The language of meetings: False friends

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    Let’s continue “skilling up” on our vocabulary. Here, we’ll look at some false friends relating to meetings. False friends are pairs of words that sound similar in German and English. But their meanings are very different, so they can cause misunderstandings.
    Now, in this exercise, we’d like you to translate some German words and sentences into English, being careful to avoid the false friends. Let’s begin.

    Our first word is used for the device that you need when giving a presentation in order to show your slides on a screen. Please translate this word.
    German: Beamer
    English: projector

    Beamer” is wrong here. In North America, a car or motorbike made by the German car manufacturer BMW is called a “Beamer”. The German word Beamer is “projector” in English. Translate this sentence now.
    German: Benötigen Sie für Ihre Präsentation einen Beamer?
    English: Do you need a projector for your presentation?

    Our next word refers to the words you write down, for example, during or after a phone call or meeting. Translate this word, please.
    German: Notiz
    English: notes

    You can’t say “notice” here as this means “information”. The English translation of the German word Notiz is “notes”. Translate this sentence, please.
    German: Leider kann ich meine Notizen nicht finden.
    English: Unfortunately, I can’t find my notes.

    Our next word is used for the notes someone takes during a meeting. Translate this word, please.
    German: Protokoll
    English: minutes

    Don’t say “protocol” here. Although the English word “protocol” is also Protokoll in German, this is used mainly for the rules of behaviour in diplomacy and politics. When the German word Protokoll refers to the notes taken in a meeting, it is translated as “minutes” in English. Translate this sentence now.
    German: Thomas, könntest du bitte das Protokoll schreiben?
    English: Thomas, could you take the minutes, please?

    OK, our last word refers to the point of time when something takes place. Translate this word, now.
    German: Termin
    English: appointment

    “Term” is wrong here as this either means “the name for something”, the individual parts of your studies or the length of time that someone holds a position in business or politics. The English translation of the German word Termin is “appointment”. Now, translate this sentence.
    German: Ich habe morgen um neun Uhr einen Zahnarzttermin.
    English: I’ve got a dentist’s appointment at nine tomorrow.

    Well done.

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