Sometimes, one single word in German has the meaning of several words in English. For example, “bitte” means at once “pardon”, “please”, “go ahead”, “here you go”, “you’re welcome” and “not at all”. That is why, when translating, you have to be careful and figure out what is the appropriate meaning for each word in every sentence.
This phenomenon can be explained by the German language only having 185,000 words whereas the English language has over 1,000,000,000 words. This represents 2,000 times as many words as the Chinese language has and 10,000 times as many words as the French language has.
The German language uses so few words because words are made of several words put together. For example, “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” means “the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling”.
Also, in German there are 6 types of definite articles you can use (“der”, “den”, “dem”, “des”, “die” and “das”) depending on the gender and number of the noun, whereas in English, there is only one: “the”.
In addition, all of the nouns have a gender which must be learned separately by heart.
This is a good overview of why Mark twain used to say: “A gifted person ought to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days, and German in 30 years”.
Here at LingoStar, we can offer high quality translation from and into German. Call us today or email us for a free quote!