Correspondence
and Translations




Use the menu below to visit other pages of the Bavaria Gen Web website.


Suggestions for this page should be sent to Joanne Parmley, the Bavaria Gen Web coordinator, at: JOPARMLEY@aol.com.

If you are fluent in German and would be willing to help your fellow genealogy researchers by translating letters or documents on a volunteer basis, please let me know. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated!




Automatic Text Translators

Volunteer Translators

Paid Translators

Pre-written Form Letters

German Letter Writing Guide

Addressing Envelopes, Sending Currency, Etc.

Dictionaries

Old German Occupation and Illnesses Translations

Translation of German First Names

German Word Translations for Civil Archive Research









Automatic Text Translators


Automatic text translators can be very useful to the person conducting Bavarian genealogy research that does not know the German language; but such translators have limitations that should be understood. They do a credible job of translating the general content of websites written in German as well translating short sentences, but they should not be used for personal correspondence (letters to distant relatives, city halls, etc.). Automatic translators cannot distinguish between text that should be translated and text that should not, for example, the name of a town. Additionally, full sentence structure and formation can also be a problem. For translations of letters and documents, see the "Volunteer Translators" or "Paid Translators" section of this website.



InterTran - includes English, German and Latin automated translations. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the free translator.


Reverso Free Online Translator - Includes English to German and German to English plus the ability to add umlauts on screen.


Altavista's Babelfish Translator - English to German and German to English.


Systran Information and Translation Technologies - English to German and German to English.


Free Translations.com - English to German and German to English.


T-mail - Translating the Internet - English to German translations.



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Volunteer Translators


**See afterward for hints on how to use volunteer translation services and information about some basic differences between the English and German languages.**


  • Arthur Teschler's Translation Team Manual. Follow the directions on the page to submit text to be translated by a volunteer translator.


  • A Yahoo mailing list with a group of volunteers who will transcribe records written in the Old German script, including entries in Latin, for free. Once a person clicks on one of the links that read "Join This Group!" and becomes a free member, they will thereafter be able to upload and post a scan of their record to be transcribed. Transcribe old German documents


  • A translation mailing list at RootsWeb, TRANSLATIONS-L. Topic: "A mailing list for anyone who can help others, or desires help, in the translation of documents that directly support genealogical research efforts."


  • A Latin translation mailing list at RootsWeb, LATIN-WORDS-L. Topic: "Genealogical or historical interest in deciphering and interpreting written documents in Latin from earliest to most recent 20th Century times, and discussing old Latin words, phrases, names, abbreviations and antique jargon."


  • An Old German translation mailing list at RootsWeb, OLD-GERMAN-L. Topic: "Genealogical or historical interest in deciphering and interpreting written documents in German from earliest to most recent 20th Century times, and discussing old German words, phrases, names, abbreviations and antique jargon."


  • ScripTrans Old German Script Free Transcription Service. Description: "Services: We provide our services free of charge. We are a father and son team and are not certified in the area of transcription but merely enjoy the challenge. We do have experience with the German language and can provide some translation if so requested. Also, we hope that by providing this service gratis family researchers who are on a limited budget can find information from the transcribed documents that will help them in their search. We will help on transcriptions of letters, church, and civil documents from the Old German Script."


  • Other people who have kindly volunteered their time and talent to help researchers who do not know the German language (Note: please only request translations for genealogical purposes).



Volunteer Translators

Name

Notes

E-mail

Geof Acker

German - English

geofacker@yahoo.com

Karin Bachhuber

German - English or English - German

bachsr@cs.com

Frank Bermbach

German - English

Frank.Bermbach@uni-duesseldorf.de

John Broadhurst

German - English

john.broadhurst@which.net

George Carsted

German - English or English - German

carstedg@cadvision.com

Hermann Denis

English - German

hermann.ds@lauf.netsurf.de

Bryan Egnew

German - English

begnew@nortelnetworks.com

David Ehrens

German - English

david_ehrens@hotmail.com

Ingrid Fetköter

German - English or English - German

Rid1541@aol.com

Ilse Flick

German - English or English - German

iflick@swbell.net

Richard Haberstroh

German - English

dhaberst@suffolk.lib.ny.us

Gabriele Hoeck

German - English or English - German

ghoeck@yahoo.com

James E. Hoffmann

German - English or English - German

jimmyh@sydney.DIALix.oz.au

Kelly Kahlau

German - English

CatzNBearz@aol.com

Margaret Kays

German - English or English - German

merah7@netscape.net

Bert Knupp

German - English

bert.knupp@earthlink.net

S. Koch

German - English or English - German

sk60@le.ac.uk

Dr. Waldemar Labusga

German - English or English - German (50 words or less)

