0 Coppins German-English Dictionary

On this page I plan on posting my developing attempts to think through the meaning of some German words and phrases that I encounter while translating. Special thanks to Christoph Heilig for giving me a sharper grasp of many of these terms. All blunders obviously remain my own.

Tip 1: just use the search function of my blog to see if I have included a given word in it and the dictionary will show up if I have

Tip 2: Watch out for “false friends“!

Biblical names: See Loccumer Vereinbarung. Cf here and here.

aber auch: this phrase strengthens the point being made; it does not have adversative force (at least not in some cases). Also German often uses “aber” before negativum-positivum-relations, whereas English seems to use “and” in such cases and reserve “but” for contrasts.

We often use “aber” vor negativum-positivum-relations

Abkürzung: I am generally translating Abürzung as “abbreviation” and Kürzung as “shortening” or the like.

Abba-ruf: see Gebetsruf.

abheben: see German is Easy Blog.

abnehmen: in the expression “dass Lukas geglaubt hat, seine Leser würden ihm abnehmen”, the idiom “würde ihm abnehmen” seems to mean something like “to buy sth. from sb.” = to believe a story. It might work to translate this idiom with something like “that Luke thought that his readers would believe…” or: “that Luke thought his readers would accept the idea that Jesus…”

Abrackern seems to mean something like “hard work that leads to exhaustion”; “toil” might work as a translation.

Achtergewicht: Not sure how best to translate this term. I think that it sometimes means “end-stress.” But I think the force is sometimes something more like “main stress”.

Achzehnbittengebet: this can be translated with “Eighteen Benedictions” or with Shemoneh Ezreh (or Shmoneh Esreh) or with the Amidah, depending on what emphasis one wishes to make.

Admirationsmotif: I’ve struggled with this technical term for which there does not seem to be a standard translation. It might be possible to retain “admiration motif”, but “motif of wonder” is probably the best solution (see Francis McDonagh’s translation of the Miracle Stories of the Early Christian Tradition, p. 69: “The motif of wonder comprises all the narrative elements which express astonishment, fear, terror, and amazement”).

Akoluthie: not sure how to translate this word; Wolter seems to use it to mean something like “sequence” or “order”, e.g. Lukas orientiert sich nun wieder an der Markus-Akoluthie und… (Lukasevangelium, 200). It seems like scholars may sometimes use the term akoluthia or Akoluthia, but that this is not very common (see e.g. here and here). “order” might be the best option?

Aktualisierung – this seems related to Aktuell – so that – at last in some cases – the meaning relates to making current, updating, or upgrading rather than actualizing in the sense of realizing (see here). More recently, I have come to think that “contemporization” might be a workable solution for the noun and “contemporize”/”contemporized” for the verb. Cf. the following references, which might be relevant (here; here; here; here.)

allein aus diesem Grunde: “only because” or “already because” might be a workable solution for this phrase, but I haven’t really found anything that really captures it, i.e., that conveys that the point in question is settled by the reason mentioned on its own without even needing further arguments. Cf. schon allein below.

allererst: this is an intensification of “only”.

an: I have not found an adequate solution for the translation this word (e.g., Heilshandeln an Israel); I usually opt for “toward”, which isn’t adequate, but “on” doesn’t seem to work and I can’t think of anything that works better.

anklingen: can mean (a) to be reminiscent of, (b) to be touched upon, or (b) to be discernible.

annehmen: “sich jds. [gen.!] annehmen” is NOT the same as “jdn, [acc.] annehmen” which is roughly equivalent to “jdn. Aufnehmen” = “to receive sb.” Instead it means something like “befriend”. See here.

Ansatz: It seems like I often translate this with “approach” or “conception” but on at least one occasion I translated it with “starting point” (cf. ansetzen an etwas)

Anschluss: This means something like “connection”. In some contexts it can mean “pronoun”, e.g., Der relativische Anschluss.

Appellstruktur: Zimmermann, Puzzling, 147, regards this as the German equivalent for “appeal dimension”.

artifiziell: artificial (in some contexts, “contrived” might be better?)

“jdm. Etw. attestieren” = “sagen, dass jmd. Etw. hat”.

Auch nur: this can have the force of simply

“auch deshalb” (also for the reason that) means that this adds another reason why something is …

Auch sonst = this often means something like “in other places as well”, “also … elsewhere”

auch wenn: the correct translation is often “even though” rather than “even if” (see here)

“aufbereiten” means sth. like “to process sth.” but – just like vorbereiten – with a focus on the result being preparatory for sth. (see here). So “to prepare” might still be the best translation – although the focus is more on the process itself than with “vorbereiten”. Actually, “to prepare” might be quite good in that regard (“to prepare a meal”). The two aspects seem to be expressed by the same verb in English?

aufbegehren: this verb is often used for those in subordinate classes, so that “revolt” is often captures the sense, though in some cases “protest” or “struggle for predominance” might be better?

auf der Stelle treten: hard to translate: “does not make any progress” is perhaps the best option.

Auferstehung (intransitive: resurrection, rise); Auferweckung (transitive; resurrection; raising).

aufgehen: nicht aufgehen:

aufheben/Aufhebung: never quite sure how to translate this loaded word. I usually go with “nullify”/”nullification”. Other options like “abrogation” and “cancellation” might also work? Since Aufhebung can have the nuance of making something ineffective without actually destroying it, nullify might be better than abrogate? In Hegel, it can have the double sense of “to cancel or abolish” and “to preserve or maintain”, while also meaning “to raise up”. See further here and here.

auflegen: see discussion of this and related words at “German is Easy“.

aufs schärfste: in the strongest terms

Auftakt: Haven’t found a great solution. “opening” might be the best option. “kickoff” might be a bit more precise but perhaps too colloquial. Not sure if “prelude” is on target. “start” might work.

Auftreten: in From Jesus to the New Testament, I believe that I usually translated this term with “appearance”, but during the translation of Jesus of Nazareth I moved away from this translation since it sometimes conveyed the false impression that the concern was with Jesus’s physical appearance. Even though it is not perfect, I am increasingly using “activity” and some variation of this for the verb. In some cases “entrance” might work for Auftreten (?).

auktorial: although this is a technical term (see here), it seems that the equivalent English technical term is nevertheless “authorial” (see here).

“aus X heraus kommt es zu Y” means that X is the “origin” but that Y does not really remain within X. Perhaps “out of” is a good translation or perhaps something with develops?

ausblenden: I have struggled to find a good solution for this word. Sometimes I have used “blend out” but this solution seems rather unsatisfactory. David Lincicum suggested “bracket out” for a certain sentence, and I have subsequently adopted this solution on multiple occasions.

Ausbreitungsnotiz: I have been translating this with “dissemination notice”, which could probably be improved upon. Thus far, I haven’t stumbled upon a standard translation for this form critical term. It looks to me like Theissen expresses the same concept with Ausbreitung des Rufes, which John Bowden translates with Spread of the news.

Auf der Ausdrucksebene des Textes: I have translated this with “on the level of expression of the text”, but it is probably preferable to adopt a solution such as “on the surface of the text”.

“Aussagewort”, which contains a statement, can be distinguished from “Mahnwort”, which contains an admonition.

Ausgangssituation: For the sake of readability, I have been translating this term with “starting situation”, though “situation of departure” would perhaps be more precise.

ausgehen: see German is Easy Blog.

Ausrüstungsanweisung: instructions on equipment, equipment instructions, and instructions for equipment all seem to be solutions that scholars have adopted. See here.

Ausrüstungsregel: equipment rule (see here)

Außer sich geraten. This seems to be a rather strong expression. See here and here.

