In English, "to judge someone" often implies a negative opinion, as in "Don't judge me!".

Is there a German equivalent for this? How would you translate the example? My dictionary gives "jmdn. richten". Is this any good in this context?

7 Answers 7


I'd say "richten" is more a judicial term (btw not to confuse with "hinrichten" which means "to execute so."). This is what a judge does. I assume you mean "to judge so." in the sense of having prejudices against someone as in

You should not judge people by their appearance.

(from Merriam-Webster)

This would simply be "beurteilen nach":

Man sollte andere nicht nach ihrem Äußeren beurteilen.

I don't think there is a direct translation for "don't judge me" without adding an object as in the example above:

Beurteile mich nicht nach meinem Auto.

would be

Don't judge me by my car.

In some contexts you could probably use "verurteile mich nicht" but "verurteilen" means more like "to heavily criticize" and is usually for quite serious acts and causes others to keep their distance (apart from also being a synonym for "richten"). I think for most cases "beurteilen" should be fine.

  • 3
    "Verurteilen" comes close to the negative sense of don't judge me - you can put it in a (rhethorical) question: "Wieso verurteilst Du mich jetzt deswegen?"
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 14:14
  • I don't know. I think "verurteilen" is way too harsh and makes "judging so." look rather neutral in comparison.
    – musiKk
    Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 16:42
  • 2
    I do agree. "Verurteilen" definitely is negative whereas "beurteilen" in the meaning of judging is not. By putting it in a question we can weaken this harshness. After all it depends much on context anyway ;)
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 17:32
  • "Richtet nicht, auf dass Ihr nicht gerichtet werden" aus dem Kopf aus die Bibel zitierend. Aber abgesehen von der Anspielung auf diese Bibelstelle wird man be- und verurteilen bevorzugen. Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 22:08
  • 1
    Die Verengung auf Vorurteile ist, soweit ich weiß, weder im engl., noch im Deutschen nötig. Man kann urteilen ohne dass man von Vorurteilen reden muss. Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:22

I would suggest a translation that hasn't been mentioned yet: "über jemanden urteilen". This is also, in my opinion, the most natural translation for "don't judge me", which then becomes "urteile nicht über mich". A Google search shows that this phrase appears to be quite widely used.

In addition, "über jemanden urteilen" carries at least some of the Christian undertones that "to judge someone" has. Enough at least that this Christian blog uses it in the title of one of its articles.1

In the body of the text, though, the article then goes on to use the verb "richten", which is certainly the usual translation of "judge" in the context of "judge not, that ye not be judged".

1 The article has been removed.


The English use of "Don't judge me!" covers many different contexts.

"Richten" does rarely have the same flavour. It would be used to translate related bible phrases on the theme of "don't judge others".

In the context of a relationship a closely-related phrase that is actually used often would be:

"Hör auf mir Vorwürfe zu machen."

(Literally: Stop making accusations against me.)

In the context "Walk a mile in my shoes before judging me.", people would rather say:

"Wenn du jemals in meiner Situation gewesen wärst, würdest du anders reden."

(If you would ever have been in my situation, you would talk differently.)


jemanden bewerten

is used like "to judge someone" in English

jemanden beurteilen

rather refers to grades and performance

jemanden verurteilen

to condemn or convict someone

jemanden richten

means to judge someone (in court) and has the connotation of "to enforce judgement"

  • 1
    'jemanden bewerten' klingt ungewohnt. Man bewertet eher Gegenstände, etc. Wie wärs mit messen: "Man muss ihn an seiner Leistung messen."
    – Em1
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:04
  • @Em1: Findest du? Meine spontane Antwort wäre jetzt auch "bewerten" gewesen, noch vor "be-/verurteilen".
    – 0x6d64
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:59
  • 1
    @0x6d64 Eigentlich finde ich schlichtweg "urteilen" am besten (wie schon andere Antworten erwähnen). Ich würde das Prefix be- in dem Kontext nicht verwenden (du kannst aber meine Leistung beurteilen oder wie in einer Antwort genannt: wegen/aufgrund von z.b Aussehen beurteilen) und verurteilen solltest du mich nur, wenn ich was Dummes angestellt habe. Aber bewerten, wie gesagt, klingt merkwürdig. Kann man mit Sicherheit auch sagen, ähnlich dann wie "beurteilen", aber woran du jemanden bewertest sollte gegeben sein.
    – Em1
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 13:31
  • urteilen hat den Vorteil gegenüber verurteilen, dass es auch einen möglichen Freispruch einschließt - und damit näher an to judge ist.
    – tofro
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:45

to judge someone - über jemanden urteilen

Don't judge me! - Urteile nicht über mich!


I think the English meaning is more about being critical of people because of something (and uttering that criticism). Thus a German translation could be attempted as: ''Kritisier mich nicht!''.


In youth speak you can even say "jemanden judgen" (same pronounciation as in english). I've heard it quite a lot and I'd say if you talk to someone under the age of 25 from an urban background he or she will understand you.

Best regards

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