As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Translators

SliderSlider Registered User regular
edited May 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Relatives from Germany will be arriving soon and I'd like to show an interest and desire in communicating with them in their own language.

Assuming that I don't know any German, what would be the best way to communicate with someone in their native language?

Are any of you familiar with efficient, affordable (English to German) translators?

Slider on

Posts

  • Options
    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Slider wrote: »
    Relatives from Germany will be arriving soon and I'd like to show an interest and desire in communicating with them in their own language.

    Assuming that I don't know any German, what would be the best way to communicate with someone in their native language?

    Are any of you familiar with efficient, affordable (English to German) translators?

    Get a phrase book. That's about the best you can do. No one is going to expect you to learn even a modicum of German before they arrive. They'll probably want to practice their English anyway.

    Esh on
  • Options
    DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Slider wrote: »
    Relatives from Germany will be arriving soon and I'd like to show an interest and desire in communicating with them in their own language.

    Assuming that I don't know any German, what would be the best way to communicate with someone in their native language?

    Are any of you familiar with efficient, affordable (English to German) translators?

    automatic translation programs or systems are universally terrible, bad, and wrong. If you want to communicate with someone who does not speak your language well enough to do so, you either need to speak their language or you need to find someone who speaks both.

    Go with a phrase book if you really want to.

    Don't try to communicate with them in long convoluted sentences. You'll just end up screwing up the grammar or pronunciation and they won't appreciate it.

    What they will appreciate is if you can do little things. Learn a few greetings, farewells, and other useful phrases.

    Example, when they get off the plane, say "guten morgen" if its morning (good morning), "guten tag" if its daytime (good day). I can't remember what good evening is.

    As an example, my girlfriend is Belgian, so I learned a few words of Flemish to say every so often, such as "smakelijk" which means "enjoy" or "eat well". Basically its what you say at the beginning of a meal. I said it to her parents when we went out for dinner and they liked that I did that.

    You don't have to hold a discussion on molecular physics in German with them to have them appreciate the effort you're going to. A few words is more than enough.

    Dhalphir on
  • Options
    DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    And if you want to show the interest and desire, if their English is quite good, why not ask them to teach you a few German words themselves? When you're out and about, point at something and ask what its called in German. They'll like that (probably, as long as you don't over do it) and it will also give them a chance to practise their English at the same time.

    Dhalphir on
  • Options
    SliderSlider Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I guess I'll try a phrase book. I don't expect to carry on a conversation with them. I just wanted to throw a few words out once in a while, like, "I hope you enjoy your meal" etc.

    Slider on
  • Options
    DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    if thats the case don't bother with a phrase book. you can find a few phrases online easily.

    or just change your thread title of this one to be something like "Teach me a few German phrases"

    Dhalphir on
  • Options
    SliderSlider Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I was actually interested in "translators."

    Slider on
  • Options
    President RexPresident Rex Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    If you mean translator as in "some means of conveying basic information":

    The best German-English online dictionary is probably LEO; it generally also has short phrases like "Guten Appetit!" (your equivalent "Enjoy your meal."). Many individual words also have pronunciation examples.

    The other major dictionary is WordReference, which heavily favors Romance languages (particularly Italian) over German, but has a decent amount of content for German.

    If you really want a shortcut for full sentence translation, I suppose I'd recommend freetranslation (preferably doublechecked via a dictionary that it at least used the right word meanings). Remember that automated translators are terrible with long or convoluted sentences. They fair poorly with idiomatic expressions (they tend to get translated word-for-word), and they cannot discern intended meaning.



    If you mean translator as in "I want to actually speak (a little of) the language":

    You'll really want to brush up on basic pronunciation differences. W->V, Z->TS, etc. (most pocket dictionaries will have an English equivalency chart like this). Even misspeaking one word can throw a listener's concentration off (be careful with German words spelled the same as English - such as "war", "rot", or "nation"). But don't feel bad - you can always laugh at the Germans' difficulty with TH (tends to turn into an S or Z) or V/W confusion.