Sich äußern in: not sure what the best translation for this idiom is – perhaps “can be seen in”? or “manifest themselves in”?

aussetzen. This verb has a lot of meanings (see here/here).  It can, among other things, mean that sth., e.g. a regulation, is generally in effect but that there is then an exception. I.e. “das Gesetz zur Steuerhinterziehung wurde in den Jahren 2000-2003 ausgesetzt” (meaning that it was in effect before and after). “suspend” might work for this usage?

austauschen = change or switch (the prefix “aus-” conveys the reciprocal aspect, i.e., X for Y and Y for X, or simply the element of change, i.e., X where Y was formerly); the sense is not removal but replacement. synonymous with auswechseln.

auswechseln: see austauschen.

austragen: in some contexts, I think that this word can have the force of “settle”, e.g., “settle differences”. See further here.

auszugehen ist davon, dass: the force seems to be “one can assume that”. I think “one can start from the assumption” or “one can proceed from the assumption” would also work.

beachten: See German is Easy Blog

sich für etw. bedienen + bei (usually)/ in (sometimes): “use” or “employ” is probably a workable solution. The image of “helping oneself” in a restaurant gives a sense of what is being conveyed.

bedienen: tough word. for example “ein Vorurteil bedienen” means that you “make use of it” in a sense but there is a sense in which you do what the Vorurteil requires of you. Not sure what the best option for translation is: takes into account, does justice to, attends to, serves, actuates, something else????

bedingen einander: in some cases I think that “are interdependent” might capture this phrase well, i.e. rather than are contingent on each other (or the like).

Befund= the sum of a variety of findings, so in many cases it may be better to translate it with “findings” rather than “finding”. It may also work to use “evidence” for some contexts.

Begriff/Begriffe: This is probably my least favorite German word. It seems to me that it often hovers between “word/term” and “concept”, which creates problems when it needs to be translated. For my part, I think it would be more precise and therefore preferable if German authors would write “Wort” when they mean “word/term” and “Konzept” when they mean “concept” (cf. James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language, p. 210-211). In my translation of Jens Schröter’s book From Jesus to the New Testament, I think I tended to translate it as “concept”, whereas I am translating it mostly as “word” or “term” in Christoph Markschies’ book Christian Theology and its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire. See further here.

Begriffspaar: with a certain level of uncertainty, I have started translating this word with “lexical pair“.

Begründung – this is a tough word to translate. Sometimes “justification” or “explanation” works, but I often use “grounds”, “grounding”, or “grounding explanation”.

Begründungszusammenhang: for Wolter this is a technical term that means “context of justification”. It comes from Hans Reichenbach, who is American: “context of discovery”, “context of justification” (see here)

Beiname: not sure how to capture this. The intended meaning is often something different than “surname” and “epithet” also doesn’t seem to fit many uses.  “byname” may be the best option for some uses, even if it is also not exactly on target. [If Matthew Novenson is correct (see here) we might be dealing with an honorific rather than a title or a name in the case of “Christ”, though this would only be the correct translation for Beiname if the German author shared Novenson’s understanding.]

bereiten: sometimes means “prepare” but it can also have many other meanings and a translation with “prepare” does not always work. See here.

bereits weil: I have not found a good solution to this phrase: “already because” may be too opaque in English. “if only” has been suggested to me as a solution and perhaps this would work, though I am not convinced. And I don’t really think “simply because” works. The sense is the same as comparative expressions such as schon darum and schon allein, i.e., even on the ground of x alone.”

die Besprochene Welt: Michael Wolter often uses this phrase. I am translating it with “the world under discussion” (“the world referred to” would be another option). It goes back to the title of a book by Harald Weinrich, namely Tempus. Besprochene und erzählte Welt.

Bildfeld: I suspect that it might sometimes be best to translate this term with “image field” or “picture field”, but on at least one occasion I found that “imagery” was preferable. Ruben Zimmermann, Puzzling, 202, suggests that the term “stock metaphor” comes quite close to the meaning of Bildfeld, for which there does not seem to be a precise translation in English. But alongside this usage, he seems to also use the phrase “image field” (p. 203).

Bildfeldtradition: Ruben Zimmermann, Puzzling, translates this as “tradition of the imagery” (17) or “the tradition of this imagery” (202). Elsewhere he places Bildfeldtradition(en) in parentheses after “stock metaphors” (29) and after “traditional background” (224).

Bildwort: I was rendering this with “picture word” but I am now using “parabolic saying”.  Ruben Zimmermann, Puzzling, renders it with “figure(s)” (106, 107) and figurative saying (108).

“bevorzugte Verwendung” seems to mean: quite often used in this context (i.e. “bevorzugt” over other lexical choices) rather than indicating that most occurrences of the verb are found in this context.

bildspendende Metaphor: In the context of metaphor theory I think this is sometimes equivalent to source domain

Binsenweisheit: not sure how to best translate “ist … eine Binsenweisheit”. I think that “is a commonplace”, “is a truism”, or “is common knowledge” would all work, depending on the context.

birgt/bergen: this just means “contains” (beinhaltet) and not “conceals” (= verbirgt/verbergen).

bis auf: this means “with the exception of”, “save for” etc. See further here.

bis einschließlich: tough one. Rather than up to and including, “through” might be better in many cases.

blühende Fantasie: I struggled with this phrase. It is usually used with children, it emphasizes not only that the issue in question does not belong to reality but also that it takes quite a lot of imagination to come up with such ideas. I considered “vivid imagination” but imagination might not be pejorative enough for the way my author was using the term, so I decided on “vivid fantasy” instead. Cf. here.

blüht: was ihm Blüht (Wolter 202): struggled with this phrase, but settled on “what he is in for”, which is hopefully on target. etwas blüht jemandem is a rather informal expression. See here.

Bogen schlagen: idiom – see here and here. I considered “make/forge an arc” but ended up going with “make a bridge”.

bringen: This seems to sometimes have the force of “bring in”. You can “bring” sth. for the first time (i.e. introduce) and you can bring it several times later (not “introduce”). Musicians, for example, “bringen” songs in their performances, i.e. this refers to those elements that are featured. “to feature” might actually be quite a good translation in some cases.

Jdn. Um etw. Bringen = jdm. Etw. Wegnehmen

bzw. = this can be like our “exclusive or” or like our “inclusive or”. When it is inclusive or, it is probably better to translate it with “and”. I like red or blue = I like red and blue. I think oder might be used only for “exclusive or”.

Clusterbildung: formation of clusters or cluster formation might work but might be too cumbersome. Clustering could work better.

Darum auch -> and, hence

Daseinsgewissheit: I think “existential assurance” is a workable translation.

des (old German) = dessen; wes = wessen

Damit: I sometimes leave this word untranslated. It sometimes works to use “with this”. I increasingly find myself translating it with “in this way”.

darum auch: paraphrased this means: “it’s because of this that x does y”

Deutung geben: this has the nuance of attributing a specific meaning to something, so the translation might be something like “give meaning to” or “assign meaning to”. “give an interpretation” to might work.

Devise: einprägsamer Wahlspruch, Leitspruch = slogan, motto (?)

dezent: subtle, subdued, quiet, understated, discreet, unostentatious (decent seems to be a false friend).

Dichtung: a bit slippery (see here).

dieselbe: “the same” (not this same)

Differenz: “differences” is probably better than “difference”, at least in some cases. In short, the plural might be better in some cases, since Differenz can be used like Verschiedenheit, i.e. to speak of the fact of being different, which is expressed by many differences. Indeed, “Differenz” and “difference”  could even count as false friend in a certain sense…

differenziert: not sure how to translate this term. “nuanced” often seems to be a good solution. Sometimes the force is something like “careful”. Not sure how well “differentiated” really works. See further at dict.cc and Linguee

Dihäretisch: via diairesis. This seems to be a technical term referring to the division of the genus into complementary parts. See here. It seems to be the opposite of antithetical. see here.

dito: this Latin word means “same as previous”.

doch: “after all” sometimes works. “however” sometimes works. See further here.

Doppelbildworte: I think I have rendered this with “double parabolic sayings”, but Zimmermann, Puzzing, 186, gives “Doppelbildworte” as the German equivalent for “Double metaphors”.

Dramatik: drama may be something of a false friend. “tension” is probably a good solution. See here.

Drohwort: it seems that various solutions have been adopted for the translation of this technical term, e.g. “threat”, “threat discourse”, “threatening-speech”, “threat of judgment”, “contingent judgment” etc. (see here).

durchaus: I use lots of terms to capture the force of this word, e.g. indeed, quite, certainly, definitely, at all etc.