info@1t2.net

Ines Mannhardt

German - English

Ines.Mannhardt@cadvision.com

Michael

English - German

kmbadv@t-online.de

Pam Murray

German - English

PamMurray@aol.com

Martin Olsson

German - English or English - German

martin.olsson@liftsall.se

Michaela Popken

German - English or English - German

mipop@web.de

Kai Raecke

German - English or English - German

C3EB2@msn.com

Agnes T. Sauer

German - English or English - German

sauerr@singnet.com.sg

Shirley

German - English or English - German

marsec@vvm.com

Chris Soeffner

German - English or English - German

chris.soeffner@sympatico.ca

Timothy C. Wyman

German - English

teamw@niia.net

Michael Zacchetti

German - English

mezacc@yahoo.com





Some hints and information kindly provided by Erich A. Pfieffer about using volunteer translation services. You should include a short note with your submission to let the translator know in what form to complete the translation-- formal or informal:

"German, as opposed to English, has two different ways of addressing a person, a formal one and a familial one. As this difference comes up very often when doing translations, I have written a brief tutorial about this...

"YOU" in German

In German, as in several other European languages, there exist two forms of addressing a person in letters or in a conversation: the formal form and the familial form. In the formal form "you" is translated as "sie" and the possessive "your" as "ihr" or "ihre". In the familial form "you" becomes "du" and the possessive "your" becomes "dein" or "deine". Which form to use with a certain person is governed by social conventions. Traditionally one uses the formal address with adult persons one is not related to or with distant relatives. The familial form is used with close relatives, good friends, and children (under 14). In letters "Sie" and "Ihr" ("Ihre") is always capitalized (the familial form, according to the latest reform, may now be spelled lowercase). "I", in German "ich", however is never capitalized.

The translator does not know the relationship between the writer of a letter and its recipient and, therefore, is often baffled which form to use. Sometimes the text of the letter is an indication, but often I have had to ask the letter writer before I could do the translation. English once also had the two addressing forms, but the formal "thou" today is used only when addressing god. For this reason few Americans are aware of the problem when requesting a translation. It would help if they would indicate which addressing form the translator should use in the translation. If in doubt you might want to check which form was used in letters you received from the person you are writing. If you are not sure I suggest to use the formal form.

In German there are also unwritten rules about when to address a person by his or her first name. The first name is used only with the familial "Du". An exception used to be servants, domestics and chauffeurs, who were addressed by their first name but using the formal "Sie". The formal address is always used with "Herr" (Mr.) and "Frau"(Mrs.). If somebody has a doctor degree or is a college professor, he or she is formally "Herr Professor Meyer" or "Frau Doktor Mueller" (unless one knows them better and they become "Herr" und "Frau"). Unmarried women used to be addressed as "Fraeulein" (Miss) but the liberated German ladies object to this as sexist. As German does not have an equivalent of "Ms." one should, therefore, address them as "Frau" (Mrs.), no matter what their marital status.

The conventions which addressing form to use have changed over the years. Until the end of the 19th century children addressed even their parents with the formal form. The familial form was used between blue-collar workers -- and between members of the nobility. When I was a kid in Germany (long ago) one addressed young ladies one dated formally -- until one had kissed them for the first time. To switch to the familial form between two persons who were using the formal address had to be proposed by the older one of the two and was often formally celebrated by linking arms while drinking from ones beer stein or wine glass. Today, however, it has become customary on the Internet to use the familial form in all e-mail."

