German is not an easy language, but then neither is English. And kudos for everyone who didn’t grow up in an English-speaking country, because that means they probably handle multiple languages on a daily basis.
Read on for some of my favourite, commonly used mis-translations that Austrians often say in English.
Instead of saying someone is ‘sporty’ they will use ‘sportive’. Personally, I think it’s super cute and I have adopted it.
- Ski driving
In German, skiing is skifahren… and fahren translates to ‘driving’ or ‘moving along’. So when I went skiing the first time, I got told I: “drove very well… for an Australian.”
- Too less
This is a tricky part of the English language. When to use ‘less’, when to use ‘few’ and when you actually have to say ‘not enough’. As a result, Austrians are always saying they have too less socks, too less motivation, too less work etc.
Oh it makes me laugh. When they say they are busy… it sounds like ‘pissy’. At work everyone is pissy… it’s hilarious
- Get a baby
Because Austrians often say, ein Baby bekommen, when referring to someone having a baby, and bekommen translates loosely to ‘get’, in English, they often say things like: “My sister got a baby on the weekend.” It makes it sound more like the baby was delivered to the house than someone actually gave birth to it.
That’s seafood, actually. The German word for seafood is Meeresfrüchte. So I guess it is not surprising that they translate it literally and say Sea (Meer) Fruit (Frucht).
They are not restless, they are ‘unresty’. I have even started using this now because I hear it so often.
Even native English speakers get this one wrong. The German translation is similar, but different, which makes it tricky. They say (spelt phonetically) ana-loo-say. So it’s no wonder they keep getting it wrong. And don’t even think about the plural!
- Easy cheesy
WTF? Where did this come from? When something is going smoothly and easily, they always saying it is “Easy Cheesy”. And then proceed to ask me if this is a common term in Australia. No, I think not. Not unless you’re making mac and cheese!
- Making a photo
In German, you don’t ‘take’ a photo (Foto nehmen) you ‘make’ a photo: Ich mache ein Foto. Therefore, Austrian are often asking you to make a photo, instead of taking one.
- Creaming yourself
Get your mind out of the gutter! They merely mean they are putting sunscreen on… but it cracks me up when I hear it.