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    Help! Marketing slogan - difficult to translate


    Help! Marketing slogan - difficult to translate


    I need to translate the following strapline, and it's proving very difficult. Can anyone make any suggestions? It reads:

    "Wissen ist Handwerk. Sie verstehen Ihr Handwerk. Wir verstehen das Handwerk."

    The "Handwerk" in this case is the heating & plumbing trade. The originator wants to keep the threefold use of whatever term is used for "Handwerk", but I can't think of a suitable term to cover all 3. To my mind "skill" or "trade" only succesfully translates 2 of the 3, and "craft" doesn't work at all. Any ideas?

    AuthorLexicoll (654921) 26 Jan 23, 13:14

    Oh, Wortspiele übersetzen ... klappt fast nie.

    Ich verstehe aber auch das Original gar nicht erst: Was soll denn "Wissen ist Handwerk" bedeuten?

    #1Author Raudona (255425) 26 Jan 23, 13:32

    Craftsmanship - craft - craftmen?

    (Oder sagt man [sic] heutzutage craftsperson?)

    #2Author mbshu (874725) 26 Jan 23, 13:33


    Maybe you could try something like: Knowledge is the key for every trade. You know your trade. We know skilled trades.

    Edit - or combine that with mbshu's, which I hadn't seen: Knoweldge is craftsmanship, you know your craft, we know craftsmanship? No, not that, but something like it? This way it sounds vaguely insulting.

    #3AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904)  26 Jan 23, 13:38


    Tja, gute Frage! Ich glaube, sie meinen Knowhow nach langjähriger Erfahrung. "Knowledge is a skill" oder so was.

    Das Beste, was ich z.Z. geschafft habe, ist "Industry": "Knowledge is an industry. You understand your industry. We understand industry." Das finde ich aber nicht komplett richtig.

    Das Problem liegt darin, dass es auf Englisch kein Wort, das gleichzeitig "Trade" und "Skill" beduetet :(

    #4AuthorLexicoll (654921)  26 Jan 23, 13:44

    Na ja, "He knows his trade" heißt ja "Er versteht sein Handwerk" - damit ließe sich bestimmt etwas machen.

    "Knowledge is an industry" klingt eher nach Firmen, die Bildung anbieten. Oder nach Spionage. (?)

    #5Author Raudona (255425) 26 Jan 23, 13:52

    "Knowledge is an industry" would suggest to me that there are lots of big companies making money using knowledge.

    Is there a reason you haven't asked the customer what the first part means?

    Looking online I see there are also some bakers using "Wissen ist Handwerk" - in a way that seems to suggest that they mean "Learning/teaching is a craft, just like baking is". But you only gather that's what they mean from the content that follows; they offer courses for bakers. Your example could mean something else.

    Whatever it means, I'd also suggest offering them at least three or four possible translations, not all of which repeat the same word - others might use alliteration, rhyme or some other clever wordplay. That way they'll see how they are limiting themselves pointlessly by requiring a certain type of wordplay.

    #6Author CM2DD (236324)  26 Jan 23, 15:28

    I'd watch out with "Handwerk" and "industry" btw... Handwerk literally involves using your hands, and it's carried out by skilled craftspeople, who have learnt a specialised trade and are proud of it; it's often creative, almost an art. "Industry" has quite different associations; people might not like the comparison. The Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks (ZDH) uses the term "crafts" or "skilled crafts", for instance. The EU also uses variations on "craft", e.g. "small crafts".

    If "Wir verstehen das Handwerk" means that they know all about the skilled crafts branch, then that third part is the one you have least wiggle room with. I'd start out with that one. But you could fit the repeated element into "know", too:

    Knowledge requires expertise. You're an expert in your craft. We're experts in the skilled crafts.

    #7Author CM2DD (236324)  26 Jan 23, 15:55


    I know what they're getting at from previously translated materials over the last couple of decades. The company sells itself to a large degree on its 70+ years' experience and expertise, the R&D behind its products, etc. So in this instance they're talking about their knowledge being a skill their customers can benefit from. Their customers in turn are in the HVAC sector, i.e. the skilled trades, and thus this wretched use of "Handwerk". There just isn't a single word in English (that I can think of) that covers the meaning of an ability possessed as well as a function performed.

    I can use "Industry" in all 3 sentences and so keep the word play, sort of, but it's not great. I can make an argument for "the heating industry" and the "the heating trade" being essentially synonymous, so that bit works, but while you can talk about "the knowledge industry" (Know-how and all that jazz) and that gets close to what they mean, I'm not convinced it's the best translation for "Wissen ist Handwerk". I think it loses the sense of there being a skill behind all that knowledge, born of experience, that they possess.

    #8AuthorLexicoll (654921) 26 Jan 23, 15:57

    OK, you just sounded a bit uncertain (Tja, gute Frage! Ich glaube, sie meinen Knowhow nach langjähriger Erfahrung. "Knowledge is a skill" oder so was.)

    Knowledge is a skill. You're a skilled craftsperson. We know the skilled crafts.

    #9Author CM2DD (236324) 26 Jan 23, 16:06

    I can see where you're coming from. The problem there is we don't refer to the heating and plumbing sector as skilled *crafts*, rather they are skilled *trades*. A heating installer or a plumber is a tradesman, not a craftsman; they're performing a skilled service, they aren't skilfully making (crafting) something. And that's where it falls over because "knowledge is a skilled trade" is just nonsense.

    #10AuthorLexicoll (654921) 26 Jan 23, 16:18

    skill is know-how - and you know how

    #11Authorchristopher H (265481) 26 Jan 23, 16:20

    Following on from #9:

    Knowledge is a skill. You're a skilled tradesman*. We know about skills. (Or: We know all about skills.)

    * Or -person?

    #12AuthorHecuba - UK (250280)  26 Jan 23, 16:46

    Hmm, wenn Handwerk als "trade" verstanden wird, dann denke ich eher an sowas:

    Knowledge means business. You know your business. We realise/understand/do our business.

    Klappt auch nicht ganz, aber vielleicht kommt so ja jemand zu einer besseren Idee.

    #13Author reverend (314585) 26 Jan 23, 16:55

    Eine Kombination aus knowledge / craftsmanship / business ?

    #14Author no me bré (700807) 26 Jan 23, 18:35

    I always forget how much of corporate translating is trying to rescue people from their own bad slogans.

    Trade workers know that knowledge is know-how. You know how your trade works. We know how trades work.

    #15Author Lonelobo (595126) 26 Jan 23, 20:58

    Ein Versuch:

    Craft and trade require knowledge. You know your craft We know our trade.

    #16Author cassandra _1 (1375961)  26 Jan 23, 23:12
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