Free English to German Translation Guide - Cultural Checklist
Before your German translators start work, use this free English to German Translation Guide checklist to make sure that your text is culturally appropriate. At the bottom, you’ll also find a translation price guide and other helpful resources. (Looking for a free English to German translation online?)
Cultural checklist for English to German translations
When your translation will be used in another country, just translating the language may not be enough. Some parts of the content may need to be adapted to make your text more appropriate for another culture.
Take a look at the localization checklist below. If your text requires cultural adjustments, you might want to adapt it before sending it the German translators. Alternatively, you could ask your German translators for help with specific points.
1) Check that numbers and dates in the right format for the target country.
- In Europe, dates are written day-month-year, while in the U.S., they are generally written month-day-year.
- Europeans often describe time using a 24-hour clock, while this is unusual in the U.S..
- In Europe, the usage of decimal points and commas in numbers is generally the opposite of that in the U.S.. For example, the number three thousand would be written as "3,000.00" in the U.S., but would be written as "3.000,00" in Germany.
2) Check that weights and measurements are given in the appropriate units -- metric system for European countries, but not in the U.S..
3) Check that financial amounts are given in the right currency. Do prices, incomes, etc. described in the document match local standards?
4) Check references to holidays, national events, celebrations, and customs. Note that certain holidays such as Father's Day may fall on different dates depending on the country. Holidays such as Christmas are celebrated in different ways in different cultures.
5) Check references to working hours, the academic calendar, typical vacation times, mealtimes, etc. The schedule and rhythm of people's lives vary from country to country.
6) Check references to specific locations and geographic features, cities or neighborhoods, ethnic groups, religions. Do these need to be adapted or explained?
7) Check references to celebrities, politicians, political parties, movies, TV shows, music, and other aspects of popular culture, etc. to see if they need to be adapted or explained.
8) Check if brands or products need to be adapted to those available or common in the target culture.
9) Check for content that might be offensive or inappropriate in the target culture. For example, in the U.S., it is very common to ask about ethnic/racial background in a survey or on a website registration form, but this type of question can actually be illegal in Germany.
10) Check for word-play that might not be translatable. Also be aware that humor is different from one culture to another, and some jokes, even if translated correctly, might fail to amuse.
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