Dutzend mal means “a dozen times”, mehrere Dutzend mal means “several dozen times”

eben: See German is Easy Blog (here and here)

ein/einIn German, there is a need to distinguish between the indefinite article (ein, eine, ein) and the numeral “one”, since the form is the same. Thus, italics are used to indicate that the numeral is meant.

einigermaßen zuverlässig ausgeschlossen werden: I think “fairly safely excluded” probably captures the force of this phrase.

einiges spricht für: “quite a bit speaks for” is a solution I have often adopted, but it might be better to adopt a more fluid solution such as “there is considerable support for”.

einkommen, hineinkommen, das Einkommen, die Einkünfte: see German is Easy.

einsetzen: this verb can mean “insert” but it often seems to have the force of “supply” (e.g. if one were a stickler, one would have to supply x).

entschwinden: I am not sure if there is a significant difference in meaning between “entschwinden” and “verschwinden”. For now, at least, I am translating the former as “vanish” and the latter as “disappear”

Entwurf: I spent such a long time trying to find a workable solution for this word. It is often translated with “outline” I don’t think this is a good solution for many of the sentences where I find it. In the usage that I encounter, “conception” is often a good solution. “concept” can also be good, but I think “conception” is usually better. Most recently, I encountered the translation “scheme,” which I think might work for some uses of the noun. I often translate the verb entwerfen with “set forth”.

Erleichterung: This word usually means “relief” (psychological). It can also designate the thing that makes something easier and thus results in “Erleichterung”. Wolter uses in the context of textual criticism, i.e. with regard to making a reading easier. In one case I paraphrased it in relatino to the context of his usage with “to readings that alleviate this problem.” In the context of textual criticism, the best solution in some cases may be to translate it with “an attempt to make the text easier.”

sich erschliessen: I struggle to translate this verb – I have often used “open up” or “disclose” or “to be revealed to” (see further here). In some cases the force seems to be something like “can be understood on the basis of”.

erwarten: etw. von jemandem erwarten = to expect something of someone, i.e., “von” = “of someone” not “by someone” in this construction.

Es ist nicht zu übersehen: “it is unmistakable”; this construction means that one cannot overlook something because it is so obvious rather than that one should not overlook something.

Es sei daran erinnert: “it should be recalled”. Literally: it should be reminded (i.e. somebody should remind us of this – and I’m doing this hereby.

Etw. Denken als = die Art und Weise, wie man sich etw. vorstellt = the way in which one understands/imagines something.

etwa: very hard to capture; nicht etwa often has the force of “not as one might think”. It might work to express such sentences by writing: It is not the case that…

Einholung – this is a technical term used by Erik Peterson; it means something like “official reception”.

einhergehen mit: this expression has a similar meaning to gekennzeichnet durch (characterized by) though the latter phrase is stronger. I have sometimes translated it with “accompanied by” but “characterized by” might be better.

Eingreifen: I’ve not found a good solution for this term. I usually use “intervention” or something like “breaking in” etc.

einzeichnen in: difficult phrase. The imagery is of an existing picture into which the figure of John is painted or sketched (Germans »paint« with a brush and »sketch« with a pencil). The best translation might be “written in”, “sketched in”, or “painted in”. Might depend on the context.

eher: tough word. Depending on the context I adopt a range of solutions including “rather”, “sooner”, “more likely” etc.

Entwurf/entwerfen: Jens Schröter often uses this noun/verb, which I experienced great difficulty translating. I ended up settling on “conception” for the noun. For the verb, I usually used “set forth”. I considered using “construct” for the verb but I did not want to give a false impression of Schröter’s use of “construct-language”, since he consciously limits his use of the expressions “constructivism” and “construction of history” (FJNT, p. 1).

Enzyklopädie: The German term Enzyklopädie is a metaphor for the complete background to which someone has access. I have adopted translations such as “background knowledge” or “general knowledge”, and considered including the German term in parentheses. “cultural encyclopedia” might also be an option.

Erbarmen: I have been translating Erbarmen as “mercy” and Mitleid as “compassion” .

Ergehen: see Tun/Ergehen

Erkenntniszusammenhang: this should perhaps be translated with “context of recognition”.

erste Hilfe = first aid

eschatisch vs. eschatologisch: In his Paul book and Luke commentary, Michael Wolter uses “eschatisch/eschatic” to signify end-time events and conditions (that is, the so-called “last things”; cf. Härle, Dogmatik, 605 n. 8) and “eschatologisch/eschatological) for matters that concern speaking or thinking about the last things. This distinction is parallel to the distinction between “Ägyptisch/Egyptian” and “ägyptologisch/Egyptological”, “ontisch/ontic” and “ontologisch/ontological”, “existentiell/existential” and “existential/existentialogical” etc.

erst: very tricky to translate. In some cases, “only” is a good solution. “in the first place” can also work. I sometimes use “first”, which may or may not work. For German synonyms that reflect the range of usage, see here.

Es ist das: This syntax can be equivalent to Das ist …

Es geht um: see here.

etwa: “nicht etwa” is difficult to translate – the “etwa” refers to an alternative that would stand to reason. Perhaps “and not” might work?

etwaigen: not at all sure how to translate this term. The normal translations seem to be “any” or “possible”, but in some contexts it seems like the intended force can perhaps be more negative, such as “putative” or “supposed”.

eschatisch: In his Paul book and Luke commentary, Michael Wolter uses “eschatisch/eschatic” to signify end-time events and conditions (that is, the so-called “last things”; cf. Härle, Dogmatik, 605 n. 8) and “eschatologisch/eschatological) for matters that concern speaking or thinking about the last things. This distinction is parallel to the distinction between “Ägyptisch/Egyptian” and “ägyptologisch/Egyptological”, “ontisch/ontic” and “ontologisch/ontological”. For the translation of existentiell and existential, see below.

existentiell (= existential) and existential (= existentialist): I was initially convinced that it would be good to translate existentiell with existential and existential with existentiological (following Wolter’s distinction between eschatisch and eschatologisch), but David Congdon informed me via a facebook exchange that he would “dispute the comparison to the existentiell/existential distinction” on the grounds that “the latter is not a first-order/second-order distinction but rather a theological/phenomenological or personal/general distinction” and has explained that against this backdrop he thinks it is preferable to retain the standard translation for the two terms, i.e. “existential” for existentiell and “existentialist” for existential.

Exponent: the force is something like “outstanding representative”.

fälschen: see under verfälschen.

fester Bestandteil: an integral component; see further here.

Feststellung: I find this to be a very difficult word to translate. Sometimes it seems best to use “statement”, while at other times “observation” or “establishment” seems better, though I am not sure the last of these is a viable option. Part of the difficulty seems to be that the word can be used to designate “the act of observation” (e.g. eine Krankheit feststellen means the analysis by the doctor, not the act of his telling the patient what his problem is  – although this is of course implied) and the statement of an observation (e.g. Während des TV-Duells stellte X fest, dass Y während seiner Regierungszeit versagt hatte means that X stated his observation in the debate and not that he came to a recognition only during the debate).

fiktional and fiktiv: English “fictional” is usually used to translate both “fiktional” and “fiktiv”, but the two words mean very different things. The letter that Harry Potter receives from Hogwarts is fictional (=fiktiv), because it’s part of the narrated world of a fictional (=fiktional) work. But Rowling’s book itself is NOT “fiktiv” – I have it here on my desk! So the only “fiktive Paulusbrief” in the NT could be the letter mentioned in Col 4:16 (assuming that Colossians is “fiktional”).

Figurenrzählung: difficult term. “narration of a character” is probably a workable solution. Michael Wolter explained the term to me via Acts 10-11. In chapter 10 it is Luke who narrates the conversion of Cornelius (“authorial narrative”), whereas in chapter 11 it is Peter who gives a report of the same events, i.e. Luke narrates that Peter narrates a story (narration of a character/Figurenerzählung). In other words, a Figurenerzählung is this narrative narrated by a character.

Folge: this word has other meanings beyond “consequence”, e.g., it can also mean “episode” (cf. here and here).

Formulierung: I have been accustomed to translate this word with “formulation”, but “phrasing(s)” has been suggested to me, and this option might be better.

fortgehen: this means “go away” or depart (“go forth” is a false friend).

Fortschreibung: this is a difficult term to translate. I’d prefer to just keep the German, but it is probably necessary to translate it. Options include “updating,” “actualization,” “updating and revision,” etc. See e.g. here and here.

Frontstellung: options include: opposition, hostility, confrontation, confrontational stance…

ganz: tricky for me (and I suspect most people who are not native speakers). For the most part, it seems like it (usually?) has the force of  “completely” (or “very”) when it modifies an adjective that is followed by a substantive (e.g. ein ganz großes Haus = a very big house), but that it (usually?) has the weakening force of “quite” when it modifies an adjective that is not followed by a substantive (e.g. ganz gut = quite good but not very good). For further discussion of the force of ganz that complicates this rule of thumb outlined, see here.

