Travel to Western Pennsylvania, and you will find a surprising amount of people with German heritage in the area. You may even hear a ‘Guten Tag’ or ‘Gesundheit’ from unexpected places. Indeed, few places in the United States have as strong of a German heritage as Pittsburgh, thanks in large part to a wave of migration in the 19th century that sought work and economic freedom.
A Historic and Economic Match
In many ways, the fit is mutual. Especially southern Germans found the Western Pennsylvania countryside to be refreshingly similar to their Bavarian origins, while Western Germans appreciated the similar industrial focus. To this day, significant similarities between Pittsburgh, nicknamed ‘The Steel City,’ and the Ruhrgebiet, the country’s former center in the coal and steel industry, exist.
But economic connections did not stop with the decline of the Steel industry. Global powerhouses based in Germany like Bayer, Siemens, and VEKA have chosen the Pittsburgh area as the perfect place for their U.S. headquarters, while others with origins in the Pittsburgh area – such as Kennametal – have expanded their operations into Germany.
This close connection between the two countries, along with the rich history between the two, often necessitates the need for German translation services in and around Pittsburgh. But of course, that same close connection also means that when finding these services, equal expertise in both languages is absolutely crucial. If you find yourself in need of these services, keep reading to find out how to professional translators can help you.
1) They Know the Language
Above all, professional translators like us have an in-depth knowledge of both languages. You may think that a cursory understanding of the language from which you wish to translate is enough but in reality, both matter equally.
German is a complex language with many individual grammar rules, and a simple switch of words in a sentence may have fatal consequences for the meaning of that sentence. Even the punctuation rules are more strict, and a misplaced comma in the course of the translation can change the meaning of the sentence or make it more difficult to understand.
2) They Understand the Connotations
Any professional translator will tell you that literal translation is comparatively easy. Reading ‘between the lines,’ however, which includes recognizing and correctly translating proverbs or common sayings, is much more difficult. In technical writing, you won’t come across this problem too much. But when you delve into marketing or other, more descriptive writing, understanding these connotations becomes crucial.
Take the common German saying Das is nicht das Gelbe vom Ei, for example. Translated literally, it’s nonsensical: that is not the yellow of the egg. But in fact, it’s a common saying that stands for something along the lines of that is not as good as could be. Understanding connotations and phrases like this is a human skill that only professionals experienced in both languages can apply in their translation.
3) They Do Their Research
Finally, especially if your translation efforts are needed in a business environment, don’t forget just how important it is to get the jargon and technical language of your document right. You may work for a technical company that has just produced a new piece in equipment, and needs to translate the instructions for use into German so it can be used on both continents.
Without doing the necessary research into the subject, no professional can produce an accurate facsimile of the document in another language. Fortunately, we consider translation not just a job restricted to the document in both languages, but reaching beyond and doing the necessary research to make the translation as accurate as it could possibly be.
Because of the close economic and historical connections between Pittsburgh and Germany, living and working in the city may well bring with it a need to translate documents from German into English, and vice versa. When that need arises, you want professionals to turn to that can help you accomplish the job in a way that you know to be successful. We can be those professionals! Contact us to learn more about our services.