships at reduced fees. These types of organizations can produce outstanding contacts and look good on your resume. If you do join a professional organization, try to attend meetings of the local chapter.

By following these recommendations before you graduate and begin your job search, you might discover particular classes cause you to be more valuable to prospective employers. In numerous jobs, for instance such as in the professional certified translation field, a solid understanding of layout and design applications is attractive, particular human resources positions call for counseling experience, and so on. Master as many skills as possible and customize your last semester to these mastering these demands (enrolling in a few layout and design application classes, taking a few counseling classes and performing volunteer work for a non-government agency (NGO).

If you happen to be transitioning from one job to another or one career to another, prospective hiring managers will be more intrigued in what you’ve done in your years since graduation. Be ready to present the way your experience is applicable to the new German translator job. Take advantage of the contacts you have built over time.

Evaluating Your Skills and Aptitudes As A Translator

As an aspiring language translator who is beginning their job search, you should begin by evaluating your talents and aptitudes. The following questions were developed by a certified translation company in Houston, Texas. By answering these questions, you will more fully understand the value you offer to prospective employers.

  1. What are the skills have I learned through my education?
  2. What expertise have I gained as a result of holding my part-time and full-time jobs?
  3. What knowledge have I attained from my pastimes and other passions?

At this stage in your self-assessment, most hiring authorities in German translation agencies recommend that you not leave out any talent you possess, irrespective of how insignificant it might seem as it corresponds to the position you are seeking. As soon as you have documented all your abilities, focus on your genuine skills and abilities):

  1. What do I get pleasure in doing?
  2. What classes did I like most in college? Why?
  3. Which courses came easiest to me? Why?
  4. Do I possess leadership skills? What evidence can I present?
  5. Do I perform effectively in teams and when working with other people?
  6. Do I have strong skills in analyzing problems that include breaking down situations into smaller components and evaluating interrelationships?
  7. Am I particularly strong at identifying connections and interrelationships among ideas)?
  8. Am I ambitious and self-motivated to achieve results?
  9. How well do I speak other languages other than English?
  10. Do I play an instrument?
  11. Am I artistic and creative with skills in drawing and painting?
  12. Can I read in other languages with strong understanding?
  13. Do I write and speak fluently in other languages?
  14. Am I a good listener?
  15. Am I a creative problem solver and do people turn to me regularly for ideas?
  16. Do I work effectively with other people?
  17. Am I able to decipher data correctly?
  18. How strong am I in locating and using primary data sources for research?
  19. Do I interact well with other people and appear receptive to their ideas?
  20. What extracurricular functions have I been particularly strong in doing?
  21. What additional skills do I offer that will benefit a prospective employer?

Besides helping you concentrate on finding the right career, these questions will be helpful when you compose your resume and get ready for interviews.  For more information, please visit the translation resources page at Indiana University.

Many Reasons To Avoid Using Pseudo-Technical Language

While the use of technical and specialized terminology in documents and presentations that are geared at audiences who are unfamiliar with the terminology causes problems, it is even worse to use pseudo-technical terms when other terms are just as efficient and widely understood.

According to James Hildebrand, a translators with a Houston translation services company, pseudo-technical language is created by a writer or speaker who needlessly substitutes unfamiliar multisyllable words for good, every day, familiar words.  Corporate language in general is riven with this sort of nonsense, usually termed ‘management-speak’.  One example is the use of the term “above-board” which is used in statements such as, “I don’t think you are being completely above board with me.”  Another term that Human Resources professionals use is “Onboarding”, which they sometimes use to refer to the training that new employees receive.  You might also be familiar with the use of nouns as action verbs such as the term “offices” as used in the following sentence, “Tom offices from home.” What the person is really saying is that Tom works from his house.  This kind of language is difficult for native speakers of English to understand. You can imagine how difficult it is for the people who translate these documents and for nonnative speakers who hear it.

We can all think of someone in our office that is always trying to use this sort of language.  Often it seems like the only reason they use these terms is because they think it makes them look like an intellectual and demeans people.  In addition, people who try to use big and unfamiliar words seldom stop at single words. As a few Seattle German translation workers have learned, many of the people who use pseudo-technical terms will often go on to combine several words to make hard-to-understand and sometimes even meaningless phrases and sentences. Instead of communicating meaning, all they end up doing is producing noise that disrupts communication.