“gedanklich nachvollziehen”: The verb means a mental act of understanding something in the sequential way in which it occurred. A person could “gedanklich nachvollziehen” how you built a car, for example.

Gefälle: slope – in some cases it may be preferable to adopt a less figurative translation and use “orientation” or the like.

Gattung: this is a tough one. I usually just translate it with “genre”. Still, a better solution would probably be to follow E.P. Sanders practice of using “genre” when it is used in relation to big genres like “Gospel” and Gattung when it is being used in relation to smaller genres like “controversy dialogue” (see here – Sanders’s practice is discussed on page 14). Although I think this approach probably makes more sense, it is clear to me that the retention of German terms in English writings is not so popular as it was in the heyday of German scholarship and therefore the translator is more likely to get push-back for retaining German terms. Hence, I have decided to translate it with genre in both cases.

Gebetsruf – this term is sometimes used in relation to the use of Abba in the letters of Paul. Since it involves a reference to the use of κράζομεν in Romans 8.15, it is probably desirable to use the term “cry” and translate this expression with prayer-cry or the like, as is also the case for Abba-ruf / Abba-cry.

gegebenenfalls: often difficult, “where appropriate”, “if need be”, “sometimes” etc.

das Gegenüber: tough phrase; I have struggled between “the opposition of”, “the contrast with” and “the juxaposition of”. I think the “the opposition of” is usually best. Sometimes “the other” may be preferable.

sich gegenüber stehen: This is not a purely neural description but already charged somewhat negatively. Not sure how to translate it. “to face each other”? “to stand over against each other”.

gegenüberstellen: options include “set over against”, “oppose”, “contrast with”, “juxtapose”. I think the first two options are usually preferable, reserving “juxtapose” for “nebeneinanderstellen” and the like.

Gefüge: I usually translate this word with “structure” but in the compound Erzählgefüges it might be better to use something like narrative construct (or the like) since the focus here is on the fact that it is composed of different units of the same kind.

geht ins Leere: “goes off into empty space” might work as a translation. This expression is used to say that there there is nothing something refers to, nothing it could “stick” to, it’s like hitting only air (1 Cor 9,26) -> in other words: it remains ineffective. An idiomatic translation might be “comes to nothing”.

Etw. geht jemandem ab = er verpasst etwas/versteht etwas nicht richtig

Gelassenheit: I’ve struggled to find a good solution; options include relaxedness and lack of anxiety, depending on the context.

Gegenüberstellungen: I have also used “juxapositions” for this word; “comparisons” might be better in some contexts?

Genus: in the context of talking about verbs, this seems to mean “voice”. See further here.

gerade: See German is Easy Blog (here and here)

Geschehen: “events” is probably the best solution (depending on the context)

gespreizt: This seems to mean something like “in a stilted manner” {= gestelzt -> Adjektiv – [in der Ausdrucksweise] geziert und unnatürlichgespreizt=gestelzt}

gerade: in addition to its other meanings (cf. here), this word can sometimes have a temporal meaning, i.e., currently, just now.

In ihrer gesamtheit: this means something like “taken altogether”

gezielt: this word is used to indicate that something is not random; “conscious” might work. Not sure if “intentional” would work. “targeted” is probably too strong.

Geschäft: “business” is often a good translation, but TML suggested “task” for a certain example, and I have found this to be a good fit for others since then.

Geschichte: This word can mean “history” or “story”. I sometimes use (hi)story when it seems like both meanings could be in view or when the meaning seems unclear to me. See further here. As a rough rule, it may work to ask whether “Geschichte” could be replaced with “narrative”: if it can, then “story” is probably the best option.

Gesichtspunkt(e): this term means something like “aspect(s)” or “point(s)”; the force is probably not captured well with “perspective(s)”.

gestalten: I often use “shape” for this verb, though sometimes “configure” or “form”.

Gewichtung: I had been translating this word as “weighting” but prompted by Jay Thomas Hewitt, I have started translating it with “emphasis”, which seems to work well since the focus is on the result of the Gewichtung.

glänzend. This word can have lots of different nuances. In connection with performance (e.g. school context etc.)  it seems almost interchangeable with “exzellent”.

gleich = as it is and not differently; it may work to translate it as “even” in some cases?

Gliederung: I think “structure” usually works best, though “outline” is preferable in some cases.

Gliederungseinschnitt: structuring division might work; using caesura for Einschnitt might also work for some uses, e.g. when there is talk of a tieferen Gliederungseinschnitt.

Gräzisierung: Not sure how to translate this. For now at least I have adopted Graecising. Other options might be Graecizing, GreekizingGreekification or Greekanizing or Greekization.

greift zu kurz: I have sometimes translated this phrase as “falls short of the mark”.

gründlich – I often encounter this term in the phrase “in einer gründlichen Studie” (or the like), which I find difficult to translate. I think “in a foundational study” might be the best solution. I have considered “in a thorough study” but I don’t think this captures the nuance.

gründsätzlicher – more fundamentally; noch gründsätzlicher, even more fundamentally

Handlungserregungspunkt: I think this means something like “the point that stimulates the action”

Handlungssouverän: I have struggled to find a good solution for this term used by Michael Wolter. My current translation is “master of action”.

Heilandsruf = technical term used to designate Jesus’s invitation in Matthew 11.29 (special material): “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am kind and humble in heart.” If it is translated, it might be desirable to retain the German term in parentheses, i.e. “invitation of the Savior” (Heilandsruf). 

hebraisierend: I am not aware of a good solution. It seems to me that hebraistic is sometimes used but that hebraizing also appears. I think I prefer the latter.

herausnehmen: sich etw herausnehmen = sich etw. anmaßen. It means something like “to presume to do”. See here.

Herodesburg: It seems like “Herodian castle” might be the best rendering of this term. See here and here.

hier: due to different speech conventions, there are times when one must translate “hier” with “there” in English.

hierfür steht: “this is represented by” might capture the force of this phrase.

hierzu: on this (issue) sometimes captures the force of this term.

hinter etw. Stecken” means “being the reason/background for”.

hinwegsetzen: sich hinwegsetzen über: this phrase conveys that someone puts themselves over something and does not follow it. Not sure what the best translation is: flouts, ignores, disregards, defies, overrides, etc. See here.

ihrer + number (e.g. seven): means something like: “being seven (in number)” or “the seven of them”. Cf. here.

Im begriff sein etw zu tun/im x-en begriffen sein: being in the process of doing sth. See here.

immerhin – the force of this word is difficult to capture in English. The best solution is often “at least”, but “after all” is sometimes better. see further here.

immer wieder: time and again, from time to time

immer nur vorübergehend: it may be better to leave immer untranslated here and simply write “only temporary” or “only temporarily” (cf. here)

immer mal wieder: while immer wieder can mean time and again, the mal in immer mal wieder indicates (or can indicate?) that it is being used in the sense of hin und wieder, i.e. with the meaning  “every so often”, “from time to time”, or “every now and again”.

Im Sinne von: while this can sometimes mean “in the interest of”, it usually means “in the sense of”. In some cases, however, the force of the latter meaning in context is something like “in terms of” or “with regard to”. (In diesem Sinne in footnotes often has the force of “in this vein”). In other cases, im Sinne von X = so, wie es  X gerne hätte, so that a better English idiom might be “in favor of X”.

im Unterschied zu: I had been translating this phrase as “in distinction from” but I am now inclined toward the suggestion “as distinct from”, which I think is often better. “unlike” also works well in some cases.

in einem Boot sitzen is a German idiom.; usually: im selben Boot sitzen – It would probably work to translate it wit the English idiom “to be in the same boat” (cf. here)

in der Regel: this idiom has the force of “usually”, which is probably a better translation than the literal “as a rule”, though this might work since it also exists in English.

Initiativ ergreifen (idiom). See here.

ins Bild setzen: fill someone in on (something); see here.

in Szene setzen: Etw. In Szene setzen -> idiom: “ etw. effektvoll zur Geltung bringen”. Not sure what the best translation should be. It might be best to translate it simply with “highlight”?

insofern: “insofar” or “in this respect” sometimes work, but surprisingly – at least to me – “thus” often seems to be the best solution.

