How would someone most likely abbreviate Michael as a German speaker? I am trying to translate something and am curious what Germans use as the short version of Michael. I'm guessing it is the same as in English and the answer is Mike but I could also see it going the other way.
I'm from the decade where Michael was one of the most frequent names for boys, so I met my fair share of them. Personally, I found that this is one of the names that often remain unaltered, but with an abundance of "Michaels" in a class or group, abbreviations/nicknames were a simple way of distinguishing between them.
As it stands, abbreviations and nicknames follow no "standard", and many are regional or dialect versions of the name, but my first thoughts were:
That's what most of my peers are called.
Which avoids the diminuitive-like '-i' at the end.
Which is a variant mostly from the southern parts of Germany. Not necessarily an abbreviation, simply the dialect version. Often people are officially named in standard German but addressed in the dialect variant. Note that there is also the symbolic figure Deutscher Michel, representing "the German".
Some may choose the English versions
But when meeting someone with this name I would (instinctively) assume this to be the given name, not an abbreviation.
Micha is the most common one in my experience.