TalkLibraryThing in German

Join LibraryThing to post.


This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 5:21am

I haven't found any guidelines for the German translation (probably because there aren't any *g*), but translating is fun, so I made some up myself.

- I chose the informal "Du" over the formal "Sie", as I find the informal version fits much better to the community/family-like style of LibraryThing.

- In English, books are yours, in German they're mine! ;-) I've translated "Your library" etc. as "Meine Bibliothek", something I noticed on other community sites.

- Some common vocabulary I can remember from my recent translation-frenzy ;-) Just to maybe some day have consistency

library - Bibliothek
review - Rezension
rating - Bewertung
topic - Thema
message - Beitrag (sometimes Nachricht, don't know what's better)
tags - Tags
clouds - clouds (correct is "Wortwolke", but this word makes me feel sick ;-)

ps: sometime it seems to submit a translation, although I didn't change anything? And can I edit my previous submissions?

Anyway, I love LT more each day ;-)

Oct 1, 2006, 6:09am

German is now the most-translated LT-Language, enough for today ;-)

# German 50.9%
# French 50.1%

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 7:14am

...and right away we're in the middle of a discussion about translation...! :-)
Should we go for "cool" in translation or for "understandable"? "Tag" would be short, "cool", whereas "Stichwort" is..., well, German. But it would be immediately recognisable and understandable even for non-librarians coming to the site. "tag" is a word that the average German probably won't know right away (I myself learned it rather late).
For "clouds" I'd simply go for "Wolke": Stichwortwolke, Autorenwolke.
For review, we could also take the shorter, not as up-market "Kritik". "Rezension" smells of FAZ-Feuilleton ;-).

"Add books" = "Bücher eingeben/registrieren/hinzufügen"?

Oct 1, 2006, 6:55am

BTW, has there been an official announcement yet, Tim? I didn't get anything, yet.

Oct 1, 2006, 7:17am

Hi everyone.

Regarding the "cool" or "sachlich" translations: I think we should find something in between. While I don't like translations that reek of what they are, translations that is, I still think they should be translations that people who are not too familiar with the web-lingo can comprehend. "Tag" for example, is a word that people are not really familiar with if they are not members of any of the new web 2.0 services. "Schlagwort" on the other hand is clunky, but could give people a better idea of what they are dealing with.

It's a tricky issue, and I think we should decide on it on an individual basis. Fortunately, Tim has made it extremely easy to quickly revert translations to others.

Oct 1, 2006, 7:21am

No official announcement, just the general forum post ( and a one-sentence blog post. As said, this is just playing with translation—well, more than playing! The other parts of the effort are still coming.

Abby's writing up some basic guidelines. Of course, language to language they'll vary.

1. The tone should be informal but not patronizing or aimed at a teenager. In English too many sites will say "My profile" not "Your profile." I find that cloying. I prefer a site to be your favorite waiter at your favorite restaurant*, not pretending to be "inside your head." But my preferences in English don't necessarily translate into German or French.
2. The other problem with Meine Bibliothek is that this and a lot of the tabs—in French and German—are too long. They English ones were picked in part for their length. Now LT should *REALLY* have another go at the tabs and reduce their number. But a case could be made for "Profil" and "Bibliothek" instead.
3. The right word for tag is important, but not something I can guess at. Are Flickr,, etc. in German? Wikipedia is another good source, as the term used there has emerged from collaborative thinking.

Lastly, I'd be interested to know what people think of, a competitor of sorts in German. If they're better, I'd appreciate hearing *how* before you leave and never come back. They might also be good to look at for terms. But don't copy their terms slavishly. They look "young" and they're not getting much traffic, so maybe they aren't a good model.

*Sillies in Portland, although picking a favorite would be hard

Oct 1, 2006, 7:24am

On my vs. your in English, contrast "How do you take your coffee" (your favorite waiter) with "How are we feeling this morning?" (an overly chummy nurse about to do something painful to you) with "How is my tummy today?" (a mental patient who doesn't understand you and he are different people). German may not feel the same way.

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 1:59pm

Hey there :-)

I don't think "cool" precludes "understandable". The internet, especially in german, has developed it's own language ("googeln" is in the german standard dictionary!). We're right in the middle of web 2.0, so I'm all for having consistent vocabulary with the major community sites (flickr, ect).

Calling a Tag a Stichwort doesn't get the meaning 100%. It's just a tag, why not call it that way. And it's not that hard to comprehend, (or am I just that young *g*)? Somewhere there was a "what is a tag" link, maybe making that more prominent for newbies would be a good idea.

I'm all with you for Wolke, if you think that fits better. Although I really don't like the word as much ;-)

With "Kritik", I thought about it, but Kritik has a very negative connotation. I went with the Amazonish Rezension (cause that's what it is, isn't it?)

I also went with "hinzufügen", as your adding books to your list.

ps: I just had a look at, never heard of it before.