    If you want to build sentences you'll need to know basic things about grammar (like pluralization, cases, and conjugating verbs...things that will be easier to understand if you already know another foreign language). German plurals are more complex than English's "add an (e)s". German has 4 cases, where most English speakers only recognize 2 (I/me; he/him; they/them; etc.). German has ways of avoiding the passive tense that English does not.

    Simple sentence word order in German can follow the same order as in English (but usually doesn't for native speakers) so saying "The apple is red" can work just as easily as interchanging the words via a dictionary ("Der Apfel ist rot").

    Don't feel bad about speaking in just the present tense. And don't worry about embarassing yourself speaking.



    If you mean translator as in "I'm looking for an actual flesh-and-blood interpeter":
    (minor quibble: translator = written, interpreter = spoken)

    Generally you'll want to check in your phone book for nearby services. Alternatively you could try something like craigslist (or see if a friend or aquaintance from a nearby university happens to know German well enough).

    Live interpretation tends to be expensive (heck, translation can be expensive). So unless you're discussing family business like wills, immigration or something more legally or technically demanding you'll likely be better off mixing your broken (or nigh non-existent - as the case may be) German with their potentially broken English. Based on what you've said, though, I wouldn't recommend getting an interpreter unless it's someone you know doing it for free (like one of your guests! :P ).

    President Rex on
  • Options
    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Slider wrote: »
    I was actually interested in "translators."

    It's nice that you want to be hospitable, but you can do this with a few well chosen words. I think you're going a little overboard here. Foreign languages (especially French) can be a nightmare for a native English speaker to figure out with just a book and a few days.

    Does your family (immediate in the states) speak German? And can you explain what you mean by "translator"? Like an iPhone app or something? Are you planning on holding it up around them whenever they speak in German?

    Esh on
  • Options
    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    If you mean translator as in "I'm looking for an actual flesh-and-blood interpeter":

    Live interpretation tends to be expensive

    truth.
    My mother is occasionally hired by hospitals to do Low-German interpretation. She doesn't even speak it that well since she hasn't really used since she was a child. She still gets paid a ridiculous amount of money. Something on the order of 50-60$ an hour even if she's just sitting the room reading a book waiting for a doctor to show up.

    Tofystedeth on
    steam_sig.png
  • Options
    SliderSlider Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Esh wrote: »
    Slider wrote: »
    I was actually interested in "translators."

    It's nice that you want to be hospitable, but you can do this with a few well chosen words. I think you're going a little overboard here. Foreign languages (especially French) can be a nightmare for a native English speaker to figure out with just a book and a few days.

    Does your family (immediate in the states) speak German? And can you explain what you mean by "translator"? Like an iPhone app or something? Are you planning on holding it up around them whenever they speak in German?

    Sorry. I was a little vague.

    By "translators," I was pertaining to those little electronic, calculator-looking things.

    My dad speaks some broken German and one of my relatives speaks broken English. That is the only way we're able to communicate with them.

    I wanted to communicate with the other relative, because he doesn't speak a lick of English.

    Slider on
  • Options
    FerrusFerrus Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    That's a difficult situation. As far as learning German goes, I've heard it's a pretty hard language to learn and especially to pronounce correctly (Look up "Streichholzschächtelchen", haha). Your best bet might be to get one of those "wordless dictionaries", which are essentially just picture books you can use to show others what you want. Chances are, you'll pick up a few words or phrases by interacting with your relatives anyway.

    Ferrus on
    I would like to pause for a moment, to talk about my penis.
    My penis is like a toddler. A toddler—who is a perfectly normal size for his age—on a long road trip to what he thinks is Disney World. My penis is excited because he hasn’t been to Disney World in a long, long time, but remembers a time when he used to go every day. So now the penis toddler is constantly fidgeting, whining “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How about now? Now? How about... now?”
    And Disney World is nowhere in sight.
  • Options
    claypoolfanclaypoolfan Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Those instant translators can be tricky.... I learned the hard way when I turned in an essay in german class about something being hard to bear but it ended up being about how hard it is being a bear :lol:

    claypoolfan on
Sign In or Register to comment.