Talk:Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (Wikisource)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

official translation[edit]

Without wanting to sound snobby, what is wrong with the official translation on the Bundesregierung homepage? Saintswithin 5 May 2006

There isn't a single item that makes it "wrong", but I think the translation, at least major parts of it, are not accurate, or could use revision; there are a lot of subtle nuances, which, however, can alter the meaning of a phrase, and this can be a big problem with legal documents. (Patrick 05:59, 3 June 2006 (UTC))
The Presse- und Informationsamt's translation, for some reason, changes present-tense verbs to future forms: perhaps that change was intended to follow Anglo-American conventions of law. I see that a 1991 translation made jointly by several federal ministries is also on Wikisource. It stays with the original verb tenses, but uses more obscure vocabulary. It may be useful as a resource. Chonak 01:39, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

The link is now dead. Try this one.

From some of the bizarre choices of English words, I suspect you are not native in English, and such tasks should rather be left to native English speakers with a command of German (admittedly a smaller number than the converse, but still, necessary).

On the other hand, I think this project is arrogant, unnecessary, and a waste of time, taking up resources of Wikipedians with language skills that would be better used on pages truly requiring translation. I recommend it be abandoned. Mathglot 18:52, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

glossary of terms[edit]

It will probably be helpful to create a glossary of terms for the sake of consistency, so I propose to start one here. Chonak 03:22, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Deutsch English used in comments
achten to respect A1 Chonak 05:07, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Bundesgesetzblatt as is Eingangsformel official tx has Federal Law Gazette - I agree, as is (Patrick)
das Deutsche Volk the German people (singular) Preamble, A1
die Deutschen TBD: the citizens of Germany, or the German citizens, or the people of Germany (plural) (?) Preamble we'll have to see if this leads to any difficulty weiterhin (Chonak) - I would suggest "the German citizens" (Patrick 22:57, 26 June 2006 (UTC))
Gewalt power A1 Similarly, vollziehende Gewalt is executive power. Chonak 05:07, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Land as is Eingangsformel
schützen to protect A1 protect and defend are close in meaning, as are schützen and verteidigen. Defend, like verteidigen, is a stronger term, with associations of war. The opposite of to defend is to attack, whereas the opposite of to protect is to neglect. Chonak 05:07, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
unantastbar A1
unveräußerlich inalienable A1
unverletzlich inviolable A1

suggestions for style[edit]

  • Avoid putting extended material between the two parts of an English verb: e.g., The Parliamentary Council in Bonn am Rhein has on May 23rd, 1949 determined... . Rather: On May 23, 1949, the Parliamentary Council has determined... Chonak 03:22, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


I propose the following rewrite:

On May 23rd, 1949, the Parliamentary Council determined in public session in Bonn am Rhein that the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, decided on the 8th of May of the year 1949 by the Parliamentary Council, has been adopted by the elected representations of more than two-thirds of the participating German Länder during the week of May 16th - May 22nd, 1949.

Based on this determination, the Parliamentary Council, represented by its President, has issued and announced the Basic Law. The Basic Law is herewith to be published in the Bundesgesetzblatt, according to article 145 section 3:

  • Without objection, the rewrite has been applied. Chonak 03:22, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks, it sounds much better (Patrick 06:00, 3 June 2006 (UTC))


I've applied the 'Volk = people (singular)' rule to the Preamble. kraft seiner verfassungsgebenden Gewalt is tricky. I'm changing kraft seiner... to by virtue of its.... This actually makes sense linguistically: Eng. virtue < Lat. virtus, which is "power, strength" (vgl. (k/K)raft) Chonak 02:09, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Article 1[edit]

A proposed rewrite:

Article 1 (Human Rights; Connection of State Power to Basic Rights)

(1) The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and to protect it shall be the obligation of all state power.

(2) Therefore, the German people acknowledges inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of any human society, and of peace and justice in the world.

(3) The following basic rights are binding to the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers as immediately applicable law.

It seems I've produced a version of Article 1 virtually identical to the 1991 translation cited above; unless there is some demonstrable fault with the latter, I'm inclined to let it stand and move on to some other translation. Chonak 05:39, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

recommend for deletion[edit]

The article should be deleted, as an official English translation (Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (pdf)) is already available on the German Bundestag site, and because the current version is awful, sounding in places like automatic translation.

Example from the current revision of this topic:

Article 1 (Human Rights; Foundation of State Supremacy). :
(1) The dignity of man is infrangible. To honor and to defend it shall be the mandate of all state supremacy.

Official translation from the Bundestag site of the same text:

[Human dignity – Human rights –
Legally binding force of basic rights]
(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

I looked everywhere on wikisource and couldn't find a Template for this, I tried Afd, Prod, and subst:afd1 and none of them worked.

Although Chonak's recommendation for rewriting Article I is good, there's no real need for it if an official version exists. In addition, the Basic Law has 146 Articles of which only a few have been translated here, with little work in over a year.

Recommend we delete it, and just provide a link to the official translation.

Alternatively, if the English translation is in the public domain, we could just copy the entire thing from the pdf, and base the article on that. Mathglot (talk) 07:47, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like maybe we can just do the latter, i.e., copy the entire EN translation.
If you follow the Deutsch Interwiki link to the German article equivalent, it has two links, the latter of which links to the German Wikisource copy of the entire text of the 2006 version of the Basic Law in the original German, all 146 articles.
If they can do it, then so can we for the EN version (and let's not forget to add Interwiki links back and forth between them). Mathglot (talk) 05:35, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
(for reference, here's the Scriptorium link about this topic) Mathglot (talk) 05:40, 16 February 2009 (UTC)