Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why Isn't This Blog In German?

I've already been asked this question and it's likely to come up again, as my blog header makes it clear I'm a native German writing in English.

Well, Dear Reader, I could tell you it's because there are many more English speakers plus Germans with English skills than German speakers plus English speakers with German skills, and that I'm all about maximizing my reach. Or that I've lived in the U.S. ten years longer than I did in my native Germany, so, at this point, it's unnecessarily cumbersome to force my English-language thoughts through the filter of the German language to put them into words. Or that my German written composition skills fell through the cracks somewhere over the years.

Those things make perfect sense, but none of it is true in my case. My German composition skills remain pretty sharp. Delving into the language daily in my career as a translator tends to have that effect.

The actual reason this blog is written in English is simply that I type like the wind in English and I need minimal editing time to polish a piece. In comparison, my typing speed in German is just above "slower than a slug on valium" and the editing process might just make me lose my mind. I learned to type on English keyboards. Everything I know about computers and computer science I learned only in English. Dealing with anything German on a computer other than it being the language of the source document I'm translating from, has only one result: It slows me down, ridiculously so. The German keyboard is juuussst different enough - x,y,z transposed, umlauts where I expect punctuation and a few other idiosyncrasies to make typing on a German keyboard more painful than beating my head with bricks. So I use the English keyboard when I type in German, and I either fake the umlauts ae, oe, ue (which, let's face it, looks like crap) or just type the vowel and insert the umlauts during review. It's fine for a page, a post, a couple tweets. It's unbelievably tedious for a project like this, and sucks 100% of the fun and momentum out of it.

Forcing myself to type more than a few hundred words or so in German inevitably leads to this:

I think we can all agree that we don't want that.

If demand for a German or other language version of this blog rises significantly at or after completion of this project, I'm sure I will find a way to provide translations.

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