So You Want to Learn German: Translating German Texts with Logos

translating german texts with logos

Part 3 of Translating German Texts with Logos

I am not a linguist. I have not studied pedagogy. I am not a native German speaker nor do I consider myself fluent. Furthermore, I have never taught German. So what I offer in this post is not the wisdom of an expert or even opinions of an aficionado. My aims and goals are simple: the exchange of resources, information, and tools from one student to another.

What I will provide you in this post is not the advice of an expert. Instead, I aim to provide you with a litany of resources to aid in your the acquisition of German, whether your goal is to read the language or if they are more ambitious.

Reading Knowledge Only:

* April Wilson “Learn German Quickly.” I’m particularly partial to this Grammar. It is aimed towards graduate students, has clear explanations, and has plenty of exercises, many of which are theological in nature.

* Eugene Jackson’s “German Made Simple.” This is a full grammar aimed at both reading comprehension as well as conversational German. I find it to be helpful for those looking to do more than just read.

* Deutsch Perfekt: This is a bit more for the intermediate student. It is a monthly magazine subscription (pdf or physical) that is graded according to easy, medium, and difficult. Unfamiliar vocabulary is listed to the right or left of the article and includes German definitions of the German words. This is a wealth of information about current life in Germany as well as a means of improving your reading skills.

* German English Bible: You can find a German English Bible, German Greek Bible, German Hebrew Bible, etc. in order to practice your ability for translating German texts using Logos.

* German English diglots. You can search amazon to find a number of German English books like Grimm’s Fairytales in order to get regular practice with the fall back of an English translation.

* Duolingo: It’s not perfect, and it is more than you are looking for in terms of reading knowledge, but you need to have a general idea of how the words are pronounced and common colloquialisms. Plus it’s easy to work on daily on your phone instead of surfing the internet.

Dictionary/Translation Aids:

* Google Translate: We all know this one.

* Deepl: This tends to be better than Google Translate in many cases. When there is a particularly difficult sentence, I use both at times to see the results and analyze the grammar, vocab, and content to come to the best solution.

* dict.cc: A German English online dictionary

* linguee: same as dict.cc but better

* Wayne Coppins has a German blog with a dictionary that journals difficult words he has encountered related to theology.

* Google Books: Search the term on Google books. You will often find English books interacting with that specific term.

* Logos: I have the German and English versions of the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. This has been an enormous help. If the term occurs in this massive set, I can check the English translation and see if that makes sense in my context.

More than Reading Knowledge:

* Familiarize yourself with the European Framework for Languages. You will encounter terms like A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, etc. This is a real measurement of your language knowledge and ability to interact in real society.

* Duolingo: This is free, addictive, and affective. It’s not perfect and it won’t take you as far as you need to go. But it is a great start and a good way to build vocab.

* Rosetta Stone: Save your money and use Duolingo, then use the saved money to hire a tutor or take a real class.

* Deutsche Welle: They have several free interactive courses, pdf courses, podcasts, etc. that claim to take you up to a B1 level.

* Slow German: Free podcast discussion themes in German (with transcriptions) slowly spoken.

* Langsam gesprochene Nachtrichten: Daily news podcast spoke slowly with transcription. You can also change to normal spoken speed.

* Spiegel: Free online German news

* Goethe Institute: Very expensive courses that you can also take in countries other than Germany. They are viewed as the gold standard.

* Zdf: This is one of the largest German TV services. You can view videos online. I’m a sucker (don’t tell anyone) for Herzkino. It’s truly awful, but the everyday German spoken throughout the movies is easy to follow and good practice. There is also the children’s news show Logo.

* Netflix: Netflix has most of their original programming dubbed into German. You can watch a show with German dubbing and English subtitles; German dubbing and German subtitles; or English audio and German subtitles. Great practice (note…subtitles and dubbing are not always the same. Meaning is often the same, but different words and different constructions are used).

* Children’s Songs: Kinderlieder are a great way of learning a piece of German culture while learning some German. My favorite channel—I have kids—is Sing Kinderlieder. They have subtitles, which always helps.

* German Radio: Don’t waste your time. 95 percent is English songs. You wait 30 minutes to hear the dj for 3 minutes, and then more English songs.


We hope you’ve enjoyed and benefitted from this three-part series on “Translating German Texts with Logos.”  

Using Logos for German translation work and discipline-leading research in biblical studies and theology is not only professionally wise, it’s financially savvy. Take advantage of the lower prices today before 12am PST.

Be world-class. Be Logos.

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Written by
Jacob Cerone
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7 comments
  • Deutschlandfunk live online – German talkshows and news all day long. Their online content is also good.

  • Great post, Jacob! Thanks. Just pointing out that most of those links take me through facebook first for some reason.

    • Thank you for pointing that out to me Clare. I originally wrote this post as a Facebook document and copied it over when refashioning it for Logos. I didn’t realize that FB had messed with my links. It should all be fixed now.

  • Erasmus Academy also offers summer German language programs online. I took one last summer. I’m also assisting the German professor with the “Daily Portion of German”, a free video blog similar to the Daily Dose of Greek and Hebrew, where the professor takes a German text each week and records a brief session analyzing and translating sentences.

  • I forgot to include the link to the Daily Portion of German. It is dailyportionofgerman.erasmusacademy.com.

  • Thank you. This is very helpful. What I do a lot. I have a number of German commentaries in Logos (also 1 French, few Latin). I use several computer screens, so another one is open to one of the online German-English dictionaries. I use Collins, Cambridge, and Beolingus. Each has its own strengths. If I don’t know the word, I create a note in Logos for the word and then copy and paste what I want from the dictionary into my note. Then when I read the text later, I can just hover the mouse over a word I’m uncertain of and the meaning pops up.

    I have been trying to get Logos to think more of graduate students when they do their German and French versions of Logos. So many of their resources are translations of English texts, where there are so many really good German and French books that will never get translated into English. I also recommended that they publish Murat-Sanders German-English dictionary. It’s a little older and exhaustive. Good for theological and Biblical works.

Written by Jacob Cerone
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