German translators may find they have to translate literally anything and everything. A lot of translation is quite straightforward but literary translation is a different kettle of fish, just to use an English saying which may be difficult to translate literally into any other language. Many proverbs are often difficult to translate literally into any other language because they are often quite old and their origin is buried in history. Many proverbs are culture-specific and may seem nonsensical when literally translated. Some examples of German proverbs are given below and their English translation is given. These English translations take into account the general meaning of the proverb rather than the literal meaning.
The basic conclusion from an analysis of proverb translation is that when selecting a German English translation service is to match it with the sort of translation service required. If you need marketing translation, then it will often involve idiomatic expressions which require cultural sensitivity to both languages and cultures. Legal document translation or technical translations will need translators who have specific expertise in those.
“Nur die Harten Kommen in den Garten” has the general meaning in English that “only the strongest will survive”, although that’s not exactly what the literal translation implies. The English meaning is often used itself, although is a bit outdated, like many sayings and proverbs!
“Kinder und Betrunkene sagen immer die Wahreit” in English is best translated as “Its difficult to find anyone who can tell you what is true”. This is another example of a proverb that cannot be literally translated and would come out as nonsense if it was put through a machine translator. The English meaning is not a saying used in English, even though it may be used as an expression infrequently. His is a good example of a culture-specific saying.
“Du gehst mir tierisch auf den keks” is a German expression r saying which is still quite common and contemporary. In English, it basically means “You drive me crazy”, which is also a commonly used expression in that language, although the two sayings are not exactly the same word for word. This is not so much a proverb as an example of an idiomatic expression. Literary texts, TV commentaries, and music are full of idiomatic expressions which are routinely translated by proficient translation services.