I was working with a translator and asked her to translate "Resend code", she gave me the translation of

Code erneut senden

I thought that was really long. I typed in "resend" into google translate and did in fact get "erneut senden". When I translated that back to English, it gave me the result of "send again". So that makes me wonder, is there not a direct equivalent to "re" in the German language? If not direct, would there be any other options to shorten the text?

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    One thing I'd like to note is that proper, natural and native sounding translations very rarely have a one-to-one relation between words in each language. Languages have different information density, different grammatical structures and differences in syntax. A one-to-one relationship becomes pretty much nonexistent when you go a level deeper to syllables and linguistic constructs like prefixes, especially if you want to keep similar information density.
    – Nzall
    Aug 30, 2018 at 8:56
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    German is longer than English, typically by something like 30% I heard. Many languages are longer than English (spoken Japanese for example is said to be about 50% longer). This is a big problem for many software developers who fit the english text on a button and then run into issues with internationalisation.
    – Tom
    Aug 31, 2018 at 9:19
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    Why would you want to do that anyways. The aim of the translation is to stay native, not to make it one-on-one or as short as possible.
    – xji
    Sep 3, 2018 at 17:49
  • @xji excellent point. I will make sure to keep the language native.
    – JGallardo
    Sep 5, 2018 at 18:51

5 Answers 5


The Germanic equivalent of the Latin prefix re- is wieder- and wider-. In modern German orthography re- in the sense „again“ is represented by wieder-, while in the sense „against“ it is rendered by wider-. Witness repeat > wiederholen, reunite > wiedervereinigen, reconstruct > wiedererrichten, return > wiederkehren; but resist > widerstehen (English withstand). Etymologically wieder- and wider- are the same word.

EDIT: Partial overlap with Christian.

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    You should add, that »Code wiedersenden« maybe might be understood, but is very unusual and has a red flashing sign on its side saying "BAD TRANSLATION!" to every native speaker, while »Code erneut senden« and »Code noch einmal senden« sound much more natural. Aug 29, 2018 at 14:56
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    @HubertSchölnast - How would we (non-natives) know to use "erneut senden" instead of "wiedersenden"? To my untrained ear, it sounds like it would work. Does it have to do with code being a technical term? Would "wiedersenden" ever sound natural, in some context?
    – BruceWayne
    Aug 29, 2018 at 15:22
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    no it is not technical. it is a subtle but established difference and equally applies to letter mail. "Noch einmal" is a closer synonym than "wieder", which is rather used for expectedly (or routinely) recurring events.
    – dlatikay
    Aug 29, 2018 at 18:16
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    @BruceWayne: It's not a matter of context in this case. »Noch einmal senden« is just a little bit more established than »erneut senden« and both are way more often used than »wiedersenden«. »Wiedersenden« is not wrong (although my autocorrection tool doesn't agree with me). The fact is just, that nobody uses this word. - You asked »How would we know?« The answer: »Ask a native speaker«. This one of the million details you probably won't find in any book. But you can learn those details within some years if you live in a German spoken country. Aug 29, 2018 at 18:47
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    @BruceWayne I never in my entire life heard anyone say "wiedersenden". That word is not established in the German language and I'd consider it as a neologism. Every native speaker would probably understand what you mean, but never use it himself without a stylistic reason (which would then be sounding strange on purpose).
    – Skillmon
    Aug 30, 2018 at 10:46

Very sorry, but German tends to use longer words than English.

Code erneut senden

Code nochmal senden

Code noch einmal senden

These are the existing alternatives. Erneut senden is already the shortest one. If you want it snappier, you have to omit things.

Erneut senden


Code senden

I recommend the last one, if it's the same procedure anyways.

Oh, and I recommend not to use any of the following, because of ambiguity.

Neuer Code (could be understood as a new code rather than resending the old one)

Code neu senden (could be understood as a new code rather than resending the old one)

Neu senden (could be understood as a new code rather than resending the old one)

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    "Neu senden", "Code neu senden" are not much more ambigous than "Nochmal!" - "Neuer code", however, would almost reliably be understood as "send NEW code!", Aug 30, 2018 at 7:03

The direct equivalent would be


as in "wiedersehen", "wiedergeben", "wiederholen".

