Interpreting and translating is often more complicated than you would think. Especially so when one language has a single expression for a certain circumstance or object while another has two or more. Everyone who has been to Germany and gone castle-hopping will know – because in German, castle can be either “Burg” or “Schloss”, whereas English only has the one word. And that’s not the end of the problem, either. “Schloss” does not only mean castle, but can also mean “lock”, as well – something you will learn at the latest if your bicycle gets stolen in Germany and you want to report the theft to the police.

Now, you might be thinking that cannot be true in law – if only it were so simple. Sometimes, certain words have more than one translation, as well. The English word “shareholder” can be either “Gesellschafter” or “Aktionär” in German, depending on the legal form of the company. What’s more, legal terms can vary by region. When translating the word insolvency into German, for example, you need to know if you are translating for Germans (Insolvenz) or Austrians (Krida).

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