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Germany Translation Style Guide

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Full name: Federal Republic of Germany. The full name is no longer obligatory in all contexts, as was the case before unification.

Official language: German.

Geography

Cities

Use the forms Cologne, Munich and Nuremberg. Otherwise, retain the original spelling, including any accents (e.g. Düsseldorf).

Rivers, lakes and other bodies of water

Use Mosel only if the context is solely Germany, otherwise use Moselle. Write Rhine for Rhein, Rhin, and Rijn. Use Lake Constance for Bodensee and write Wattenmeer.

Mountains

Anglicise the Alps. Do not anglicise Schwäbische Alb.

Regions

  • DEUTSCHLAND > GERMANY
  • Baden-Württemberg > Baden-Württemberg
    • Stuttgart > Stuttgart
    • Karlsruhe > Karlsruhe
    • Freiburg > Freiburg
    • Tübingen > Tübingen
  • Bayern > Bavaria*
    • Oberbayern > Upper Bavaria
    • Niederbayern > Lower Bavaria
    • Oberpfalz > Oberpfalz
    • Oberfranken > Oberfranken
    • Mittelfranken > Mittelfranken
    • Unterfranken > Unterfranken
    • Schwaben > Swabia
  • Berlin > Berlin
  • Brandenburg > Brandenburg
    • Brandenburg-Nordost > North-East Brandenburg
    • Brandenburg-Südwest > South-West Brandenburg
  • Bremen > Bremen*
  • Hamburg > Hamburg*
  • Hessen > Hessen
    • Darmstadt > Darmstadt
    • Gießen > Giessen
    • Kassel > Kassel
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern > Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Niedersachsen > Lower Saxony
    • Braunschweig > Braunschweig
    • Hannover > Hannover
    • Lüneburg > Lüneburg
    • Weser-Ems > Weser-Ems
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen > North Rhine-Westphalia
    • Düsseldorf > Düsseldorf
    • Köln > Cologne
    • Münster > Münster
    • Detmold > Detmold
    • Arnsberg > Arnsberg
  • Rheinland-Pfalz > Rhineland-Palatinate
    • Koblenz > Koblenz
    • Trier > Trier
    • Rheinhessen-Pfalz > Rheinhessen-Pfalz
  • Saarland > Saarland
  • Sachsen > Saxony*
    • Chemnitz > Chemnitz
    • Dresden > Dresden
    • Leipzig > Leipzig
  • Sachsen-Anhalt > Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein > Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thüringen > Thuringia

Anglicise traditional geographical names if the English has wide currency, e.g. the Black Forest, the Ruhr. Otherwise retain original spelling and accents.

*There is generally no need to use any longer form of the name of this state in a translation.

Judicial bodies

  • Amtsgericht > Local Court
  • Arbeitsgericht > Labour Court
  • Bundesarbeitsgericht > Federal Labour Court
  • Bundesfinanzhof > Federal Fiscal Court
  • Bundesgerichtshof > Federal Court of Justice
  • Bundespatentgericht > Federal Patent Court (rather than Federal Patents Court)
  • Bundessozialgericht > Federal Social Court
  • Bundesverfassungsgericht > Federal Constitutional Court
  • Bundesverwaltungsgericht > Federal Administrative Court
  • Finanzgericht > Fiscal Court
  • Landesarbeitsgericht > Higher Labour Court
  • Landessozialgericht > Higher Social Court
  • Landgericht > Regional Court
  • Oberlandesgericht > Higher Regional Court
  • Oberverwaltungsgericht (= Verwaltungsgerichtshof)* > Higher Administrative Court
  • Sozialgericht > Social Court
  • Verwaltungsgericht > Administrative Court
  • Verwaltungsgerichtshof (= Oberverwaltungsgericht)* > Higher Administrative Court

* Each Land has an Oberverwaltungsgericht, except Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria und Hessen, each of which has a Verwaltungsgerichtshof.

Legal instruments

  • Beschluss des Bundesrates > decision of the Bundesrat
  • Bundesgesetz > federal act/federal law
  • Durchführungsverordnung > implementing regulation(s)
  • Gesetz > act/law
  • Grundgesetz > Basic Law
  • (Rechts)bestimmungen > provisions (of law)/legislation/laws
  • (Rechts)verordnung > regulation
  • (Rechts)vorschrift > (legal) provision/provision (of law)
  • (Rechts)vorschriften > provisions (of law)/legislation/laws
  • Rundschreiben > circular

For English translations of German acts see German Law Archive and the BMJ website Gesetze im Internet. For English translations of Decisions of the Bundesrat see Translations of Bundesrat resolutions.

Government bodies and administrative divisions

  • Amt, Ämter > Translate as ‘authority’ (‘authorities’). This is a grouping of Gemeinden at a lower level than a Kreis.
  • Bezirk > As part of a town or city, translate as ‘borough’; as an abbreviation of Regierungsbezirk, see below. In references to former East Germany, do not translate, as the term does not equate to any unit in West Germany, let alone other European countries.
  • Bundesland, Bundesländer > See Land, Länder below.
  • Bundesrat > Write ‘Bundesrat’. Where a gloss is considered necessary, add ‘Upper House of Parliament’ in brackets after the first occurrence.
  • Bundestag > Write ‘Bundestag’. Where a gloss is considered necessary, add ‘Lower House of Parliament’ in brackets after the first occurrence.
  • Gemeinde > Translate as ‘municipality’.
  • Gemeindeverband > Translate as ‘municipal association’.
  • Kreis > Translate as ‘district’.
  • Kreisfreie Stadt > As this is exactly the same level as a Stadtkreis, the translation ‘urban district’ will generally be satisfactory. Should it be necessary to distinguish between this term and a Stadtkreis, use ‘town constituting a district in its own right’.
  • Land, Länder > Translate as ‘federal state(s)’, adding ‘German’ if necessary for clarity, or leave the terms in German.
  • Landkreis > Translate as ‘rural district’.
  • Regierungsbezirk/ Bezirksregierung > If you translate these terms, use ‘government region/regional government’ not ‘government district/district government’, so as not to cause confusion with Kreis.
    Stadtkreis > Translate as ‘urban district’.

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