There have already been a few duplicates regarding how to learn German efficiently; however, my question may be a slight variant. (If it's not distinct enough, please let me know and I will delete.)

I attend a university where one of my requirements to graduate is to be able to have a sufficient command of Russian, German, or French to read academic articles; I have opted for German. Since we will be tested on our ability to translate German academic articles, first and foremost my goal is to learn to read. However, the material that I am reading is not daily usage vocabulary, but rather of engineering/physics/mathematics. This has lead me to two questions:

  1. What is the best way to self-learn to read German?
  2. Are there any resources, such as an extensive list of English-German translations, of engineering/physics/mathematics terminology? I have been able to find any.
  • 3
    I'd say it would be better to limit the question to the terminology part. These "What is the best way" questions are subjective and there is not really an answer. You have to find out what works best for you. If you want to learn to read, then read.
    – Emanuel
    Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 18:43
  • Likely this is not the full answer but learning only to read should be similar to learning Latin, that says it's enough to learn vocabulary only in one direction from Latin to German, because it's not spoken anymore. Maybe there are also more didactical things to consider, if you don't want to learn to speak it.
    – äüö
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


I would recommend that you start off by purchasing a basic German 101 book for college.

  1. For example, you could buy this: http://www.amazon.de/Wie-Gehts-Introductory-German-Course/dp/1413012825 There are several versions, you might be able to find an older version or a used one from a student. Each chapter contains a conversation and a vocabulary box for you to memorize. After memorizing the words, you could try to read the conversation. Each chapter becomes successively more complex as you learn grammatical concepts and memorize new words. You should buy http://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Book-German-Verbs-CD-ROM/dp/0071487581 to get you started with the 555 of the most important verbs. It lists all of the conjugations and even provides example sentence for each verb.

  2. For you technical terms, you'll want something called a Fachwörterbuch Englisch. Langenscheidt (among others) offers a number of technical English-German Dictionaries e.g. construction, mechanical engineering, general engineering, physics, mathematics (expensive) or mathematics (affordable)


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