German and Greek: Key Aspects of Translation

When translating between German and Greek, it is essential to think about the key differences between these two languages. We have decided that the best way to help with this is by highlighting three key features to be kept in mind during translation.

  • Questions

The formation of questions in German is relatively simple to follow, the verb and the subject are normally inverted and there is a question mark at the end, questions also often begin with question words, such as wie or was. In Greek questions are often formed in the same way as statements, so they have to be identified by the context and punctuation, but it should be noted that a semi colon is used instead of a question mark, which could naturally cause confusion for non-native speakers. Therefore, it is imperative to look out for this when translating a text from Greek to German, or vice versa.

  • Noun Phrases

In German, as in English, possessive adjectives are put before the noun, indicating to whom the noun belongs, e.g mein Buch (my book). However, in Greek the possessive adjective follows the noun. Personal pronouns also work differently in the two languages, in German when a personal pronoun is used with a noun, ie when something is done to someone, the pronoun referring to whoever receives the action will follow the verb, in Greek this pronoun is put before the verb. It is clear that word order needs close attention in translation between these two languages, as the differing rules could distort the meaning of a given sentence.

  • Cases

Although both languages have four cases, they only have three in common. They share the nominative, accusative and genitive cases but German also has the dative case, this was also present in ancient Greek, but the modern language has almost eliminated save a few phrases which have been carried over. However, Greek does have a vocative case, generally used for calling people and this does not exist in German.

Now that you are familiar with the key features of translation between German and Greek, do not hesitate to take a look at our articles on the crucial aspects of other language pairs.

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