The German Language
German is a language that belongs to the group of Germanic languages. As opposed to French (Italic) and English (other Germanic), which are analytical languages, German is a synthetic language: it is so by its ease of forming diminutives and compound words indefinite; It is so by its declination, which makes it possible, in order to indicate the relations between words, to replace certain prepositions by the terminations of its four cases; It is especially so by the construction of its sentence, in which frequent displacements and obligatory rejections of the verb and particles make this whole sentence, giving it a meaning only when it is completed, as an immense compound word. This avoids the periphrasis so common in other languages, but hence also a certain lack of clarity and sometimes precision, but also, for those who use this language, a continual effort of attention, A singular discipline. It is the translation of a special mode of thinking and is also, in some way, the creator.
It is impossible to give here an abridgment, even a succinct one, of German grammar, which is very complicated. Suffice it to say that there are three genres: the masculine, the feminine, and the neutral, a continual source of error for foreigners. The declension, as has been said, comprises four cases: nominative, genitive, dative and accusative, which are distinguished by the termination. The verbs are strong (irregular) or weak (regular), the first producing metaphor. German is a strongly accented language; It is therefore of the greatest importance, when reading or speaking, to mark the tonic syllable well. All the words of Germanic origin are pronounced, accentuating the radical syllable; The words drawn from French have the accent on the last effective syllable.The German Language
The alphabet is the same as in French, except for the b, used in certain circumstances instead of the double s (a recent attempt to suppress this letter met with much resistance). In modern high German, the five vowels a, e, i (y), o, u, are pronounced as in the Italian language; The umlaut or the umlaut modifies the pronunciation of the vowels: ä (or ae) sounds like e in our mother word; Ö (or oe) as eu in fire; Ü (ue) as u in on; Ai and ei (or ey) as ai or as garlic in straw; At the pronounced aou; Eu and äu, as oï. C before e and i (y) acquires the sound of ts; Z has the same sound in all cases; G, always hard, pronounces like our g in guide; It is sometimes accompanied by a particular expiration to the Germanic languages; H is sucked before a vowel; Ch is about the equivalent of the Spanish jota; J is pronounced as a very hard i or as y in the English word yes: we roll the sound of r; V is our f; W is our v; Can be pronounced in three ways: (1) as in Latin, in combination if at the end of a syllable, or when this letter is double; (2) as z, before a vowel at the beginning of a word, or between two vowels; (3) as our ch at the beginning of words before some consonant, although in several parts of Germany it is pronounced as a s; Sch has the sound of our ch. By doubling a vowel, one lengthens the sound; Ie is an elongated one; H also lengthens a previous vowel.
Modern philology in Germany followed the first part of this program and rejected the second: the enthusiastic opinion which Klopstock expressed on the idiom of his country became a national dogma, and it was precisely this enthusiasm which sustained the forerunners Of German philology (Bopp, Grimm, Schmeller, Gabelentz, Loebe, Massmann, and so many others), when they sought to discover the origins of the Germanic language and stirred Laboriously all this dust.
A very curious result, which Grimm had not thought of, of this assimilation of the Getae and the Goths, is that the poet of the Metamorphoses, Ovid himself, would be the most ancient of the poets in the Germanic language. Exiled to the Getae, he had learned their language, and even the idea had come to him to rank among the singers whom these naive barbarian tribes listened with transports. One day he read to them a poem on Caesar, composed in the geographical language, and who knows whether the brilliant poet ever obtained such a success at Rome? When he had finished his reading, all the barbarians waved their heads, their quiver-loaded arrows, and a long murmur of approbation followed the last words of the poet (Pontius, letter XIII.).
Translating books into English is a very special activity of the translator, which can not be compared with any other branch of this multifaceted profession.German Translation
There is no greater challenge for a translator than the translation of a book from one language to another. It can not be compared with the translation of brochures and letters, operating instructions and advertising texts of any kind. Even a homepage is easier to translate than a book, because here the genre of literature flows into the work. That is why there is a unique title for the translation of books, and this is literary translation.
Whoever thinks the translator of books has a secure existence, is deceiving himself. Unfortunately, this special and very difficult work is not sufficiently rewarded. It is even the least paid translation work, for with no other kind of translation does its author deserve less than with this. It is a niche of the wide professional field that a translator can order. The book translator is highly praised, but he is still paid too badly for this great work.
If the money in the translation of books plays a rather subordinate role, what is the reason that translators translate into the English language at all? During his fascinating activity of translating a book, the translator practically lives in two worlds, which he tries to reconcile. He thinks and feels in two languages, which he must master from the ground up. The translator of a book into English is an individualist with a very special talent.