Some random things I noticed:
- they use an awfull lot of english ;-)
- they have a nice per book "am reading, have read, want to read" status thinggy
- they call a tag a tag

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 2:22pm

We will prob'ly have to juhu!/buh! the "tag" thing :-)
A thing to keep in mind: Stichwort is german library-speak, so people familiar with library catalogues will know this word and its implications.
I don't know how old you are, but if you're a student, then there can be a huge gap between your understanding of "web 2.0" and the general understanding of a non-IT, non-library person of about 40+. I am an IT trainer, and I see the gap that exists between the 18-25ish and the 40+ish people.
Apart from that, I think tag = Stichwort. It's the closest you will get in German. You can't say "Anhänger", can you ;-) ?
Cf. Kritik, you are right. Sounds a bit negative, perhaps. On the other hand, we have famous "Literaturkritiker" like Marcel Reich-Ranitzky.

Oct 1, 2006, 2:17pm

There's another word in there, "Subject" (in display style D), which is now "Thema" in German. That should be the library-specific "Schlagwort", or am I wrong on this? Can't have us confuse that with Stichwort/Tag/Ettikett ;).

ps: All I remember Marcel saying is "Mumpitz, alles Mumpitz" ;-)

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 2:22pm

msg 10 jones: Subject: Of course, you are right! It was me, I'll be heading over to change it to Schlagwort this minute.
I have totally screwed up the display styles, so I had to add the subject column to see what it is (I don't usually display it).

Oct 1, 2006, 2:21pm

I'd rather not use a library term of art for "tag." LibraryThing gets in trouble with librarians for that sort of thing already.

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 2:27pm

Schlagwort is indeed German library-speak - but it should be used for 'Subjects' instead of the now used 'Themen' (MARC fields 6xx)
In my opinion that leaves 'Tags' for 'Tags' ;-)

Edit: Took me more than five minutes to write that, getting it solved in the meantime. Ok...

Oct 1, 2006, 2:26pm

Tim, "a library term of art"? I am not sure I understand you there. All possible translations discussed so far are expressions used in german OPACs as well (just checked our local library).

Oct 1, 2006, 2:30pm

I'm with you regarding the "tag" issue. We should keep it.

What about "Talk"? Someone translated it to "Gespraeche", which led me to change it to "Gespräche", but only because I wanted to have a real Umlaut. I actually don't think changing the title of the forum-name is a good thing to do. The system was named "Talk" by Tim, so renaming it would be wrong, not least because I'm sure it's referenced by everyone as "Talk", not "place for talk".

Oct 1, 2006, 2:31pm

A term which a librarian might misunderstand as a library term. So, if LibraryThing were to call it's tags "subject headings," librarians in the US would go crazy: They're not subject headings; subject headings are decided by experts!

Oct 1, 2006, 2:35pm

The English is the imperative form. (I know, it's hard to see the difference between the noun and the verb in English, but I assure you I used all the right diacriticals.) What's the imperative?

I'm unsure if Talk should remain talk. Maybe. But I think I'd err on the side of "real" language, except where something like tag introduces issues of meaning. Then again, English *means* something different in other language contexts. I just don't feel like the Welsh or Turkish site should have to suffer it.

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 2:40pm

msg 16 Tim: Ah, I see. Well, I am not sure that it would create problems in the german language area. Stichwort (for Tag) is also used in theatre ("cue"), and everyday language: "help me out there" = "gib mir mal ein Stichwort". Where are the (german-language) librarians, when we need them? :-)
In my company, we actually use Schlagwort (subjects) in our document management software, and haven't had the Librarian's Association breathing down our neck, yet (well, we've been around 10 years and more).

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 2:41pm

lol, bureaucracy, don't you love it :-)

btw, #4078734948 is making problems, probably because of the html-tag in it

ps: when submitting this box here, I'm getting redirected to www instead of de. ;-)

Oct 1, 2006, 2:41pm

I think the tag question is solved by looking at Web 2.0 sites in Germany and/or translated into German. I think it's a big thing that Wikipedia's German version uses "tag" as its article title. also uses tag...

Oct 1, 2006, 2:42pm

4078734948. Oh God, don't cite those numbers! My head will turn to soup. Where is it and what does it say?

Oct 1, 2006, 2:47pm

oh, sorry ;-)
it's the instruction field over the textbox, explaining that you can use the b, i and a-html-tags.

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 3:00pm

*argh*, *bl**dy h*ll* LT just ate my message again! (and no, just hit submit after typing it up, nothring else, sorry, Tim)

msg 20 Tim:
the Wikipedia does not actually use Tag as an article heading (they link through to Wortwolke from tag cloud), although on the disambiguation (sp?) page, there is a reference to the english tag.
It is a philosophical question really. I am one of those people who actually took a hand book and threw out all those IT-gobbledygook-developer-speak words...- after all we are doing these things for the users.
But if the majority here votes for tag, I'll climb off me soapbox :-). But add a good explanation for tag then, please.

Oct 1, 2006, 3:03pm

there's a disussion about the lemma at wikipedia... *g*

Oct 1, 2006, 3:12pm

Lemma? *scratches head, heads for the encyclopedia*
Ah, o.K.!

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 3:44pm

I've worked my way through to the profile page, and found that there is no field to "translate" URL. This is a word that needs translating, from experience with groups in training classes I know that "Link" is somethink (make that something, this is not sarf London ;-) ), a lot/most people will understand, whereas "URL" is virtually unknown in Germany (we have it in our product too, and I have asked them to change it).
I'd vote for "LT-Links" here, "Link" is a word that has made its way into German.

