German spelling: are \'ss\', \'ue\', \'oe\' sometimes justified (over ß, ü, ö)?
Thread poster: aivars

aivars  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 06:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 4, 2002

I guess that this question might be too basic for those who master German.

Lately I\'ve been managing projects in many different languages simultaneously and I \'ve got a complaint from our customer saying that our German translator should have used \"the new standard\". I was too busy to realize that all \"ß\", \"ü\", \"ö\", etc. and such were displayed by my translator as \"ss\", \"ue\", \"oe\" and so on. My question :



Is my client right saying that \"the new standard\" is THE way one should render documents in German? (pieces were about biology + software) or is there any way to justify waht my translator did (no umlauts,no ess-tset characters) ?



Thanks for your comments and sorry if the answer is too obvious.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:01
Member (2002)
English to German
Not using diacritics only justified in very specific situations Nov 4, 2002

...such as e-mail communication or (decreasingly) web pages, or more generally: where there is a possibility that characters with diacritics might appear distorted.



In most other cases (general texts, manuals, press releases - basically everything), the use of diacritics and special characters (ä, ö, ß etc.) is the only way to go, anything else is unacceptable. I doubt that the question would even arise for anyone familiar with mainstream culture in German-speaking countries.



With regard to ss-ß, there is one exception: in Switzerland, ss is generally used instead of ß.



However, all this has little to do with the new German orthography in force since 1996. The only modifications touching on your question were some spelling changes from ß to ss, but there were no changes in terms of the use of diacritics.



Regards

Endre


Direct link Reply with quote
 

langnet  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:01
Member (2002)
Italian to German
+ ...
It has nothing do to with the "new standard"... Nov 4, 2002

The umlauts \"ä\", \"ö\", \"ü\" and \"ß\" have always been (an still are) \"old standard\", too

These letters with diacritical marks must always be written this way in correct German.



The use of \"ae\", \"oe\" and \"ue\" instead of umlauts and \"ss\" instead of \"ß\" is a more or less accepted convention that was ment for those who didn\'t have these particular letters on their keyboard, especially in the non-computer age . Still, it is considered incorrect in \"standard German\" not to use umlauts, and \"ae\", \"oe\" and \"ue\" should only be used as a real \"stopgap\".

As to \"ss\" in place of \"ß\", this is a bit more difficult since there have been some changes with the introduction of the \"new standard\".



I think, in this particular case the translator simply didn\'t use a German keyboard or keyboard layout and he or she didn\'t know how to generate umlauts (and \"ß\")from a non German keyboard.



However, your client is not right if he or she refers to the \"new standard\" in your case, but in MHO he or she is right when complaining that no umlauts and \"ß\" have been used. I\'m afraid, there\'s little you can justify...



HTH













Direct link Reply with quote
 

Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:01
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Agree with Claudia and Endre Nov 4, 2002

How would you feel about delivering a Spanish text without ñ, let\'s say the ñ is replaced by a n with a hyphen backspaced into it? That\'s pretty much the effect of ae oe ue on a German reader.



Quote:


On 2002-11-04 14:08, langnet wrote:

The use of \"ae\", \"oe\" and \"ue\" instead of umlauts and \"ss\" instead of \"ß\" is a more or less accepted convention ...







If you\'re re-publishing a book from around 1700, it\'ll be just fine to use an A with a superscripted, italicized e to indicate it\'s an umlaut, for authenticity. Other than that, I can\'t think of a reason that would justify the use of ae oe ue instead of umlauts. In short, your customer\'s complaint is justified, and it\'s not a question of old vs. new German spelling. It\'s a wide-spread error to believe that the ß had been eliminated in the course of the spelling reform.



Frankly, I\'d consider this writing style as highly unprofessional, reason enough to question the quality of the translation.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

aivars  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 06:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Very clear now Nov 4, 2002

So it\'s enough, all your arguments were very compelling. Thank you very much for the fast replies.



Seems as the only thing I must do now is ask my German native!!, translator why he resorted to \"ss\" and such.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

langnet  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:01
Member (2002)
Italian to German
+ ...
Yes, you should do that... Nov 4, 2002

but, personally, I also would do as Klaus Herrmann suggested and have a closer look at the quality of the translation. The fact that the translators is a native speaker maybe doesn\'t mean too much...

I\'m still rather convinced that he used a non-German keyboard, and I would have some doubts about a \"native German\" translator (!) not using one..



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:01
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Exceptions to ß Nov 4, 2002

You probably know this already, but you shouldn\'t simply tell your translator to use ß for ss in all cases. In compound words with an s at the end of one component and another s at the beginning of the next component, e.g. Staatssekretär, ss remains ss. (Elementary stuff, I know, but how elementary is your translator\'s knowledge of German?)

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxTService  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:01
English to German
ss or ß - quite simple Nov 5, 2002

First of all:

Klaus: Thanks alot for picking up my remarks that had been killed soon after being published by proz\'s hardware. Good to know that thoughts are not lost.



It\'s quite easy to determine whether to use \"ss\" or \"ß\", it just depends on the accentuation of the leading vowel: If the vowel is stressed \'long\' (dunno the exact phrase) - \"ß\" is used. If it is pronounced short - \"ss\" is used.



Examples:

Fluss, Schuss, Pass, nass, Hass, Nuss...

Fließen, Schießen, Spaß, Fuß, Gruß, Ruß...



You see: It\'s not that difficult.





Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ingar A. Milnes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:01
English to Norwegian
+ ...
ß abolished in Switzerland Nov 5, 2002

Swiss authorities decided to abolish ß and consistently replace it with ss quite some time ago (60s or 70s), so if the translation was meant for the Swiss market, using ss would be justifiable. As for the umlauts - no way!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

kbamert  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:01
French to German
+ ...
native speaker of German Nov 11, 2002

Hello



In which country does your \"translator\" live?



Which is his mother tongue?



Which is his country of origin?



In which language did he most of his schooling (education) and in which country?



Which is the target country of the translation?



All this should give an answer to your question...



Best regards



Kurt





Direct link Reply with quote
 

Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
ss or ß - not quite so simple Nov 17, 2002

As you can read in the Duden, this rule is not quite so simple. When the new standard was introduced, I was told: ss after short vowel, ß after long vowel. So I wrote \"ausserdem\", because the u is short and the a is short. But the exact rule is, that after 2 vowels the ß is to be used, too.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:01
English to German
+ ...
Diphthong Nov 18, 2002

The \"au\" in \"außerdem\" is a diphthong, like a double vowel I would categorise it as one long vowel (sound), not as two seperate vowels.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Marnen Laibow-Koser
United States
Local time: 05:01
German to English
+ ...
Umlauts Dec 12, 2002

Other posters in this thread have said that it\'s essentially never correct to use \"-e\" instead of an umlaut. I agree with that, but I must play devil\'s advocate and point out an apparent exception. Certain German proper names use strange spellings -- no one ever writes \"Göthe\" for \"Goethe\"...



Just my 2 groschen,

Marnen


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:01
English to German
+ ...
Names are the exception to the rule... Dec 12, 2002

...there is another example in Goethe\'s home town of Frankfurt, where Hoechst AG (the chemicals/pharmaceuticals conglomerate that merged with Rhone-Poulenc to form Aventis) was located in Höchst (the part of town).

Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

German spelling: are \'ss\', \'ue\', \'oe\' sometimes justified (over ß, ü, ö)?

Advanced search






memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs