Are there any resources which compare different translations of English sentences / paragraphs to German and discuss their strengths and weaknesses?

It doesn't need to be super fine grained, I'd also be happy just with a juxtaposition of 'good' and 'bad' translations to German, like dos and don'ts, especially from English.

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    This is much too broad, I think. A good translation is that which transports the intention of the author when she was writing the original text. And that intention is coded into word choice and sentence structure and grammar and so on.
    – Janka
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 17:05
  • @Janka I see, but I guess for any pair of languages there are some 'traps' for beginners, like typical sentence structures which one might tend to adopt in the translation but which don't sound natural in the target language...
    – fweth
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


A typical problem when translating English to German is how to deal with English tenses. English is nitpickingly accurate about sequence and duration of events, while German is extremely sloppy.

Another thing to worry about is direct/indirect vs. Dativ/Akkusativ/Genitiv objects. English uses prepositions in much more occassions than German because of that and English speakers may try that in German too. Oh, and of course, prepositions cannot be translated 1:1. That's a problem in both directions.

A very hard problem when translating German to English (or nearly any other language) is how to transport the meaning of modal particles. There are plenty of these words, and they change the mood of the sentence. One has to insert additional explanations into English, which is often lengthy and awkward.

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