10 GERMAN TRANSLATION MISTAKES – answers and grammar



It's important to understand why you can't always translate directly from your own language into English. The translation of a word might have a different meaning in English (a 'false friend'), the word order can be different (English usually puts adjectives before a noun object for example), and some phrases are more 'idiomatic' in meaning or very specific to the context in English. If you want to improve your English skills and to avoid relying on translating from your language, try a course of one-to-one lessons with us where we can focus on the specific parts of English that you want to practice and improve.

Answers and grammar information

  1. Let’s make a pause take/have a break for some coffee.

We refer to stopping for a short time during any activity as a break (using the verbs have or take). A ‘pause’ in English is only used to indicate a very short stop of movement or speaking.

  1. Please control check the figures before you send the report.

We check things to make sure they are correct or working properly. We control things (like a car) by making sure that they go in the direction that we want.

  1. If I would meet met my favourite singer one day, I would make for him a great meal.

This is an example of the second conditional (if) form – a hypothetical situation in the future – If + past tense form (+ would + verb). We make someone something

  1. I will give you my answer until by Monday.

The direct translation of bis is ‘until’ but when we want to indicate a deadline in English we use by. This indicates any time before the deadline is possible.

  1. I have finished my report last night.

We always use the simple past tense when we talk about a completed action in a ‘finished’ period of time – as indicated by the phrase ‘last night’ here.

  1. My flat is in the near from the airport.

In English we say one place is near another place to indicate a short distance. An alternative phrase is close to.

  1. I have been working since for 5 years in this company.

We use the present perfect continuous/progressive form to show duration of an action that started in the past and continues into the present. We use for + LENGTH of time and since with the START time of the action (2016, July etc.)

  1. Please remember remind me we will see us each other next week at 10am.

The verb remember refers to a memory of something in the past. We only use us as a personal object pronoun, not a reflexive, for example: He will see us.

  1. You mustn’t don’t have to stay in the office after 6pm if you don’t want to.

Must not in English indicates something ‘prohibited’ (not allowed). To show that you have a choice we use the negative of the semi-modal form have to (+ verb).

  1. This is my usually usual place to go for running.

The adjective form here usual is modifying the verb ‘place’. We go + verb-ing to indicate the activity we want to do.

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