I came across this excerpt from answers of the now deleted stackoverflow question on new programming slang where it says:

Sometimes, you just have to talk a problem out; for example: Someone put a rubber duck on the monitor, so he could talk to it, therefore, rubberducking is talking your way through a problem.

Trying to translate this to German caused several headaches:

  • Leo translates a "rubber duck" with: Badeente, Gummiente.
  • Both these terms are not listed by Duden.
  • The corresponding Wikipedia article linked it to "Quietscheentchen" a term that is at least known by Duden.
  • Still, there is not much help on deciding which of these terms is actually popular.
  • A Google Ngram indicates that it may be Gummiente.
  • Finally, a research on Urban Dictionary revealed meanings we don't want to translate.

This where I got stuck.

Is there a well known German term for "rubber duck" that could be used in the context above? What would a German programmer say to his/her "rubber duck", or for "rubberducking"?

  • Wtf? So on urban: "Floating pool or bath toy" -> Therefore you already gave all translations. But Rubberducking: programmer talking to a rubber duck ... That's a joke, isn't it? (PS: Ich hab ne Maus (Spielfigur) auf dem Monitorständer, aber ich red nicht mit dem Vieh)
    – Em1
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 12:13
  • Das hier ergibt Sinn. Jetz versteh' ich worum es geht. Du kannst die Ente Prüfer nennen, von Code Review abgeleitet ;p
    – Em1
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 12:25
  • 1
    Bei Loriot ist es nur eine Ente - hat aber nichts mit Programmieren zu tun ;)
    – knut
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


As a programmer I call the technique "rubber ducking" and I have no German translation for that meaning of the term.

I would translate "rubber duck" itself (i.e. the toy) as "Quietscheentchen" or "Badeente" as you already wrote, but I've never heard that translation used when referring to the technique.

It is relatively common in computer sciences/IT that english terms are simply used untranslated. Often there simply are no common, agreed-upon translations. In some cases the translations exist, but are used relatively rarely (Example: the "heap" memory structure is sometimes translated as "Haufenspeicher", but most software developers I know dislike this translation and prefer to use the original English term).

  • 1
    "Verklemmung" is nice as well. It's a deadlock.
    – Femaref
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 0:20
  • 4
    As far as I know "stack memory" is translated as "Stapelspeicher" and "heap memory" as "Kellerspeicher".
    – harper
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 15:08
  • And "array" is "Feld".
    – Residuum
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 13:17
  • I'd definitely go with "Quietscheentchen" or "Quietscheente" in German, rather than any of the other versions. And we use it in our team, but we speak only English :) Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 19:40

In our software development team, we use the term "Gummiente". Examples:

"Ich brauch mal eine Gummiente."

"Ich bin verwirrt." -- "Soll ich Deine Gummiente spielen?"

  • Interessant, ich würde nach Sprachgefühl "Quietscheentchen" oder "Quietscheente" bevorzugen. Aber wenn das aktiv benutzt wird, ist es ein Argument. +`1 Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 19:41
  • 1
    Yes, I use that term too - not just in computing. When used by Ernie in the bath tub it is of course always Quietscheentchen, but outside Sesame Street Gummiente is at least as common. See Google n-gram viewer, though the data is not statistically significant.
    – user2183
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 6:37

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