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Handel - retail?  
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2014-06-25, 09:36  like dislike  Spam?  
Can "Handel" mean retail (usually Einzelhandel)? For instance, both Rewe and Tengelmann say that they are Handelsunternehmen
As far as I am concerned, they are retailers (and describing them as "trading companies" would imply something other than what they are in English). Does anyone know whether they do actually have significant operations other than retail which might justify another choice of word, or is "Handelsunternehmen" simply a popular way for companies which would be described as retailers in English to be described in German (possibly because it encourages us to focus not just on their stores, but also on their behind the scenes work making deals with suppliers - all of which is fully encompassed by the word "retailer" in English)
Handel = commerce  #759837
von romy (CZ/GB), 2014-06-25, 09:42  like dislike  Spam?  
Einzelhandel - retail
"Handel" encompasses retail, wholesale, trading and other commercial companies. The chambers of industry and commerce are called Industrie- und Handels -kammern. "Einzelhandel" (retail) is a specific part of "Handel", but not a synonym.
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2014-06-25, 09:51  like dislike  Spam?  
Well, we do have "e-commerce companies" in English, but that means online retailers. In my view calling a company a commerce company doesn't really carry much meaning in English (I wouldn't know what sector it operated in from that description - whereas if you say a trading company, I at least get a picture of a company buying and selling, perhaps something like the East India Company which traded in commodities with foreign countries and brought them back to Britain).
Do you think I should call Rewe and Tengelmann commerce companies when translating Handelsunternehmen? I don't think that would say much to a native English speaker and certainly wouldn't tip them off about the significant retail operations. When they say they're Handelsunternhemen in German, what does that make you assume their activities are (avoiding the word Handel)? e.g. wholesale, retail, buying and selling?
Are these companies intentionally using a broad, ambiguous, non-specific term when they call themselves Handelsunternehmen?
It depends who you translate it for. For the general public, I think your translation is spot-on.  #759840
anonymous, 2014-06-25, 09:51  like dislike  Spam?  213.61.158...
In a legal context based on German law, I would suggest "retail company" and the German term in () as it usually makes reference to "Handelsrecht" (i.e. the German law on partnerships and companies) or "Handelsgesellschaft" as defined in the German Commercial Code (HGB), for which term there is no English equivalent.
Greetings from yesterday's anonym lawyer linguist
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2014-06-25, 10:04  like dislike  Spam?  
Hi anonymous,
I want this for an annual report, so I guess it's probably OK to translate a bit more freely than for a contract. However, now I'm a bit worried about what they're trying to express when they say "Handelsunternehmen". It sounds like as you say, they're trying to express something we don't have a precise word for in English. Certainly "retailer"(or "retail company" - I see no significant difference between "retailer" and "retail company", for me those are simply synonyms)  would be what I would describe Rewe and Tengelmann as in English. But Handelsunternehmen does seem to encompass more than that. On the other hand, we don't have a word for that, and our most similar term - trading company - tends to imply something a bit different (although it could be used and would only be somewhat misleading).
Corporation  #759846
von romy (CZ/GB), 2014-06-25, 10:09  like dislike  Spam?  
I don't know Rewe or Tengelmann particularly well, but I could imagine that they do also other things, in addition to running retail outlets. They could be involved in real estate, capital funds management, insurance businesses, production of goods, you name it. I think it would be very risky to limit them to "retail companies" (Einzelhandelsunternehmen), unless you know for sure that they don't do anything else but only retail. The German terms "Handelsunternehmen" or "Wirtschaftsunternehmen" are most often what Americans would call "corporations".
von Iriemon, 2014-06-25, 10:15  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.122...

