A human translation service (for genealogy-related material only)
Transserv is a project of the German Society for Computergenealogy. A number of volunteers are dedicated to help you in translating your genealogical documents from one language into another one.
The service is based on E-Mail and you have to follow some special regularities, to get your documents translated.
Note: This service appears to be nonfunctional as of approximately 2008. Emails are rejected as undeliverable.
First line of the e-mail text should read
where SRC stands for the source language and DEST stands for the destination language, for which the 3-letters-abbreviation has to be inserted in each case.
for an English to German translation (mind the # sign at the beginning!)
Currently we support the following languages: CZEch, ENGlish, DUTch, FREnch, GERman, POLish
Please use the three-letter abbreviation as indicated above in bold face.
Length and number of submissions
Your message should have a maximum length of 40 lines The Translation Team forwarder counts a line as 60 characters. This may differ from your count if you use a narrow font or a wide window for composing your request. Keep in mind that we are doing this for free, usually besides our daily work. The shorter your message is, the higher is the chance that we will do the translation in our next coffee break. If your text to be translated is longer than 40 lines cut it into shorter pieces and resend it. Note: if your request was refused with a ridiculously high line count (e.g. 40000+ lines) you probably sent a binary attachment. See next paragraph.
In case that all translators for a given language pair are busy your request will be queued and processed as soon as a translator becomes available. A message indicating that your request has been queued is a good indicator that the service has become saturated. As a courtesy to other customers you should not submit too many requests at a time. No more than 5 requests from a single address will be queued at any time.
As this service is for the genealogy groups you should stick to the subject of genealogy. That is letters to/from cousins, archives, parishes etc. The program cannot check it but the translator can. The forwarding program cannot process image files or attachments. Please send plain eMail textfiles only. Some modern mail programs offer sending HTML (rich text) files with fancy background etc. Please turn this option off as it won't be processed. See also: How to Turn OFF HTML or RTF in Various E-mail Software Programs
If you cannot copy the document(s) to a plain textfile and need to send it via ordinary mail, fax or as an image attachment, use #S (instead of #GER>ENG) as the language indicator and describe the document (size, age, preferred way of transmission) Note that these #Special requests are usually not for free. The assigned translator will negotiate the details with you. Important:Currently the #S switch refers only to German documents which are to be be translated to English. Please do not use the #S switch for e.g. Polish documents. It would be automatically forwarded to a GER>ENG translator who likely will not be able to help you. I'm thinking about a more general solution. Proper addressing - Note that most languages use different grammatical forms when addressing one or more people, male or female, familiar or formal. If your request is not clear in this matter, please tell us whom you are writing to. This is especially important if you divide a long request into two parts. It may be alienating to be adressed formal in the first part of a letter and familiar in the second part.
Send your requests to
None. A "Thank you" to the translator would be nice. The volunteers are willing to help, but of course we can't make any guarantees regarding correctness nor can we be held liable in any way. If you need guarantee you should ask a professional translator.
Please sign your request with a real name, not just your screen handle It's more fun to help a real person, not just email@example.com
How to join the team
If you'd like to join us as a translator please read here.