Erich A. Pfieffer



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Paid Translators


The services of paid translators are useful for researchers when volunteer services do not adequately meet their needs in a given situation. Examples include long letters and translations of town histories or other lengthly genealogical text.

NOTE: This list is being provided as a courtesy only, and no warranties expressed or implied as to the accuracy of translations or other situations or disputes which may arise in connection with the following contacts are given by the Bavaria Gen Web coordinator. Contact the individual translator for information about their fee schedule.


Paid Translators

Name

Notes

E-mail

Elke Hall

Translates both modern German and Old German Script.

elkehall@cox.net

Dr. Waldemar Labusga

50 words or less are free; see website at http://www.1t2.net for information about fees for larger translations.

info@1t2.net

Erich A. Pfieffer

Charges by the hour.  Contact for further details.

pfeiffer@earthlink.net

Armorel Young

Located in England. Prefers large volumes of text to save bank deposit fees for both himself and his client.

young@lineone.net





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Pre-written Form Letters


Some researchers prefer the ease of using pre-written form letters for requests to archives and the like. If you are unsure of what to write in your correspondence to Bavaria, visit the following websites to browse some of the standard form letters and phrases that are available for you to use:


German Letter Writing Guide


Briefe


Sample Letters to:

Churches

Registrar's Office

Archives

Regional Genealogical Organization



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German Letter Writing Guide


Very useful letter writing guidance provided by the Church of Latter Day Saints:

German Letter Writing Guide



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Addressing Envelopes, Sending Currency, Etc.


Here is an example address for the Catholic Archive in Passau (**see below for futher information):

1. Archiv des Bistums Passau
2. Luragogasse 4
3. 94032 Passau
4. Germany


1. Name of place / person you are sending your letter to

2. The street name and place number

3. The zip code

4. The country (Do not write "Bavaria" or "Bayern" in the address.)

ALWAYS use airmail envelopes (can be purchased at any office supply store or large drug store) or write "Airmail" on the front of your envelope.

** if you see the word "Postfach" (Ex.: Postfach 1608) on the second line in the space for the street name and place number, this indicates the address is to a post office box.

If sending mail to a private individual, before the person's name write: "Herr" (if a male), "Fr." (if a female).

When writing to an archives or public place, it is no longer recommended to include International Reply Coupons (IRCs) with your letter. Many of us still read instructions that say to send 2 or even 3 IRCs. No more. That is because years ago any number could be exchanged for stamps. But that is no longer true. It might be wiser to write in the letter that you will be happy to pay as soon as you are billed, and mean it. That way they can add the amount of the postage to whatever charges they have. It is not recommended that you include a return envelope with your correspondence. In most cases, you do not know what amount of material may be sent back to you, thus possibly making any enclosed return envelope useless.


How to know what amount of money is being asked for in the equivalency of US dollars? Use a free currency converter:

OANDA.com, The Currency Site

Remember that you will need to convert to the Euro instead of German Marks (DM).


How to send funds to Bavaria? Visit:

International Currency Express, Inc.

Drafts may be ordered by phone, fax, e-mail, or online ordering form.



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Dictionaries


Leo English / German Dictionary Put online by the University of Munich.

Deutsch <-> Englisches Wörterbuch

Global Dictionaries at Foreignword.com

Your Dictionary.com

Medieval Latin Dictionary

Many Latin Dictionaries

DEUTSCHES RECHTSWÖRTERBUCH (DRW) - German Legal Dictionary
Useful for finding German definitions of old words no longer used in the legal administration of modern Germany. Currently, the letters F - Q are available online. Practical purposes: Old documents held at the Bavarian civil archives; words found in the Historischen Atlas von Bayern (HAB) - Historical Atlas of Bavaria (HAB).


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Old German Occupation and Illnesses Translations


German Occupations, Illnesses, and Professions Glossaries

Berufsbezeichnungen für Familienforscher - Occupations for Family Researchers

Old German Professions, Occupations, Illnesses and Notions

Obsolete Occupations

German Illness Translations

Old German Professions


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Translation of German First Names


Translation of German First Names


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German Word Translations for Civil Archive Research


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