“There shouldn’t be a standards gap. It ought to be the same.”

It would be nice to assume that once you have carefully crafted your German content it will simply come out the same in English. But languages don’t work that way. For it to mean the same in English, it may need to be different.

Unfortunately for us, languages are not directly equivalent to each other, so the idea that simply putting the same words into a different language will achieve your standard is wishful thinking.

For example if you say ‘Das ist mir Wurst’ it makes sense to you in German but saying ‘That’s sausage to me’ does not mean anything in English. If your readers don’t know German (which they won’t, otherwise they would not be reading your English version), they will not know what sausages have to do with it. It just sounds funny. It will make people laugh, and they may be expecting to receive sausages! They may be disappointed when the sausages don’t arrive, but more importantly, it may also be perceived as lowering your standard. After all, if you can’t get that right, how likely is it that the rest of your services will be right?

The message should be  ‘It doesn’t matter to me’ in English. So your copy may need to use completely different words in English to mean the same to your English-speaking readers.

If it is a marketing text, you also need to consider whether it is easy to read in only a few seconds (for online content), as well as tone of voice, style and recreating the same brand image.

Of course, you also need to completely understand the intention behind the original message, so that you convey the right message.

This is why relying on machine translation does not provide a complete solution. It can choose a similar word in another language but can’t choose which words will convey your message the best.

To align your English content with your standards, the solution is to work together with a translator who understands your intention, understands your target readers and has the linguistic skill of an English native speaker to be able to choose the most effective words to convey your message.

This is why my business is called Ideal Words, as we are striving for the ideal words to put your message across. The ideal words are likely to be different in English but will mean the same.

Hi! Thanks for reading!

My name is Nina Hasinski and I’m the owner and translator at Ideal Words.

I specialise in helping German-speaking tourism businesses with their English translations and copywriting projects.

If you’d like to find out more about my services and how I can help your business then contact me to discuss your ideas.

– Nina Hasinski