Interpretationsfigur: Not sure if “figure of interpretation” is correct or a false friend. The German seems to convey something like pattern of interpretation and lens of interpretaiton….

Interpretationsgeflecht (Wolter): nexus of interpretation (?)

Interesse = interest; “hat kein Interesse mehr”: “An x … hat y dann aber kein Interesse mehr.” Implies that y was doing something, in different steps, that would make one expect that y would also do x. So it neither implies a) that y wanted to do x but stopped wanting nor b) that x is totally unrelated to what y did before. E.g.: “Am Nachtisch hatte Wayne dann aber nach der Hauptspeiße kein Interesse mehr.” “Has no more interest in” might work as a translation.

inzwischen: by now (see further here). While this word places the focus on the present itself, “in der Zwischenzeit” (in the meantime, in the intervening time) focuses on on the period before the present.

irritieren – this can have the force of verunsichern/unsettle rather than irritate/anger [watch out for false friends].

isotop: Michael Wolter likes to use this term, e.g. “semantisch isotop” (Das Lukasevangelium, 183). Since this language does appear in the context of linguistic discussions, it seems to me that it can be translated as “isotopic” and here as “semantically isotopic“.

ja: not easy to capture – sometimes “after all” or “indeed” seem to work…

in jüdischen Land: in my translation of Wolter’s Das Lukasevangelium, I have rendered this phrase (after consultation with M. Wolter) with “in Jewish land”, since for Luke (in Wolter’s reading) “Judea” (at least in some cases) is not simply the territory but the “land of the Jews”.

Jetzt noch = “still”

Jubelruf = this is a technical term used to describe the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 11.25-30 and Luke 10.21-22. If it is translated, it may be desirable to retain the German term in parentheses, i.e. “cry of joy” (Jubelruf).

Jüngerunverständnis – the most compact solution for this technical term is probably “disciples’ incomprehension” or “incomprehension of the disciples”, which are probably better than “disciples’ lack of understanding” or the like.

Kaiserzeitliche: Christoph Markschies often uses this word in Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen. I have usually translated it as “in the imperial period”, though it has been rendered as “in the Early Roman Empire” for the English title of the work. In the times of the Emperors would also be possible. Since “imperial” on its own doesn’t really work as a designation of time, it is probably not usable.

kaum: I usually translate this word as “scarcely” or “hardly” but it is often more appropriate to simply lose the nuance and translate it with “not”. The reason for this is that kaum is often used in an epistemic sense, i.e. it is “kaum” the case, i.e. probably not the case, i.e. it refers to the meta-level of how probably the statement is and does not qualify the content of the statement itself.

Kindbett: See Wochenbett

Kloster: monastery is my typical translation; I think cloister is a false friend here, at least to a certain extent.

Kola: the correct translation seems to be cola. See here.

Kolorit: this word means something like “atmosphere” or “character”. “color” might work but it might be a false friend. [Need to check how Lokalkolorit is translated in Theissen, The Gospels in Context: Social and Political History in the Synoptic Tradition]

kommen in Frage: I think that “comes into consideration” is probably a workable translation. “comes into question” is arguably a false friend.

Korrespondenzbegriff: “a correlative term to X” might sometimes capture the sense…

können hier nur knapp skizziert werden – not sure how to capture the force of this phrase. One option woudl be “can be sketched only briefly here”. Another option might be “can be sketched only with broad brushstrokes here”.

Knotenpunkt: not sure what is best. Options include junction, juncture, node, intersection, etc. What is meant is that several threads are here in one point and after that they diverge again

Kurzschluss: The metaphor of a “Kurzschluss” implies a logical fallacy. Unclear how much the aspect is still present that something –e.g. evidence   – is not considered because the shorter route is taken. Doesn’t seem like the metaphor of “short circuit” really works in English. So it might be necessary to translate a phrase such as methodische Kurzschlüssigkeit zahlreicher … Untersuchungen (Wolter, Lukasevangelium, 23) with something like “methodological deficiencies (of the inferences) of numereous…investigations”

Kürzung: I have been translating Abürzung as “abbreviation” and Kürzung as “shortening” or the like.

leiblich: usually “bodily” or “corporeal” but “physical” might be best when paired with Nachkommen or the like.

Lehm: not sure if the correct translation is loam or clay. It would seem that loam would be correct, with the rationale that Lehm is a mixture of sand and clay (Ton). On the other hand, there is talk of “clay” here.

lenken: steer, direct. See further here.

Leserlenkung: “guidance of the reader” is perhaps the best option. Cf. here.

Literarkritik: sounds like “literary criticism” but it roughly means “source-criticism”.

Lukanismus: For this word I am currently adopting the wooden translation “Lukanism“, though “Lukan feature” would probably also work.

“Mahnwort”, which contains an admonition can be distinguished from “Aussagewort”, which contains a statement.

Mahlzeit: meal (not mealtime, which is Essenszeit)

Maßgeblich: though “decisive” fits well in some cases, I think “authoritative” works better in others.

Maßstäblich: Jörg Frey uses this word, which I have not encountered elsewhere. The meaning seems to be similar to Maßgeblich, with the sense of “becomes a standard”. I have tended to translate it with “formative”. “standard-setting” might be another option, but this might be a bit too strong?

Materialethik/materialethisch: I think that “material ethics”/material ethical is the correct translation for this technical term. Cf. here [p. 9] and here.

mehrdeutig = polysemous or ambiguous. Compare vieldeutig = can be used in manifold ways.

missraten: wayward

Mitleid: I have been translating Mitleid as “compassion” and Erbarmen as “mercy”.

Mittel (and cognates): see German is Easy.

Mitunter: “sometimes”

Moment – der Moment seems to mean “moment” but das Moment seems to mean something like “factor” or “circumstance” or “aspect” or “element”. See here.

Möglicherweise – I have often translated this word with “possibly”. Interestingly, however, in response to my translation of his use of this word, Matthias Konradt suggested that “möglicherweise” is less than “possibly” and suggested “which might be” as an alternative for the sentence in question. Thus, I might need to rethink how best to translate this word in a given usage.

Motiv: somewhat surprisingly this word can mean both “motif” and “motive”, so make sure to get the right word for the context. See further here and here.

Musivstil: this term, which seems to be from Rosenzweig, seems to mean something like “mosaic style” and to be used to speak of the quotation of biblical phrases and their integration as a mosaic (see here).

N.N. = nomen nominandum = the name is to be placed here.

Nachklappend: Not sure what this word means. It might mean something like “trailing” or perhaps “unconnected” (see here).

Die Nacht vom x zum y: this refers to the night between the daylight periods of x and y. “Freitagnacht” is the “Nacht vom Freitag auf den Samstag” (i.e. includes a portion of Saturday itself). In some cases the “from”-element might be missing…

Näherbestimmung: specification is probably an adequate solution. It is probably not desirable to translate it as “further specification” as I have sometimes done in the past.

nennen: it is sometimes best to translate this verb with “name”, but I have discovered that it is often preferable to translate it with “mention” in some cases and “specify” in others.

Nichtbeachtung – this can have the force of “failure to comply with”

niemand will es gewesen sein: no one admits to it; no one admits it was them etc. see here.

noch – it is often not correct to translate this word with “still”. For example, noch lange nicht means not for a long time.

noch anders: this could either mean NOCH anders (yet another position) or noch ANDERS (I’ve changed my position). The latter could perhaps be translated with “still differently” or “a different position is still advocated in xxx”.

nominale Predikationen: I’m not positive, but the English equivalent to this German phrase seems to be predicate nominals.

Normierung/normieren/normiert: Christoph Markschies often uses this set of terms, which I have struggled to translate. In order to retain the connection with Norm, the link to the Latin (e.g., norma normans non normata), and the distinction from terms such as Standardisierung and Regulierung, I think I will probably stick with norming (and/or norm-setting)/norm/normed, though I have considered other options such as “standardization/standardize/standardized” or “regulation/regulate/regulated”. normativization, normativize, normativized might also be an option?

Not: none of the options in Dict.cc or Linguee seem ideal to me. “distress” or “hardship” or “need” sometimes work ok or “emergency” in some cases. Notlage is equally difficult (“desperate situation” might be the best option).

Nun: its seems like this sometimes means “now” but in other cases it seems to mean “then” (see further here).

Nun ist es so = Nun ist es in der Tat so ….