However, you cannot use "wieder-" productively by glueing it in front of arbitrary other words as in "*wiedersenden", "wiederkochen", "wiederprüfen".

Such neologisms would probably be understood, but they tend to sound awkward, unless you have a very specific context and know what you are doing.

Let's test using "wieder" to render English "re-" on some random examples. (Attention, this is experimental, just in order to test to what extent the "wieder-" prefix can be used productively.)

redo --> wiedertun (?) - As "redo" would rather mean "do something again, but in a better way", I think "wiedertun" is not a good fit. "Etwas wieder tun" would mean "do something exactly the same way".

reinterrogate --> wiederbefragen (?) - This could perhaps be used. I imagine police officers who have interrogated a suspect now planning to interrogate him or her again. They could write: "In diesem Falle ist dringend eine Wiederbefragung erforderlich", but this would be very bureaucratic style.

reevaluate --> wiederprüfen (?) - The word would be understood, but would be unusual. The usual way to express "reevaluate" would be "nochmals prüfen".

Note 1: One can go into lenghty discussions about writing words together or separated, and whether or not this carries a difference in meaning, see "wieder geboren" vs. "wiedergeboren" or "wieder verheiratet" vs. "wiederverheiratet".

Note 2: for the variety "wider" (without e) see fdb's answer on this page.

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    They are two words: "wieder tun" "wieder befragen", "wieder prüfen". Aug 29, 2018 at 11:05
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    @VolkerSiegel Yes, in ordinary usage you would write "wieder befragen". My examples are explicitly experimental, to check how far one could go in trying to use the wieder- prefix productively. Interestingly, as soon as you derive nouns from the verbs, you would write it together anyway, see the example with "Wiederbefragung". However, there is also a difference between "wieder befragen" and "wiederbefragen", both in pronuncation and in meaning. See also "wieder geboren" vs. "wiedergeboren". Aug 29, 2018 at 12:29
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    I missed the point "experimental", makes sense, sorry. The point about nouns is very interesting! Aug 29, 2018 at 12:43
  • In such situations, it can be useful to translate back to English. Quite often, when using "wieder" in German, you'd use "again" when translating back to "English": "Sie hat es (schon) wieder getan." <-> "She did it again." If trying to translate with "She redid it." we would discover that it has a slightly different meaning or at least connotation/emphasis, and I'd translate "She redid it." rather to "Sie hat es nochmal (von vorne/neu) gemacht."
    – Aconcagua
    Sep 2, 2018 at 7:33

German does know the prefix re-, but it is usable mostly (or exclusively? not sure atm) with words of foreign origin and it does not necessarily mean "again", but rather has the meaning of "back". The first examples that come to my mind are "rekonstruieren" which would translate 1:1 to English "reconstruct" (construct an object or event from pieces) or "refinanzieren" which leo translates to "refinance" (not sure if this really exists in English) or "refund", meaning you get back the (same amount of) money you invested in something.

  • "Refinance" certainly exists in English. It means to replace an existing loan with a new one (presumably on better terms). Aug 31, 2018 at 8:48

It won't help you to shorten the sentence, but I'll add it here for completeness: sometimes the prefix "rück" is used where an English word would have a "re". It means "reverse" rather than "repeat".

Some examples:

  • Rückerstattung - refund, recompense, reimbursement
  • Rückblick - review
  • rückwirkend - reactive (but also retroactive)
  • Rückgewinnung - recovery, recuperation, recycling

Here is another example that compensates for the lack of a short expression for "resend": "Rückfrage". In English, the closest phrase seems to be "further enquiry", and there doesn't seem to be a single word that would correspond to "Rückfrage" but not "Anfrage".

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    Rücksichtregard. These obviously are on the same ground if you consider German Vorsicht could be translated guard.
    – Janka
    Aug 30, 2018 at 8:50
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    Another example: "Rückversicherung" means "reinsurance". The company "Münchener Rück" renamed itself to "Munich Re" a few years ago. Aug 30, 2018 at 14:15

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