Tuesday, November 10, 2009

English ‘naked’ and German ‘nackt’ in delicate circumstances

The English adjective naked is translated into German nackt. The words naked and nackt look and sound similar and linguistically have the same root. This suggests plain back-and-forth translation. However, there are notable exceptions as the following examples will illustrate.

The English phrase with the naked eye is typically not translated as mit dem nackten Auge. In German(y), one sees mit dem bloßen Auge (with the bare eye) or mit dem unbewaffneten Auge (with the unequipped eye).

The German term nackte Tatsache does not mean a naked fact, but may be translated as simple fact or brute fact.

In other contexts nackt may be best translated into English by taking adjectives such as nude, bare, plain, blunt or stark.

Keywords: English language, German language, translation, adjectives

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