Once you have finished working through a grammar such as April Wilson's German Quickly, and perhaps even before you are finished, you will want to attempt to translate theological German.
- Attempt some passages from a German translation of the Bible. There is lots of common theological vocabulary in Romans 1:1-7. See Luther's translation Roemer 1:1-7 (Luther Bibel 1545) or a contemporary German translation Roemer 1:1-7 (Hoffnung für Alle) You can access the entire Bible for free easily in either of these translations at www.biblegateway.com.
- Find something you would like to translate. Theological preferences vary widely! Find something you are interested in.
- If possible, find the text in both German and English so you can check your translations.
- It is nice to have variety. Plus variety helps you improve the breadth of what you can translate.
- Helmut Ziefle's book Modern Theological German has selections from the Bible, Martin Luther, Adolf Schlatter, Albert Schweitzer, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Helmut Thielicke, Hans Walter Wolff, Peter Stuhlmacher, Helmut Class, Dietrich Mendt, Theo Sorg, Gerhard Maier, and Rainer Riesner. See my review of Ziefle's book at Textbooks and Grammars
- In the German reading course I took with other Duke University graduate students, we translated about a page from Friedrich Nietzsche, Herman Hesse, Karl Kraus, Peter Altenberg, Heinz Politzer, Rainer Maria Rilke, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich von Schiller, Sigmund Freud, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, G. W. F. Hegel, Karl Barth, and Herbert Marcuse.
- Luther Seminary's introductory course includes readings from Bonhoeffer, Thielicke, Barth and Moltmann.
- Christopher Begg's course at The Catholic University of America included readings from J. Michel, J. Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI--of course!), G. Fischer & M. Hoitschka, A. Ohler, S. Pfürtner, O. Keel, J. Betz, and B. Schüller.
- Karin Grundler-Whitacre's course at Harvard Divinity School includes readings from Barth, Bonhoeffer, Hildegard von Bingen, Kant, Luther, Rahner, Schleiermacher, Soelle, and Tillich.
- Bonhoeffer's Life Together / Gemeinsames Leben is a popular choice. The page numbers of the German edition are clearly displayed in the English critical edition so you can compare.
- From a Duke New Testament student: "I was going to let you know that a fantastic book for NT students to translate is Martin Hengel's Die vier Evanglien und das eine Evangelium von Jesus Christus. It is scholarly, relevant, a great book, and the English translation is readily available (The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ; warning, though, the English skips some sentences)."
Sample translation practice:
We have access through Duke University Library to the online digital edition of the new edition of the Church Dogmatics at The Digital Karl Barth Library.
There are 8,000 pages in the Church Dogmatics. For recommendations on what to read from the Church Dogmatics, see Ben Myers’s blog post The best bits of Barth's dogmatics: or, how to read the CD on your holiday
Sample practice 1.
Here is a two-page section from the Church Dogmatics on "the church."
German Translation Practice--Church Dogmatics by Barth - Section 62.doc (67.0K)
Sample practice 2.
Here is some more German translation practice from 5 summary statements in the Church Dogmatics based on the best sections recommended by Ben Myers in his post
Sample practice 3.
Here is more theological German practice from 8 summary statements of the best sections of Barth's Church Dogmatics as recommended by the commenters at Ben Myers’s post
German Translation Practice--Church Dogmatics by Barth - Sections 4 8 28 41 49 64 69 71.doc (49.5K)
Sample practice 4.
Download German Translation Practice--Church Dogmatics by Barth - IV.1 Sections 57-63.doc (52.0K)
Sample practice 5.
See http://ergebung.wordpress.com/ for a number of readings in German with some translation help provided.
What other sources for theological German translation practice would you recommend?