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"?

  • What are sky notes?
    – Carsten S
    Feb 6, 2016 at 12:34
  • No idea what "sky notes" are supposed to be, but there's a good chance you would put it as a single (compound) word in german, e.g. "Himmelsnotizen" or "Himmelsaufzeichnungen".
    – Lykanion
    Jul 6, 2021 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


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.

  • So in my example, would "Himmel Notizen" sound proper if I was talking about notes regarding the sky.
    – JGallardo
    Feb 18, 2014 at 1:36
  • 3
    @JGallardo That also depends on the context. If it was astronomy releated (I tried searching online), "Himmelsnotizen" would be okay.
    – LiveWireBT
    Feb 18, 2014 at 7:50
  • Notizen klingt für mich informeller (z.B. handschriftlich) als Aufzeichnungen (offiziell).
    – Robert
    Feb 18, 2014 at 17:02
  • 1
    @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, 2014 at 20:09

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