How would I translate an administrative threshold into German?
This is in software where there is a threshold for the amount of (excess) hours someone works without overpay, but once the threshold has been reached, he/she will get paid extra.

  • Schwelle?
  • Grenze?

Maybe it helps if we consider limit instead of threshold...

Here is the entire context:

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  • Do you want to emphasise "limit" or "threshold"?
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 15:13
  • @PiedPiper threshold
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 15:28

4 Answers 4


Schwelle is the best solution here. It implies a transition from one state to another. You have a transition from unpaid to paid overtime.
Schwellenwert or Schwellwert would be another possibility if you wanted to emphasise the value at the transition rather than the transition itself.

Grenze (or Grenzwert) is not as good because it implies a limit. However it might be useful if there was an upper limit on how many overtime hours could be paid

  • I'm going for these two, whichever one applies. Using Schwellwert instead if Schwellenwert though.
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 8:18

I prefer




as a translation for it. This also emphasizes the fact that it is a value that is being measured, instead of a vague criterium or a notion.

And in contrast to limit, it simply demarks a value after which you transition into a different phase/context/state, while limit seems to be the very end of a scale.

Depending on context other translations might also be applicable:

Wendepunkt, Entscheidungskriterium, ...

  • 1
    But limit is Grenze or Grenzwert.
    – IQV
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 13:30
  • 1
    And OP asks explicitly which word fits better in this case - Schwelle or Grenze (or Schwellwert or Grenzwert).
    – IQV
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 13:33
  • 3
    I think that Schwelle(nwert) is best because it does not mean something will stop (als Grenze/Limit at least hints) but rather some parameters will change beyond that Schwelle. Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 13:33
  • @VolkerLandgraf: I agree. Scaling from Schwelle(nwert) over Grenzwert to Limit, the emphasis shifts from transitioning between two states to the limit of a domain.
    – BestGuess
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 13:35
  • @IQV: He asked which words fit and gave two own suggestions. I told him his suggestions were fine, but slightly modified them and gave reason for it. I also tried to argue why i would not use limit (or its translations).
    – BestGuess
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 13:36

I'd rather prefer


to use here in this case of worker's overtime.

As synonym I would also consider


It might sound more denglish, just in my opinion it is not uncommon to use it. Maybe because it sounds softer due to "L" instead of "G"

Like others stated, it might sound like limiting something. Putting it into the context of payed overtime, it does: it limits the time unpaid. And that is not fluid, you need to change a contract or (external) laws instead of just a parameter/ configuration.


Die Grenze des Landes ist erreicht. -> despite that the countryside goes on, so it is no "Schwellwert" and "defined by contract".

Die tägliche Arbeitszeit ist per Gesetz begrenzt. -> it does not limit to do more or to ask for more.

I see more the context of "if the limit is reached, we need to take action". Considering this, I assume something like this for last column

Grenze [*] beachten
Grenze [*] ignorieren
Grenze für tägliche Überstunden
(no idea)
(no idea) +falls Grenze überschritten
Wöchentliche Grenze

[*] = for calculation

(As you did not ask for a full german translation, I did not ask for a english translation I could put the verbs into context, so I might miss the point)


Schwelle, Grenze, Limite: all are useful here.

In context with work overtime das Limit or die Limite fits best!

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