I often listen from people saying der baume, which means the tree (Family tree / or computational tree structure), which I usually mix with plant trees, or sometimes das fenster which I mix with room windows however they also call computer windows as fenster. I would like to know, do they have all translation of computational words in German? If no then is there any rule to distinguish which computational word goes in English and which should be in German?

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    I don't get the question. German speakers refer to both the plant thing and the computaional structure as Bäume like English speakers refer to both as trees. Similarly, the German word Fenster can be the opening in a room as well as the thing on a computer screen, but this dual meaning is also true for the English word window. As long as you do not mix them up in English, why would you mix them up in German? Jul 29, 2019 at 9:17
  • How could there be a rule constraining what is translated and what isn't? People can translate or use the English term as they see fit. Usually, one variant becomes more popular than the other and wins out (see german.stackexchange.com/questions/53224/… for an example).
    – David Vogt
    Jul 29, 2019 at 9:20
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    @XeoffBaloch Okay, so woud you like to know if Germans prefer the German term over the English one (e.g., Baum versus Tree)? Or would you rather like to know how Germans distinguish between a word's original meaning and it's metaphorical meaning in the context of computers (e.g. Baum as a plant versus Baum as a data structure)? Jul 29, 2019 at 9:33
  • @BjörnFriedrich, Germans say microsoft office as it is, why don't they translate it as mikroweich Büro? because this a famous product name, similarly I assume that windows is also a product name, then why it has a German name? Could you please mention when words are getting translated into German and when not? Jul 29, 2019 at 16:39
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    The operating system Windows by Microsoft is never translated to Fenster. Where did you hear that it would have a German name? Jul 29, 2019 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


If I understand you correctly, your asking whether all computer-related technical terms get translated into German, and if not, how it's decided whether a term gets translated or not.

In my experience, it depends on a lot of factors. One of those factors is familiarity. If the concept behind the technical term is around long enough and people come into contact with it regularily, they may tend to use the familiar German term for it instead of the foreign terminus technicus. Windows as parts of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) have been around for decades now, so people are often comfortable with calling them "Fenster".

On the other hand, I don't remember ever hearing something like "Großdaten" für "big data". The concept isn't around that long, and people typically don't get into contact with it on a daily basis (or at least they don't realize they do), so they tend to use the English term that came with the concept.

Another factor is comparibility. If the technical concept and the "real world" concept are comparable enough, people may also tend to the use familiar German term. To my knowledge, GUI windows were actually modelled after the idea of a hole in the wall. So the concepts are comparable enough to use the same term for both, in English as well as in German.

On the other hand, a "server" in a computer network is something significantly different from a "Diener" or "Kellner". The concepts aren't really comparable, so people tend to use the English term in German, as well.

There are other factors as well, for example marketing ("Our product doesn't have ordinary 'Fenster', we have spiffy 'windows'!") or just whether a fitting and handy German term exists (how would you translate "cache" into German without writing one or multiple sentences?).

So, as often with language, it depends :D

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    While you are right in general, there is indeed a German term for "big data": Massendaten. I also think there is another factor: When was the term introduced/established (now or for example in the 80's).
    – mtwde
    Jul 29, 2019 at 12:17
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    Vor dem Hype hießen Big Data schlicht große Daten(mengen). Und ein Cache ist nichts als ein Zwischenspeicher. Jul 29, 2019 at 13:37

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