When the U.S. Constitution was put in place, not everyone in the country spoke English. Because of this, the Constitution and other legal documents were soon translated into both Dutch and German to accommodate the large German population of Pennsylvania and the Dutch-speaking residents of the Albany, New York area. A recent study conducted by representatives from a variety of colleges found the translations were not always entirely correct, though.
One example of something we would probably consider a mistranslation is that when translated into German, “trials” became “interrogation.” Although someone who is on trial may feel he or she is undergoing an interrogation, the two terms have different meanings in English. The German translation of the Fifth Amendment also makes “criminal case” into “painful case.” In the German translation of the Constitution, felonies are considered serious crimes, but in the Dutch version, they have been upgraded to “crimes worthy of death.” People who have committed a felony such as grand theft auto or the sale of illegal drugs, probably would not appreciate the Dutch translation. There are many other interesting translations. If you are interested, more information about the Dutch and German translations can be accessed here.
Those who got the translated versions of these dearly documents really could have used quality Dutch and German translators, people who really understood the meaning of words and who could accurately translate the words from one language to another without the loss of the word’s true purpose. Of course, at times that can be difficult since some words do not have literal translations from one language to another, a problem probably faced by the early translators of the Constitution. Although we were not around when the Constitution was written, luckily Teck Language Solutions is now available to help with your German translation needs. If you are in need of a German translator or a translator in a variety of other languages, contact us. We use only the most qualified native speakers as translators.