German and Croatian: Aspects of Translation

Any experienced translator between German and Croatian will be used to receiving questions about the differences between them, as these two languages do have many similarities. Therefore, we think it is worthwhile to highlight three key features, to help anyone who has to translate a text from German to Croatian, or vice versa.

  • Articles

In German there are three different forms of the definite article in the nominative case der, die, das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns respectively, but these can also change in the different cases. The indefinite article follows a roughly similar pattern. However, in Croatian no articles are used whatsoever, therefore you must remember to add in the articles (in the correct case), if you are translating from Croatian into German.

  • Cases

The German language uses four cases to provide additional information about the role being played by a noun in a given sentence. These cases are the nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. All of these cases are also used in Croatian as well as an additional three cases; the vocative, locative and instrumental cases. The vocative case is used for direct speech, while the locative case tends to determine the place of an action and the instrumental case is needed when the words ‘with’ or ‘by’ would likely be used in English. This is a distinction between the languages which is important to translation as it can lead to some sentences having to be reformulated in a certain manner.

  • Plurals

These two languages form plural nouns in different ways, in German the most common endings, which are added to nouns as an indicator of the plural form, are -e, -n, and -en. In Croatian there is a much greater variety of endings depending on the gender of the noun and various other factors. Therefore, plurals need close attention in any translation as it is very easy to make an error in this area.

Now that you know about the particular features of translating between German and Croatian, why not take a look at some of our articles on the difficulties of translation between other pairs of languages.

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