I found a word "Protokolle" which seems to be related to records. But it seems to also be used for protocol. So might not be a good fit?

I found "Protokoll" which seems to be related more to records and minutes and transcripts. So I think I am going to use this for now until I get better guidance.

A translator just wrote "logs" in the spreadsheet i gave her. So wondering if in software, "logs" is also understood in German. Or if there are other words that would fit.

Unfortunately "logs" in English also means tree trunks used as lumber. I obviously do not want that one.


Everyone who works in IT, and has to know what logs are, knows the word Log, Logfile, or Logdatei. So you can absolutely use these terms in a german user interface or instruction.

Of course, there are "real" german words like Protokolldatei or even Ereignisprotokolldatei, however, in my opinion, using such a term is just unnecessary.

  • If I have used Protokoll would that be ok to leave in there or should i use "Logs" or "Log"? – JGallardo Sep 12 '18 at 21:07
  • People will understand it, so in my opinion you can leave it in. However, next time you can also trust your translator ;) – tallistroan Sep 12 '18 at 21:22
  • Wäre es nicht schön, man würde für "log file" auf Deutsch Tagebuchdatei sagen? – Christian Geiselmann Sep 13 '18 at 17:31

There's the German word das Logbuch from nautical language, short das Log. People will understand it correctly, even if not from IT.

Liebes Logbuch …

The popular children's TV character Käpt'n Blaubär starts his Seemansgarn with that phrase.

The alternative das Protokoll is also okay but using it means you are targeting people not used to English. E.g. Microsoft does this and it's horrible because you cannot look for English language advice when having a German language menu or error message in front of you. That's the reason why a lot of IT people set their computer to English language.

  • Indeed. Words like "Rollbalken" seem pretty weird to me, especially since most of the IT literature is in English anyway, so most literature will write "scrollbar". – Rudy Velthuis Sep 13 '18 at 7:27
  • 1
    Das Log im Deutschen ist aber nicht kurz für das Logbuch. Das Log ist ein Stück Holz (ja, ja, der erwähnte englische log in dieser Bedeutung), das man an einem Faden ins Wasser wirft, um zu messen, wie schnell ein Schiff sich bewegt. Das Ergebnis schreibt man dann ins Logbuch. Ein anderes Wort für Logbuch wäre also Messholzbuch (aber das habe ich nur erfunden). – Christian Geiselmann Sep 13 '18 at 17:33
  • Das ist dann aber schon so sehr nautische Fachsprache, dass man Mark Twain bemühen müsste. – Janka Sep 13 '18 at 21:53

I would not use Protokoll in that context. Protokoll has quite a few meanings (e.g. "proceedings", "report", "code of conduct", "protocol") that are all more common and will therefore come to the mind of a reader more readily than the meaning of "logfile".

On the other hand, in a computer science context, Logs, Logfile, or Logdatei are the common terms used in Germany. Everyone who knows what a logfile is knows those terms, and everyone who doesn't know those terms won't understand what Protokoll means in that context either.

You should therefore avoid the term Protokoll (unless you are writing for the small subgroup of computer scientists who for some strange reason prefer the more cumbersome, misleading, and uncommon German translations of the better known English terms) and use Logdatei – or just Log – instead.

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