This is why Claudio Garcia of Miami certified translation company suggests that when people have the choice of using these types of terms or a synonym that is more familiar to broad audiences; they should stick with the synonyms that are most commonly used.  Simply put, pseudo-technical language creates communication barriers with people who aren’t up on the latest lingo. It also makes the translation of these terms into other languages difficult.

Internet Resources for Translators and Interpreters

The Internet provides a constantly evolving communication landscape that services as a valuable resource for translation workers. There are certain sites that you prefer to others because they are easier to navigate, read and provide better information in a way you want it. In this blog post, our translators have described some of the ways they make use of the Internet in their work. The Internet will assist you in doing your job and providing details to guide research or you provide details regarding your past projects and current responsibilities. The Internet can also function as a resource for questions that surface throughout the work day. If, for example, you are responsible for coordinating meetings and are tasked with hiring a German translator in San Francisco, you might go to themarketinganalysts.com and request a proposal. If you have a question about your company’s relocation benefits, your company’s Web site might provide a detailed statement . Imagine that your company intends to transfer some personnel to Shanghai, China, and you have been instructed to find cost-of-living information for the area.

Many translation services companies have web sites. If you are a language translator who works as a freelancer, you may have even developed a site to help generate business. If you list your Web address on your resume, companies you are applying to will likely look at the site. Use this to your advantage. The site lets you show your work to others-an electronic portfolio that potential employers can easily access to see your work.

Because your Web site is so public, you need to represent yourself in text and graphics as you would most like to be seen and in a form appropriate for the type of Seattle Spanish translation services that you specialize in providing. Discussing your strengths, your accomplishments, work history, and so on gives the reader an idea of who you are. Be sure to represent yourself as you want to be known.

Understanding Connotation And Denotation In Writing And Translation

If you have been following our blog, you already know from earlier posts that content terms and phrases have both a denotative and a connotative significance. As a German Translator in San Francisco previously wrote, “Denotative significance is the actual, or thesaurus, definition; the connotative significance consists of all the connected interactions and emotions that are conveyed by the term or phrase.”

For this article, one of a Denver translator explained, “Certain terms and phrases have an abundance of connotations.” In the event you declare that an individual didn’t pass the examination, you might be making a very strong assertion; you propose that the individual is substandard, unintelligent and unqualified. However, when you point out that the individual has attained a score of 71 percent, you imply something different. Merely by changing the term failed, you prevent a significant amount of unfavorable connotations.

In professional communication, you need to make use of terms and phrases that happen to be low in connotative significance. Words and phrases that contain very few potential interpretations are not as probable of being misinterpreted. Additionally, since you are usually attempting to discuss issues in an unbiased, logical style, you need to prevent emotion-laden remarks.

Selecting The Right Words

When you’re a professional communicator, there are certain things you must consider when selecting and revising your terminology: correctness and effectiveness. Correctness is normally less complicated to achieve than effectiveness, especially if you have been exposed to “good” English throughout your life. Almost instinctively, a skilled German Translator in Chicago will usually recognize what’s proper because the terms and sentences will seem “correct”. Nevertheless, there are moments when you might make a mistake in a strange scenario. Editors and grammarians themselves from time to time have concerns-and even disagreements-about appropriate usage.

The “principles” of grammar are changing frequently to mirror variations in the style that individuals talk. In case you have suspicions in regards to what is appropriate, avoid being lazy. Research the solution and employ the correct type of expression. And if you think that your ear for accurate utilization isn’t accurate enough, check out a grammar and application guide or any of the variety of resources that are available on the Internet and in reference books in libraries and bookstores. Almost all experts concur with the standard conventions.

Equally as crucial as making use of the proper terms is determining the right terms for the task. Being successful in selecting the correct terminology is usually a lot more challenging to accomplish than correctness, especially in written communication. Skilled copy writers must work at their trade, by making use of what they consider trade secrets to strengthen their way with words. In the following blog posts, professional French translators in Boston will continue talking about a number of these tactics.


Words can be broken into two classes: functional and content. Functional words convey associations and hold a single constant meaning in every context. Functional words consist of conjunctions, prepositions, articles, and pronouns. Your primary issue with functional words is to apply them appropriately.

Furthermore, you should give consideration to the aesthetic display of the message; individuals have difficulty understanding lengthy, continuous pages of text. By employing titles, bullet lists, bold type, and white space, you are able to offer aesthetic hints to the significance of numerous concepts and their associations. These types of clues can assist the audience understanding the message much more quickly, especially if it is greater than a page or two.