"Army speak" in German - appropriate resources?
Thread poster: Soluna

Soluna
English to German
May 5, 2008

I wonder whether anybody can give me some tips. A friend of mine has written a play and within the play are a couple of scenes that need to be in German. He asked me to help with the translation of these pages from English into German. The scene is about an officer talking to his subordinate. Now I am a translator of mainly technical and business related documents and have never been in the army myself (thank God!) so I don't really have any knowledge of how these guys talk to each other! I want to help my friend with this and would appreciate any suggestions where I could find appropriate ressources (preferably free as I am not going to be paid for this) to help me get the right tone with the translation.

Thanks!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-05-05 14:30]


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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:59
Danish to English
+ ...
The army May 5, 2008

I can only suggest that you try to find someone who was in the army in question at the time in question who would be willing to check your translation.

My husband was in the army (a long time ago now and not the German army), but he is always surprised at how badly films and plays (even seemingly serious productions with big budgets) depict the army he was in. He's been laughing so hard sometimes, he's been close to tears watching serious films portraying the way officers speak among themselves, officers and subordinates to each other, etc - even details as simple as checking the right uniforms, etc. So beware! But obviously you are already clear about the possible pitfalls...

Tina


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 5, 2008

Unfortunately I don't know anyone who was in the army. I'll just have to do my best, I guess... Or ask my friend to rewrite his play!

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:59
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Why don't you post it as a job May 5, 2008

I was in the West German army in the 60s.
Regards
Heinrich


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Unfortunately... May 5, 2008

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I was in the West German army in the 60s.
Regards
Heinrich


.... I won't get paid for it so I can't pay anything for it either. Thanks anyway.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 14:59
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Just to be clear... May 5, 2008

You are looking for resources, as in reference books or web links, right, Soluna? You're not looking for free translation, am I correct?

Nancy


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Free translation? May 5, 2008

NancyLynn wrote:

You are looking for resources, as in reference books or web links, right, Soluna? You're not looking for free translation, am I correct?

Nancy



Obviously that would be great but I don't think that would be on offer anywhere. Resources and links would be appreciated.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
Period May 5, 2008

I'm no expert on the subject, but period would be important, for instance if it dealt with the WW II period. All that language changes from war to war, that is certainly true with "army speak" in the US armed forces. Certainly it would be very true in the German army as well.

Of course the German army has fortunately not been involved in any wars since WW II. Maybe you can find works of fiction that depict army life, that could be one source.


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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:59
English to Arabic
+ ...
Brassey's Multilingual Military Dictionary (big paperback) May 5, 2008

Greetings.

For formal terms in "military German" (thus excluding soldiers' slang and jargon), one good reference is the Brassey's Multilingual Military Dictionary (a many-paged paperback).

That fairly-comprehensive (for that time) dictionary presents and briefly defines each selected term in five languages which include German, Russian and Arabic.

Brassey's printed it in the late 1980s (as I recall) and may well have updated or expanded its contents into a more-current edition.


Hope this helps.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
English - Arabic, Kurdish, and Persian
San Pedro, California, USA

[Edited at 2008-05-05 18:23]


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks May 5, 2008

I think it is contemporary. I'll try and find some fiction, although I guess most will be war-related!

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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:59
Danish to English
+ ...
Why do you have to know anyone? May 5, 2008

I'm sure if you contacted the army (I assume the German army), they'd be flattered to be asked. Checking information for a play is a fairly 'glamorous' request, after all.

What's the harm in trying?

Printed resources are bound to be out of date and you'd only really know the jargon if you were actually there at the time.

Tina


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Dictionary May 5, 2008

Stephen Franke wrote:

Greetings.

For formal terms in "military German" (thus excluding soldiers' slang and jargon), one good reference is the Brassey's Multilingual Military Dictionary (a many-paged paperback).

That fairly-comprehensive (for that time) dictionary presents and briefly defines each selected term in five languages which include German, Russian and Arabic.

Brassey's printed it in the late 1980s (as I recall) and may well have updated or expanded its contents into a more-current edition.


Hope this helps.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
English - Arabic, Kurdish, and Persian
San Pedro, California, USA

[Edited at 2008-05-05 18:23]


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Good point! May 5, 2008

Tina Colquhoun wrote:


I'm sure if you contacted the army (I assume the German army), they'd be flattered to be asked. Checking information for a play is a fairly 'glamorous' request, after all.

What's the harm in trying?

Printed resources are bound to be out of date and you'd only really know the jargon if you were actually there at the time.

Tina


That hadn't occurred to me, thanks!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:59
English to German
+ ...
This glossary might be helpful: Das Bundeswehr-Lexikon May 6, 2008

http://www.unmoralische.de/bundeswehr.htm

Addendum: It's supposed to be authentic, right?

[Edited at 2008-05-06 05:15]


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Soluna
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Useful! May 6, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

http://www.unmoralische.de/bundeswehr.htm

Addendum: It's supposed to be authentic, right?

[Edited at 2008-05-06 05:15]


Thanks Nicole!


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