According to http://www.dict.cc/?s=announcement, there are:

  • Ankündigung
  • Durchsage
  • Anzeige
  • Mitteilung
  • Bekanntgabe
  • Ansage etc.

in order of hits. How can one differentiate among these words. Is there one of them that can be used regardless of the situation?

  • 3
    Did you try back-translating them?
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 9:57
  • Did you @Jan? On dict.cc they all translate back to announcement in the first entry (except entry 3 with Mitteilung).
    – Takkat
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 12:04
  • @Takkat I did not and I also did not (yet) vote to close. We do require prior research to be shown for this vocabulary-type question and simply stating ‘except for Mitteilung their first translation is always announcement’ would have satisfied me that the requirement has been met. OP is free to edit accordingly, as you know ;)
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 18:41
  • I know but the research we ask for is rather cumbersome as it will not lead to anywhere in this case. We should instead point to the fact that it is context that makes the choice, and this context unfortunately is missing to the question. So we can't really answer it. It is unclear or too broad rather than off topic IMO.
    – Takkat
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:00

3 Answers 3


You should be able to find the meaning by back-translating the words or looking for how they are used in context. In some cases the words themselves contain a clue:

  • Durchsage, Ansage contain sagen (to say) and would be used for spoken announcements
  • Anzeige contains zeigen (to point at) and would be used for tangible forms of announcements

So from your list, the most neutral words would be ''Ankündigung'', ''Mitteilung'' and ''Bekanntgabe'' which could be used for both tangible and intangible (orally transmitted) announcement. However even these words have slightly different meanings. Typically you would use ''Ankündigung'' for announcements of a future event, and ''Bekanntgabe'' for announcement of a past event.

''Mitteilung'' is perhaps the closest to an all-purpose "announcement", and could be understood by Germans in various contexts. But still a native German would use rather any of the more specific words that are most suited to the situation. So no, there is no all-purpose "announcement" in German.

  • Disagree with your "Anzeige" explanation. There's nothing tangible in a Tankanzeige or Stellenanzeige. visual would hit it better.
    – tofro
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 13:09
  • @tofro: I changed it for "visual", thought a Tankanzeige could be tangible. Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:51

Just a few days ago I wrote this as an answer to an other question:

Learn: You nerver translate words. You always translate meanings.

What you need to do is to find out which meanings the proposed German words have (each of them might have many different meanings), and which meaning »announcement« has in the special context where you want to use this word. Among all proposed German words choose the one, who's meaning matches best with the meaning of the English word in this special context!

Never forget the huge impact of the context on the meaning of a word!

English Wiktionary says: announcement has three meanings:

  1. An act of announcing, or giving notice.

    He raised his hand to make his announcement and said "Excuse me everyone, I have an announcement to make."

  2. That which conveys what is announced.

    This announcement was made during the first training session.

  3. The content which is announced.

    The announcement implied that somebody needed a spare Toshiba charger.

Similar information about the German words can be found in German Wiktionary:

It's your job to read this and to find the best match.


None of this words can be used in every situation.

Ankündigung: Is an announcement of something that will happen, like announcing a speach, the arrival of someone, the arriving of someone to an event. "Ankündigung" is mostly used for more important and/or official things.

Durchsage: is an announcement of something to a group of people, like announcing at a train station, that a train is coming in, or at a plane, that they are about to land.

Anzeige: An Anzeige can be better translated as a report than as an announcement, because it means to report something / someone to, for example, the police or other public authorities, but it isn't bound to the public, you can also use Anzeige as report when reporting your coworker to your boss. But it also can be a technical device to show information to a user, like Tankanzeige (fuel gauge) or Druckanzeige (pressure indicator).

A view more meanings of Anzeige by user1583209: There are other meanings to "Anzeige" than the one you mention (="Strafanzeige", etc). The word "Anzeige" can also refer to "classified ads" in newspapers and other periodicals; It can also refer to displays (e.g. "Tankanzeige") or in medicine it has the same meaning as "Indikation" (indication).

Mitteilung: is a neutral translation for announcement, without much further indication, but can't be used interchangeably with Anzeige. Mitteilung also usually needs context if you want to use it properly.

Bekanntgabe: is again a more official announcement but a present for. while "Ankündigung" is an announcement of something that will happen, Bekanntgabe is about things that are happening, of course the context can change this again.

Ansage: is a more direkt and less formal announcement than Bekanntgabe.

While there is no short way to learn these things (at least I don't know any) you can cheat a little by taking these words apart, every Word here is made up out of other words, that give indications of what is meant. For Example: Durchsage contains durch und sage, through and saying, so it is about saying something that is supposed to get through to people. But be careful many of these words are old and the origins may not be used any more or in another context.

  • 1
    There are other meanings to "Anzeige" than the one you mention (="Strafanzeige", etc). The word "Anzeige" can also refer to "classified ads" in newspapers and other periodicals; It can also refer to displays (e.g. "Tankanzeige") or in medicine it has the same meaning as "Indikation" (indication). Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:47
  • You are right I somehow missed these, will add them.
    – Etaila
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 9:39

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