Edited: Oct 1, 2006, 3:28pm

hm, must have already been voted away. I've seen that field, it was there...

Just wondering: is there a "not yet translated" page, with all words not yet, well, translated?

Oct 1, 2006, 4:00pm

I'd like to raise the my/your issue again. It seems to me the most consistent way to handle this is to follow the English version rather than start switching my to your or your to my. It's already inconsistent in places.


Oct 1, 2006, 4:02pm

"dein profil" etc sounds so strange to me in a software app. maybe that's another age-gap thing?

Oct 1, 2006, 5:20pm

1. I'll make URL translateable. You decide if it should be translated.
2. Remember that the "your" is semi-optional. After all, in English it's on library and profile, but not tags. Why? Because of length. "Profile" is probably good enough...

Oct 1, 2006, 5:23pm

I'm seeing URLs as something you can translate. Others?

Oct 1, 2006, 5:40pm

It's not on the translation page for the profile, I'm afraid... The page has "homepage" and other fields but not this one...

Oct 1, 2006, 5:42pm

Okay. I'll look into it later. On first look, it wasn't a problem. So it may be a deep problem requiring us to buy another server :)

Oct 1, 2006, 5:44pm

Mmmmm, more gigabyte *eg* (or should that be terabyte by now?)

Oct 1, 2006, 6:14pm

I think the whole db is about 10GB now. The real problem is the motion in the ocean, not the size.

Oct 6, 2006, 2:25pm

Am I the only one spotting a potential issue because "Tag" is German for "Day"?

Oct 6, 2006, 3:51pm

Ha, ha didn't even think about it. I guess I'm using too much English right now.

But I don't think it will be an issue, since the German "internet language", for e.g. buttons, is mainly English.


Oct 6, 2006, 8:22pm

Gutten"tag" everyone :)

Oct 7, 2006, 1:04pm

msg 38 Tim: Tach, Tim! (said with a broad northern German accent). ;-)

msg 36 Julia " But I don't think it will be an issue, since the German "internet language", for e.g. buttons, is mainly English."

Well, as I wrote somewhere else, I am writing handbooks for software, and I *mercilessly* kick out words for which a perfectly good german word exists. I get texts with sentences like "auf den Button klicken" and I change them to "Schaltfläche". The thing is, we are translating for the general public here, not for a technical savvy student audience (even though those may be a sizeable part of the audience). Even someone who has never heard the word Schaltfläche, will be immediately able to understand its components and deduct its meaning. Not so with "button", for this you need basic English.
Most "internet words" *can* be translated. It is also a question of style, I'd say. To me personally, a mixture of German text and English "buzz words" is more a signal of lazyness. The author didn't really think about what to write, and doesn't really care that much about language. I think that is not what we want LibraryThing to signal in the German version. Or am I totally wrong?
Is there a professional translator around here (any language)?

Oct 7, 2006, 3:27pm

I actually meant the text on buttons, like log in...

You can find "einloggen" as much as you can find "anmelden".

But I'm not sure if you're not trying to hard. Shouldn't it have the same look & feel like other German internet pages? Do you necessarily want to set it apart and translate everything into German? Because that can horribly backfire, IMHO.


Oct 7, 2006, 4:04pm

You are right, translating literally just lets the words and sentences sound like being translated from english. You even can imagine what the english sentence looked like. At all it does not sound prof. Just use the same words as other big D-A-CH (german, austrian, swiss) internet pages use (ps. they're already there).

Oct 7, 2006, 4:06pm

I'm not a professional translator but I have a PhD in linguistics with specialization in Germanic.

I understand your drive to use German where German is possible, and I think your reasoning is sound. Techie types sometimes forget to remember they are in the minority when it comes to bells, whistles and translations.

On the other hand, we have to just sit back and wait to see which English usages get adopted into German. Some will. There's no way to dictate language change. At least no effective way.

Oct 7, 2006, 4:32pm

On "button"... I have never seen the word "Schaltfläche" used in this context on any German site, but maybe I just didn't notice it. I think "button" has actually made its way into the language just as "einloggen", "ausloggen" and "Username". But I may be too used to working with the internet and seeing those expressions all the time to think that there are people who actually don't understand them...

By the way, great job everybody. I never thought this much would happen on this site while I was on vacation, internetless, for two weeks! Blows my mind.

Oct 7, 2006, 4:35pm

No, there is no need to translate everything into German. For example, the discussion about "tags" has shown that this is a concept that hasn't found an expression in German yet. So the best thing to do is to take the established English expression. Same with touchstones, probably. And "Website". But for other cases, such as "Account" or "Message", I would choose the German expressions, because these are well established.

I checked a few of the "text rich" pages just now and I think that the translation of LT has up to now navigated these shoals pretty well. It doesn't scream "translation!" at you (english grammar and vocabulary (false friends) shining through, too many untranslated expressions). It's also about the beauty of language, I think. This is probably going more and more towards a philosophical discussion of translation and translating :-).