Nur: it usually works to translate nur with “only” but sometimes “just” is preferable. It sometimes has the force “with the difference that” (mit dem Unterschied das).

Nur mehr: this seems to mean “only”; see further here and here.

Nur noch = only

Offenbar, offensichtlich, offenkundig: though similar, I tend to translate offenbar with apparent(ly), and use “evident(ly)” or “manifest(ly) for offensichtlich and offenkundig. (Thanks to Christoph Heilig for sharpening my understanding of these words).

unlösbar – insoluble may be a good for this word.

Ort: “place” is usually my preferred translation, though “locale” or “locality” is sometimes better.

Par: In phrases such as BerR Par, Par means Parascha / פרשה (engl. parashah), which means “a section of a biblical book in the Masoretic text of the Tanakh” (see here).

Peripetie = peripety = a reversal of circumstances or turning point or sudden turn of events (see here and here)

Pfändungsprozess: In the translation of Matthias Konradt’s commentary on Matthew, Eugene Boring translates this term with “a court procedure involving the seizure of one’s property”.

Phantasie: “imagination” is often a better translation than fantasy (cf. here/here)

plagen: in the context of work “sich plagen” (cf. here/here) means something like “so sehr arbeiten, dass man sich überwinden muss, da man darunter leidet.” As a translation “toil” might be a good solution.

Prädestinatianischen: “predestinarian” seems to be the English equivalent (see here).


Prägen/geprägt: I use a range of terms for this word group. I probably use “shape” words most often, but sometimes I use “form” words. In some contexts “characterized by” is the best solution, and for some context “coined” works. Occasionally I use “stamped by”, which is often favored by other translators.

Prägung: this term looks back at formative processes in the past (where one is coming from) but the emphasis is perhaps more on the present stance. Hard to translate: shaping, imprinting, background, stamp, perspective – nothing really works.

Prügelei: See under verprügelt.

punktuell: I’m not sure how to translate this word, but in some contexts I have rendered it with “punctiliar”, for example “in den punktuellen Aorist” (Wolter, das Lukasevangelium, 124). In other cases, it seems to me that the force is best captured with “particular” or “specific” (e.g. Wolter, das Lukasevangelium, 395: aus der punktuellen Situation). See further here.

qualifizieren: it is often better to translate this word with “characterize” rather than “qualify”, with the latter being reserved for einschränken.

raffen: this difficult word means something like “shortening by compression”.

Raffung: also difficult: compression (?)

Raffungsintensität (e.g. Wolter 124): degree of compression might be better than compression intensity or intensity of compression as a translation for this difficult term.

Rauferei: see under verprügelt.

recht (e.g. recht eng): “quite” is probably the best translation (and not very). “rather” might also work?

Recht geben: affirm or admit someone is right (here)

Recht behalten: to be proved right (see here)

nicht recht machen: this idiom seems to mean something like “can’t satisfy” or “can’t please”. Cf. here and here.

reichlich: not as strong as one might assume. “Quite” might be a workable solution.

retardierendes Moment. I decided to translate this with “retarding moment” after considering other options such as “delaying and heightening moment” or “suspense-building moment”? See here.

Rettung and Heil: While both these words can be translated with “salvation”, Rettung seems to accentuate the process of salvation. Hard to say if an attempt should be made to retain this in translation. In some cases, rescue or deliverance could work for Rettung, but salvation is often better.

ringförmig: literally “in the form of a ring”, but it seems like “chiastically” might the the best translation in some cases. cf. here.

Rubrum. See here and here.

rücken: normally means “to move, or to shift”. in den Vordergrund rücken means to foreground or to give special emphasis to (see here)

Rückwendungen: I have used “retrospections” in the context of the phrase “eingeschobene Rückwendungen”

Ruf = “die Kunde von” (the news of), although there is also a nuance of such news being associated with a special “reputation”. “The best solution might be to use “news of” and leave these connotations to the reference. But “reputation” might be better in some contexts. Ruf / Gebetsruf / Abba-ruf: see Gebetsruf.

Sachebene (cf. Bildebene): I have used “subject matter level” or “level of the subject matter” (cf. picture level, level of the picture). I think that “reality level” is sometimes used, but this may say a bit too much. “content level / picture level” or “content side / picture side” might also work.

Sammelbecken: I have struggled to find a good solution for this Vorzugswort of Michael Wolter. After considering retaining the German term or adopting a solution such as “gathering pond” or “reservoir”, I am currently translating it as “collecting basin”, which I hope is on target. An advantage of “resevoir” would be that the focus in German is more on the content than on the action of collecting. It is used, for example, for the metaphorical expression “melting pot”: The US is a Sammelbecken for all kinds of culture.

Sattelfest: see here. “ironclad” could be an option. Or something weaker like “sound”.

Scheitern an: “founders on” was the best solution I could find, but “runs aground” and “falls apart” were suggested to me (by Elisabeth Wolfe, I believe), and these options might be better. I think “fails” is sometimes used by others (?).

Scheltwort: it seems that various solutions have been adopted for the translation of this technical term, e.g. “reproach”, “invective”, “accusation”, “word of accusation” etc.

Schicht(en): I often translate this word, on its own (Schichten) or in compounds (e.g., Führungschicht), as “stratum” or “strata” rather than “class”  since I cannot assume that the author I am translating would treat these two words/concepts as equivalent.

Schinkenklopfen. German game that involves bending over with one’s eyes closed and having to guess who has hit one’s buttocks. See here.

Schlägerei: severe form of being beaten. See further under verprügelt.

Schlechthin: this word can have many meanings (e.g. as such, absolutely – see further here and here). In some sentences, it seems to me that “par excellence” might also be a good solution.

schon allein … this phrase introduces a reason that is viewed as sufficient on its own to counter or demonstrate a point. Unfortunately, I can’t find a good way to capture it in English. For this reason alone captures the sense but usually can’t be made to work. I often simply use “already”, which is too weak. As usual, the most difficult part of translating is not when you don’t know what the German means, since this can usually be remedied, but when you know what it means but don’t know how to convey the point well in English!

schon daher or schon darum = even on the ground of x alone. Unfortunately, it is pretty much impossible to translate this phrase. I usually just use “already”, which is obviously inadequate. Perhaps it would be better to adopt a paraphrase and say something like, as is already shown by the fact that…

Schweigegebote – lots of possibilities for this technical term. The best option might be “silence commands”, though I have also used other solutions such as “commands to silence”, “commands to be silent” etc.

Sendungsanspruch: this means something like “the claim that results out of Jesus’ sending.” Unfortunately, it is hard to know how to actually translate it. Sending claim is not great, of course. “claim” is perhaps best in some cases.

ins Szene setzen: this is an idiom and probably should not (or at least not usually) be translated with “sets into scene”. I think that “stages” is often a good option. “depicts” might also work. See here.

Sicherlich … aber: To be sure… nevertheless

Sinnwelt (or symbolische Welt): I have sometimes translated this term with “world of meaning” but it seems like “symbolic universe” is a more widespread translation, which may therefore be preferable. Eugene Boring renders it sometimes with “symbolic universe” and sometimes with “universe of meaning” (see here).

Solitär: after failing to find a solution for the translation of ein Solitär, I was presented with the solution “one of a kind” which I think works well.

Sollen: “should” often works, but sometimes “is meant to” or “is intended to” is better.

sollten: The German “sollten” points to the future within the past. So it can be appropriate to simply use past time, at least in some cases.

Sonst immer: this phrase has the force of “in all other cases”.

Spitze: I haven’t been able to find a good solution for this term. “point” is too week. “potentially provocative point” probably says too much. Since “Spitze” is something that ‘hurts’, perhaps “barb” would work. But I don’t know if it really does.

Spitzenaussage: I can’t seem to find the right English word for this term. It seems to characterize the statement in question as being “great”, probably with regard to the extent of its claim, not simply as an uncontroversial statement shared by many positions but as a defining, potentially controversial statement. Being at a loss for a good translation, I was translating it with “pointed statement”. After discussion with Michael Wolter, we settled on “a high profile christological statement” for “christologische Spitzenaussage”. Most recently, I have been considering using “summary statement” or “summary declaration” or “pointed assertion”, but leaning towards “pointedly formulated statement.”

Spitze der Worte: difficult; may approach the sense of Stoßrichtung or have the force of polemical potential or provocative potential. Might convey that the words contradict current views and thus sting.

