Wednesday, May 27, 2009

German Legal Term of the Day

Einlagsmeldungschwelle: earnings report threshold - the percentage of total shares in a company requiring reporting to the German securities regulator.

Yes, German legal terms are very long.  For those of you keeping score at home, the English phrase is 23 letters to the German's 22.  In theory, it makes no difference whether twenty-odd letters are slammed together or spaced out but, in reality, that solid block of consonants is like reading bricks.  Your eyes just stop and all you see is letters, not words.

Most of the project I'm working on right now is in English, but many of the notes are written in German, so I keep three books at my elbow - a two volume German-English/English-German financial dictionary and a GE/EG bank law dictionary.  I'm on the hunt for a German word that actually takes up more than one line.


  1. I guess I just have a lot of practice that my eyes immediately parsed that word correctly into its parts?

  2. Yeah, it takes practice. I'm over the hump now but still get a lot of pleasure out of the German approach to legal terms.