I think the last answer is particularly helpful. So if you have a term for a company selling goods - as opposed to producing goods - that's it....
von Windfall (GB), 2014-06-25, 10:21  like dislike  Spam?  
Aha, yes, they do do other things. However, Rewe calls itself a Handels- und Touristikkonzerne and its primary operations are food retail and tourism. If I called it a corporation and tourism company, firstly people would wonder why I'd done that (it sounds very weird in English) and second, I would lose information about its retail operations. I don't think "Handelsunternehmen" can be meant as a generic term meaning coropration there. I think it is intended to let me know what sector it operates in. The question is whether it's OK just to say retail (several German retailers seem to refer to themselves as Handelsunternehmen to describe this part of their operations) or whether it is broader, but less broad than simply "corporation" .
Tengelmann's website doesn't contrast Handelsunternehmen with another sector, but it does call itself a Multibranchenhändler, which seems to mean it retails food, textiles, DIY products etc.The word "Handelsunternehmen" and "Händler" therefore appear to be used to describe retail operations, I'm just not sure if this word is used to mean retail and wholesale, just retail or something else, e.g. trading company. On the other hand, it sounds like when they use these words it doesn't even make it clear to German native speakers that they are retailers, so perhaps they are trying to avoid labelling themselves clearly.
what about "retail business"?  #759855
anonymous, 2014-06-25, 10:23  like dislike  Spam?  213.61.158...
Have just googled "retail business" "tengelmann" and come up with a hit under tengelmann dot de, so this term is obviously used by Tengelmann itself.
I can see where you're coming from re the term "trading company".
Maybe (or rather hopefully!) having a look at what they say there may help.
von Windfall (GB), 2014-06-25, 10:25  like dislike  Spam?  
4;Iriemon, based on the most helpful answer, it sounds like Handelsunternehmen are wholesalers, which would not be the right thing to describe Rewe or Tengelmann as. I think I'm back to a choice between the somewhat misleading (but relatively literal) "trading company" or the appropriately descriptive, but literally incorrect translation of "retailer"/"retail company".
von Iriemon, 2014-06-25, 10:27  like dislike  Spam?  80.144.122...
well, in the answer it says that Handelsunternehmen includes both wholesalers and retailers... and I found that "trading company" is something else..
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2014-06-25, 10:28  like dislike  Spam?  
4;anon "retail business", "retailer" and "retail company" are all synonyms of each other in my view (except "retail company" doesn't cover sole traders and partnerships). I think I'm just going to have to accept that there is no simple translation of "Handelsunternehmen", but that in some contexts German can use it to mean "retailer" (but that many German native speakers are uncomfortable with this translation).
Thanks, everyone  #759863
von Windfall (GB), 2014-06-25, 10:28  like dislike  Spam?  
the  #759865
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2014-06-25, 10:35  like dislike  Spam?  
4;Iriemon, I'm pleased that "trading company" is off the table. That always felt misleading to me. In that case, I guess it's "retailer" or "wholesaler and retailer" or "wholesaler" depending on the context. And I have to know what the company does to choose the translation (I can't describe a company that just does retailing as a "wholesaler and retailer" as that term would definitely imply that the company does both, whereas "Handelsunternehmen" seems OK for companies that do both or just do one). Maybe we should put it in the dict as:
Handelsunternehmen [Einzelhändler] - retailer
Handelsunternehmen [Großhändler] - wholesaler
Handelsunternehmen [Großhändler und Einzelhändler] - wholesaler and retailer
one last remark (based on German law): Handelsunternehmen is a synonym for "Handelsfirma"   #759871
anonymous, 2014-06-25, 10:53  like dislike  Spam?  213.61.158...
for which there is already an entry in dict.

"Handels..." in this context refers to the definitions used in the HGB (German Commercial Code)
von Windfall (GB), 2014-06-25, 10:54  like dislike  Spam?  
Oh dear, that's unfortunate, as we've just established that "trading company" is an inappropriate translation!
If you know a scrivener notary, they probably know what to call (or how to describe) a German Handelsgesellschaft in UK English  #759876
anonymous, 2014-06-25, 11:02  like dislike  Spam?  213.61.158...
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2014-06-25, 11:15  like dislike  Spam?  
4;anon, I don't think that would help (or at least, it would be likely to produce a translation that would satisfy German notaries and confuse non-German readers), and I'm hoping that's not what's wanted, as often you end up with a translated word or term that isn't meaningful to native English speakers because it only exists as a translation of a word that doesn't exist in English. I think those translations are fine for documents that are only to be used by the courts and not meant for general consumption, but annual reports don't fit those criteria.
And besides, I don't know any notaries. :)
I understand (: ... I have just found "trading company" in the REWE Annual Report 2008 via linguee "logistik- und handelsunternehmen"   #759885
anonymous, 2014-06-25, 11:22  like dislike  Spam?  213.61.158...
"rewe-group dot com" and by putting "REWE Annual Report 2008" into Google.
Now you'll hate me ...
von Windfall (GB), 2014-06-25, 11:34  like dislike  Spam?  
4;anonymous, I don't hate you, I simply don't take existing translations as definitive proof of an appropriate translation. Translators are only human (and many of the ones who translate financial stuff aren't very good - including the ones who translate for major corporations. I've seen some horrible mistakes out there). After the annual report I'm currently translating is published, whatever I write is also likely to get on Linguee. That's why I've been trying to get to the bottom of what's actually meant by "Handelsunterhnehmen" in this context, rather than looking for existing translations of it. If we all just copy each other, mistakes multiply.
What you say is too true for eur-lex documents in many cases ... have a good day!  #759900
anonymous, 2014-06-25, 12:17  like dislike  Spam?  213.61.158...
von timfefe (AU/AT), 2014-06-25, 18:13  like dislike  Spam?  
"commerce company" is a meaningless term for a native English speaker.

A company that calls itself purely a "trading company" without further details rings alarm bells in my mind about the nature of its activities.

Would "diversified retail group" be suitable for your translation purposes?
von Windfall (GB), 2014-06-25, 18:17  like dislike  Spam?  
4;tinfefe, thanks for your confirmation that trading and commerce company don't work (I'm glad I'm not out on my own with that opinion). I'm actually going to stick with "retailer" for now and look out for any signs that my company also has wholesaling operations, and if so, switch to "retailer and wholesaler".

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