I took German in school and for five years we did everything but learn how to have a conversation. We translated sentences and if you did not get the entire sentence perfect you basically got zero points on the exam. I remember I was able to read Herman Hesse’s Der Steppenwolf in the end, but not really speak. That was decades ago and I can still not speak for the simpel reason that I have not practiced.

Spending spring in Berlin, I trying to make use of my lost German skills. Sure, if you are in a cool store in Mitte, the sales person speaks perfect English but as soon you are outside the middle-class or tourist areas, it is a whole different situation; buying a metro card or wine all of a sudden becomes a linguistic adventure.

Another thing that school did not prepare me for was gym German. I mean, you do not do much talking at the gym with strangers, but sometimes you would like to communicate a little bit.

Here are the essential sentences I need help translating.

  • Bitch, do not interrupt me in the middle of a set. Rude.
  • No, I am obviously using these dumbbells.
  • I agree. What kind of schmuck name is “McFit” anyway?
  • Yeah, I would love to have a coffee with you. When?
  • Keep your fucking voice down, this is not the hair saloon.
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