Stammverwandte: I have often translated this word with “cognates” but “paronymns” is probably better.

Standespredigt = sermon on the duties associated with one’s state in life. It is probably best to retain this term and include an English gloss in parentheses.

stechen: sting. Es sticht can convey that something is a bit unpleasant but not like “es schmerzt”. Cf. Sticheleien, which can even occur among friends.

Stehen bleiben: this indicates an action, “stopping”, i.e., the force is not “to remain standing” (im Stehen verharren), which would refer to a state.

steigen (and related words): see German is Easy Blog.

Stichen: not sure how to render this, but stichoi might work. Cf. also here.

Stichwortgeber: not sure how to translate this. The closest thing in English is probably “straight man”, but the sense is not quite the same. I have adopted cue-giver, which is obviously not a perfect solution, but has some advantages over “straight man”.

Summarien – German authors use the term “Summarium” to refer to what we call summaries in English, i.e., the literary form in the Gospels that summarize or recapitulate what Jesus is doing, e.g. by recounting how Jesus has healed a lot of people etc.

Symbouleutisch: it seems that this word, used by Wolter, can be translated with symbouleutic.

die Taste (and related terms): see German is easy blog.

der Teil (part of a whole) vs. das Teil (a loose piece): see here.

Tendenzschriftsteller: not exactly sure how to translate this term, but I think it should be something like “propagandist” or “pure propagandist”. See here.

Tenne: seems to mean “barn floor” (not to be confused with Ausdrusch)

Topik: not sure here. I have used topoi, but topics is perhaps better. See here and here.

Traditionslage: I have struggled to translate this term and not yet found a great solution. “situation of the tradition” is hard to understand. “nature of the sources” even if it shifts the sense somewhat. Cf. Überlieferungslage.

tritt auf der Stelle (auf der Stelle treten): hard to translate: “does not make any progress” is perhaps the best option.

Trennschärfe: not sure how to render this. Perhaps “precision” is a workable solution, at least for some contexts? See further here and here as potential background for the use of this term.

Tat-Folge-Zusammenhang:  I was translating this phrase with action-effect-connection in order to distinguish it from my translation of Tun-Ergehen Zussamenhang (see ad loc). After consultation with Michael Wolter, I decided to translate it with “nexus of conduct and consequences” (see also Tun/Ergehen).

Tun/Ergehen: the language of Tun/Ergehen, which sometimes occurs in the phrase Tun-Ergehen Zusammenhang (or Tat-Ergehen-Zusammenhang) is difficult to translate. In the past, I have sometimes translated the two terms with deed and consequence (deed-consequence-connection), whereas it has sometimes seemed preferable to translate Ergehen alone as experience or fate. After discussion with Michael Wolter, I have started translating this expression with “nexus of conduct and consequences” (Dieter Roth translates it with translates it with “correlation between deeds and consequences” (see Ruben Zimmermann, Puzzling, p. 287)

Überaus – I have tended to translate this term with “extremely” but it has been suggested to me that it is perhaps weaker than the German extrem, so that something weaker such as “very” or “exceedingly” might be better.

Überblicke: though I have often translated this word with “overviews”, “surveys” is probably better in many cases.

Überhaupt: this word introduces a general element as well as a heightening of the observation. In general might work but it does not really convey the heightening dimension. So perhaps “on the whole” might work better.

Überlieferungslage: I have struggled to translate this term and not yet found a great solution. “situation of the tradition” is hard to understand. “nature of the sources” even if it shifts the sense somewhat. Cf. Traditionslage.

übergehen in – idiom (see here and here)

übermannslanger: this seems to mean “longer than a man”; cf. mannslang and übermannshoch, and überlebensgroß (which is used for statues).

überprüfen: I have translated this word in various ways, including verify, scrutinize, review, and check. I think check is often closest to the intended meaning, but it sounds a bit informal and therefore doesn’t read as well as the other options. So I sometimes go with the other options if they seem appropriate.

Übertragung: Not sure how to render this word. “transference” seems to be an option in the context of metaphor theory.

Übrigens: I have struggled to capture the sense of this word: I usually leave it untranslated or render it with “incidentally” or “by the way”. The polisher of my latest volume favors “incidentally”.

umgehen: I have often translated this verb with “deal with”, but it seems that this may not be a very good solution. “behaves toward” or “treat” might be better? See further here.

Umschreibung: haven’t found a good solution. It means to say/express/describe in other words. “paraphrase” or “rephrase” might be the best options, though neither is very good. Terms like “circumlocution”, “periphrasis”, and “circumscription” (false friend?) don’t seem to mean the right thing at all, though I have now come across an example of “periphrasis” being used in this way. Decker, Mark 1-8, 75: “the ἵνα clause functions as a periphrasis for the imperative”.

Ungebräuchlichkeit=  ungebräuchlich sein. It might work to translate it with “uncommonness”, but it might be better to paraphrase if possible. Cf. here.

Unheil: In the past I have sometimes translated this term with “disaster”, which is workable, I think. But I have now decided that it is probably necessary to coin a new English word to do it justice, namely unsalvation. non-salvation won’t do since it is not just the absence of salvation that is in view but the positive negative situation of disaster, judgment, damnation etc. But each of these translations is probably too narrow. I am happy to see that a few others have also come to this conclusion (search on google books for unsalvation).

Unterwegs: “on a journey” or “traveling” is probably better than underway, at least in most cases. (Thanks to Simon Gathercole for alerting me to this fact).

Umwertung: this word seems to mean “reversion”. I think I have translated this word incorrectly in the past (e.g. in chapter 9 of From Jesus to the New Testament?). It seems that the meaning is not Umbewertung = Neubewertung = revaluation, but stronger: “Um-Wertung”, i.e. reversal.

Unter der Hand: not sure how to best capture the force of this phrase. “On the quiet” is not elegant but it might be the best solution.

Unterschenkel: lower leg or shank. See here and here.

u.ö. (und öfters): I think there are two possible options here. One could either use “and elsewhere”, which is a bit less precise than u.ö. or one could use “and passim” (with the meaning “here and there”), which is better in terms of meaning or at least in terms of pragmatics, but perhaps a bit problematic since German authors sometimes use both u.ö. and passim (sometimes with the meaning “throughout”). So, for now at least, I think I will stick with “and elsewhere” for u.ö., even though it is not so precise. For passim, see here and here.

verachten: see German is Easy Blog

verbinden: connect or join seems to work in many cases. Note, however, that Etw. Mit etw. Verbinden does not only mean the process of making the connection but can also refer to the fact that in one’s mind these things are connected. For example: I “verbinde” Christmas with gifts. -> this does not mean that I somehow influence the rite of Christmas, but that these two things belong together in my mind. It seems to me that “associate” might capture this latter nuance.

verbindlich: I usually translate this as “binding”.

verbalisieren: put into words (not related specifically to verbs)

verdauen: see German is Easy Blog.

Verprügelt can be translated “beaten”: it refers to a not very serious beating, but more than a “Rauferei”: Rauferei-Prügelei-Schlägerei, the last one the most intensive form of being beaten by someone.

Vereindringlichung (Wolter): ?

vergegenwärtigen: I am inclined to translate this word as “make present” but I suspect that in some contexts others may prefer a less wooden translation such as “bring to mind” or the like.

verfälscht: At present I am translating this word as “falsified”.  I am not sure if I will do the same with “fälschen” or if it would be better to translate it as “forge”, at least in certain contexts?

verkirchlichter – I think that “ecclesiaticized” is probably the desired translation since this word seems to be in circulation. See here.

Verklammern: I have sometimes used terms such as “interlocked” or “interlaced”, but a potential problem with such a translation is that it could be taken to imply that there are elements of both parts that become part of the other so that there is an organic unity, whereas “verklammern” seems to imply that the two distinct subunits form a larger unit together. Such as in the case of binding two books together with a cord. In this case, the “cord” would be the “Klammer”. Hence, something like “stuck together” or “closely attached to each other” might be more precise. Perhaps “joined together” would be a good compromise between accuracy and readability.

verkürzt: great German term but hard to capture in English. I sometimes use “truncates”. “falls short of” might sometimes work? The German term has the sense of “etw. Verkürzt wahrnehmen/darstellen” i.e., perceiving it incompletely, not sufficiently, leaving important aspects out

vermitteln: I find this to be a slippery term. “mediate” sometimes works or “convey”, but sometimes it seems to have a sense that is closer to “verbinden”, i.e., to bring both aspects into dialogue.

versetzen (and cognates): see German is Easy Blog.

