In his book, A German Life: An Autobiography, Gustar makes an interesting observation. It is strange but true.
He wrote that German was never a real language of translation. There was no such thing as translating English into German. “I never met an English-German translation which satisfied me” he admitted. It is a fact, but it’s still interesting.
Before writing his worksheet Spanish, Gustar developed a system. He called it the ‘non-self’ (nachlass) principle. This German word means ‘non-content’.
The worksheet Spanish he developed could not have been an accurate translation. For instance, his worksheet Spanish doesn’t represent a right or wrong answer. It is merely a way to learn how to translate into German.
You might ask how it would work if you are trying to translate an English sentence and substitute some words. Well, just give it a try. Read this sentence and translate it. You may find out that your translation is not what the English speaker wanted to convey.
When trying to understand or identify the right answers in any given context, you must first think and then translate. This is not easy for most people. When you think about the correct answer, you translate it into English. In this way, the correct answer is revealed to you.
While translating a worksheet into German, you must translate the whole worksheet into German. Think and translate as though you were trying to translate the entire worksheet. You must make the translation in an original and natural way.
The German translation will not be correct if you simply translate it. As you are translating the worksheet into German, you must think about what the person said and translate it as you would do when translating the entire worksheet. This is called original thought.