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When I looked up English to German translation for "notes" I saw "Aufzeichnungen." But previously had seen "Notizen", when would either one of those words be more appropriate than the other to mean notes?

I think the difference might be due to the context because "notes" in English mean various things. There are musical notes, and there are notes as in what you write down. I am looking for notes as in the ones that you write down.

I was looking for the translation of "sky notes" which I thought was "Himmel Notizen", but would it actually be "Himmel Aufzeichnungen"?

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Please pay attention to upper case when writing German nouns. I understand that few other languages care as much about capitalization as German does, but every time you write a lower-case German noun, you are poking a glowing hot iron rod in your (native) reader's eye. –  Earthliŋ Feb 18 '14 at 1:05
@Earthliŋ, would you mind pointing out the exact words in this case. I will make the edits. Thank you for bringing that up to my attention. –  JGallardo Feb 18 '14 at 1:10
Just go for it, I'll tell you if something went wrong. (I'm counting 4.) –  Earthliŋ Feb 18 '14 at 1:12
@Earthliŋ well... not neccessarily that is the case... I often mix up on capitalization, because I write very much English lately, and it's not bugging me anymore.. –  Vogel612 Feb 18 '14 at 12:32
Make that a "your native reader's eye, with the exception of Vogel612", then. =) –  Earthliŋ Feb 18 '14 at 12:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Both Aufzeichnungen and Notizen can mean "notes" in the sense of "taking notes". (Of course, musical notes are Noten, and don't belong here.)

Note also (pun intended) that Aufzeichnungen can mean more than "notes" (for example, "live recording").

I think the difference between Aufzeichnungen and Notizen is quite subtle when both mean "notes". Personally, I feel that Aufzeichnungen refer to notes that have been taken and exist as some sort of collection of notes. Wikipedia says, it should be at most

  • ein schriftliches Protokoll (written transcript/log)
  • (plur.) "Aufzeichnungen": Tagebucheintragungen (diary entries)
  • historische Annalen (historical annals)

but I'm not sure it's always used as strictly as that. Notizen, on the other hand, can be as short as they want to be and Notizen is the term usually used for "taking notes": sich Notizen machen.

sich Aufzeichnungen (über etwas) machen also exists and probably means something like "serious note-taking", that is to make a collection of notes (about a particular subject), which are later to be used/reviewed/made into a book/etc.

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So in my example, would "Himmel Notizen" sound proper if I was talking about notes regarding the sky. –  JGallardo Feb 18 '14 at 1:36
@JGallardo That also depends on the context. If it was astronomy releated (I tried searching online), "Himmelsnotizen" would be okay. –  LiveWireBT Feb 18 '14 at 7:50
Notizen klingt für mich informeller (z.B. handschriftlich) als Aufzeichnungen (offiziell). –  Robert Feb 18 '14 at 17:02
@Robert Ich denke, dass Aufzeichnungen auch inoffiziell und handschriftlich sein können. Z.B. "Bislang unveröffentlichte Aufzeichnungen von Erich Kästner erscheinen am 35. Mai im Südsee Verlag." –  Earthliŋ Feb 19 '14 at 20:09

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