“Verständigung” = the process of “sich verständigen” of reaching an “agreement”. So the focus is on the process, not the result.  Verständigung” includes “Einverständnis” but also the possibility of remaining differences.

vieldeutig: can be used in manifold ways. Compare mehrdeutig (= polysemous or ambiguous).

virtuell: virtual seems to be the correct translation. But this word sometimes creates problems for me. See here.

virulent: this can mean virulent. But it can also mean acute or urgent. See here (as an extension of meaning 2 the word can by synonymous with “akut, dringend, [vor]dringlich, wichtig”).

völkisch: in the context of National Socialism it looks like this term is often retained, i.e., völkisch.

von etwas her erklärt werden conveys that this is the point of departure for further consideration so that the force is perhaps best conveyed with solutions such as “on the basis of”, “building on”, “drawing on”.

vor allem: while I have previously rendered this phrase woodenly with “above all”, it may be desirable to move toward a more fluid translation with solutions such as “especially”, “mainly”, and “primarily” depending on the context.

Vorausdeutungen: I have adopted solutions such as “prefigurations” and “anticipations” (credit Christoph Heilig) depending on the context.

Vordersatz = Nebensatz that comes before the Hauptsatz.

vorgegebene: not sure how to translate this word, which I encounter in contexts such as vorgegebene Quellen. “pre-existing” might be a workable solution.

vornehmen: in some cases “performed” seems to work well. Otherwise, I think I have used “make”.

Vorstellung: I usually translate this word as “conception”, “notion”, or “idea”, but in some contexts it means “introduction”.

Vorstellungskraft: “power of imagination” or simply “imagination”.

Vorzeichen: this usually means something like “sign” or “omen” (see here). But Vorzeichen is also the a + or a – which gives the negative or positive sense to numbers or a calculation, so it can be used to mean something like ‘default setting’. Also, “Vorzeichen” are in a music score the b for “flat” or #  for “sharp” defining the tone, so this word can also be used to use this imagery of musical notation.

Vorzugswort: After consultation with Michael Wolter, I decided to translate “lk Vorzugswort” with “a typical Lukan word”. I considered retaining this German word in English translation. I am not sure if it is always used in the same way in scholarship. For some authors at least, it seems to mean more than simply “preference word” or “typical word”. See here. There does not appear to be a “standard translation” for this German term.

Votum: a synonym would be Stellungnahme, with the focus being more on the thesis than the argument, so something like opinion, position statement etc

Was nicht ist, kann noch werden: things can always change; your day may come

wegloben: this appears to be a term for “writing a positive recommendation for somebody for a new position, but with the sole goal of getting rid of them and foisting them on somebody else” (taken from an Eva Mroczek facebook thread)

weiterhelfen: this verb means something like “helfen (in a process, e.g., in exegesis)”, so that it should probably be translated as “to help” rather than “to help further”.

Wenn: usually “if”, but “while” might be better for fulfilled conditions.

Wenn man es genau nimmt: this idiom means something like “if one is a stickler”.

Wenn schon nicht … dann schon/zumindest/wenigstens: may be best to leave the first “schon” untranslated. See here. But perhaps it would work in some contexts to translate this “schon” with “by now”? Not sure.

wes (old German) = wessen; des = dessen

Wesen: See German is Easy Blog, which also discusses Anwesenheit (“the being there”) etc.

Wieder: “again” is often correct, but sometimes “back” is better (e.g. in some in compounds).

Wiederaufnahme: I have struggled to find a good solution for this (technical) term. I have sometimes used “taking up” but “resumption” might be a better solution.

Widerlager: I had not previously encountered this term, which Michael Wolter frequently uses in Das Lukasevangelium. I am translating it with “counterpart”. It seems to be comparable in meaning to Entsprechung. I considered translating Widerlager with “counterbalance” or “counterweight”, which might be preferable in some cases.

winken (and related terms): See German is Easy Blog.

Wird … haben => es wird so gewesen sein => one should assume that this is what happened -> maybe: “probably had”?

Nicht voneinander wissen = sich noch nicht kennen/sich noch nicht getroffen haben…

Wissenschaft/wissenschaftlich: For Jens Schröter’s book From Jesus to the New Testament I consistently translated this language with science/scientific, but in Jens Schröter’s book Jesus of Nazareth Brian Pounds and I decided to render it with scholarship/scholarly, which is the imperfect solution that I will probably adopt for (most) future books. For further reflections on the translation of this term, see here and here.

Wochenbett: English equivalents to this term include: postpartum period, postnatal period, recovery period, puerperium and puerperal period. Cf. here and here.

wobei: various options. See here. Do not, as I have sometimes done, fall into the habit of translating it with “whereby”, which is often a problematic translation, though it may work for some cases. It is sometimes concessive, in which case “though” works. A good solution is often “with … +  infinitive…”

wo doch: “now that” sometimes works. “after all” might sometimes work.

“wohl”: this word often (usually?) has the force of “almost certainly” but without emphasizing this certainty, so that “probably” is perhaps the best translation in such cases.

wollte etw. als etw. gerechnet wissen: this means that this was not intended

Wörter = “words” vs. Worte = a collective designation = something like “sayings” or “statements” (see here and here)

wörtliche Rede: seems to mean “direct speech”

Wortüberliererung: this term refers not only to individual sayings but includes dialogues etc. I believe that it is correctly translated with sayings tradition, which also seems to extend beyond mere sayings in its meaning.

eine Zeit lang: the duration (lang) of a “time” = “for a certain time” (not “for a long time”);

zeigen: in addition to its other meanings (cf. here), it seems to me that “evince” is often a good solution for how this verb is often used in German New Testament scholarship.

zerkratzen: See German is Easy Blog

ziemlich: quite or rather (not very)

zueignen: in addition to “dedicate”, this verb can also mean “give as a gift” and “appropriate to oneself” (see Duden).

-zug: in compounds this can have the force of “feature” (e.g. Charakterzug, Gesichtszug), but also of “move” (e.g. Erzählzug), i.e. as in a game (draw).

jmdm. Zulaufen -> this is an idiom; figuratively the idea is that people run to sb. But a literal sense is not necessarily in play. Cf. “großen Zulauf haben”. This is usally used with political leaders, clubs etc.

zuletzt: in footnote references this word often has the force of “most recently”. But since there is often a time delay between the publication of a German work and the publication of its translation, I often translate it as “recently” in order to reflect the likelihood that other works have appeared in the meantime.

Zumutung: provocation often works well for this term.

Zusammenhang and Zusammenhänge: I normally translate this word as “context”/”contexts”, but Christoph Markschies often uses it to speak of the connections that he is investigating. For this reason, I have sometimes translated it as “connections” in KcTuiI, despite the awkwardness of this solution. In this case, “concerns” or “issues” might be a better options, but I have chosen the more wooden solution. In some cases other options such as “relations” and “units” might work. For other cases, “complex”, “nexus”, or even “construct” might be better.

zurückbleiben hinter: This means something like: in x is less expressed than it is in y. “Wayne bleibt hinter meinen Erwartungen als Übersetzer weit zurück.”

zurückgreifen auf: I have translated this term with a range of solutions such as “make resource to”, “reach back to” etc. But it is sometimes best to translate it simply with “use” (= verwenden)

Zusatzhypothese: I have started to translate this term with “auxiliary hypothesis”.

Zuspitzung: this word conveys the sense of narrowing down to one aspect, so that focusing might work in some cases. Still, I often go with pointing or intensification, perhaps wrongly.

zuteil werden: this conveys the nuance of a gracious gift, but given might be enough in English.

zu + infinitive + Weiß: this is an idiom that means something like “is able to do x”, “can do x” (e.g. zu schreiben Weiß = can write about).

zwar: I have adopted various solutions such as “it is true”, “to be sure”, and “admittedly”. Sometimes I simply leave this word untranslated. Or rephrase to “while x, y…”.

zwischendrin: “in between”, e.g., Wolter 200: “die Erzählung zwischendrin” = the narrative in between (= local specification of the narrative).

3 thoughts on “0 Coppins German-English Dictionary

  1. Pingback: German Theological Vocabulary | ἐνθύμησις

  2. Pingback: Lexical Semantics and Lexicography

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