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English-German Translation of
Degree classifications

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Frage:
Degree classifications in Germany  
von Windfall (GB), 2018-07-11, 12:57  Spam?  
If someone gets the "Prädikat „sehr gut"" in their degree in Germany, is that the top classification of degree possible? Would it be reasonable to translate this as "a first class degree"/"a first" (this being the highest level of degree class possible in the British system). "Very good" seems a bit weird as a degree class in (British) English, and doesn't sound particularly impressive to me.
Antwort: 
Yes...  #893788
von dhk (DE), Last modified: 2018-07-11, 13:26  Spam?  
...it's the best you can get. Comparable to an "A". (It's not a degree, rather a grade. You can get a "sehr gut" (or "1") for homework or tests, but also for your final certificate.)
I agree that "very good" doesn't sound all too impressive, but aren't letters (e.g. "A") used for this in the British system?
Chat:     
von MichaelK (US), 2018-07-11, 14:16  Spam?  
 #893789
I agree with dhk. For example, in German legal education, only about 0.5% (1 of 200) applicants pass the  Staatsexamen with sehr gut. The note vollbefriedigend is already well above average in that legal education context. In other fields of endeavor, it may be different.
Antwort: 
von Windfall (GB), 2018-07-11, 14:17  Spam?  
 #893790
Thanks, both of you
Antwort: 
(graduated) with distinction ?  #893791
von RedRufus (DE), 2018-07-11, 14:20  Spam?  
Antwort: 
von Windfall (GB), 2018-07-11, 14:35  Spam?  
 #893792
4;Redrufus, that sounds quite unclear to me. I think the meaning of distinction varies from university to university and possibly even from department to department. It also sounds far too similar to "graduating with honours" which is not massively different from graduating at all, as it simply means you got a third or above. I don't think people in the UK would understand "with distinction" as meaning "with the top grade", although "a first class degree with distinction" sounds better than "a first class degree".
Chat:     
von MichaelK (US), Last modified: 2018-07-11, 14:58  Spam?  
 #893793
Here's a Goethe Universität grading chart for law students. The suggested translations might be helpful, even if just as a starting point. The 'seldomly' might be proper grammar, but I advise against its use. :-)
https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/38295891/02Jura_grades.pdf
Chat:     
Nice find, Michael ;-)  #893794
von parker11 (DE), Last modified: 2018-07-11, 15:31  Spam?  
Also see the note on the lefthand side of that page:

As can be encountered from these few remarks, the grading system for law students and especially for degree candidates is extremely strict and the grading cannot literally be translated into another language without facing the risk of fundamentally distorting the standards applied resulting in a misinterpretation of the grading.

BTW, is there a difference between seldomly and rarely in general English language?
Chat:     
I agree, parker, but...  #893795
von dhk (DE), 2018-07-11, 15:23  Spam?  
...this obviously applies to whatever translation windfall eventually chooses.
In other words, her question "Would it be reasonable to translate this as..." should be answered with "No" (regardless of what comes after the "...")
Antwort: 
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2018-07-11, 15:33  Spam?  
 #893796
Thanks. First class degrees used to be rarely awarded in the UK, but since people started paying for their degrees, that has changed and they are now very common. I figure in that case I might translate "the highest possible degree classification of "sehr gut", which is seldom awarded by German universities."
4;dhk, thank you for answering my question directly in your second answer. I hadn't understood that at all from your first answer. In answer to your question in your first post, A, B, C etc. are grades used at school. When you get to university in the UK, the classification changes to 1st (the top level), 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, ordinary degree, fail.
Chat:     
von MichaelK (US), 2018-07-11, 15:49  Spam?  
 #893797
4;parker: I think 'seldom' and 'rarely' are synonymous. As you can see, I also think that 'seldom' can be used as an adjective or as an adverb. Some people disagree and do use 'seldomly.' Others (like yours truly) think 'seldomly' is odd and should not be used.

As an aside, 'seldom' and 'rarely' have attached themselves loosely to certain set expressions. Replacing one with the other in those expressions could make the expression sound just a bit unfamiliar, but not wrong.
Chat:     
Thx windfall  #893798
von dhk (DE), Last modified: 2018-07-11, 16:07  Spam?  
With all these different scales around in just one single country (did we mention "summa cum laude - magna cum laude - cum laude - rite - insuffizienter" yet?), one wonders why people dont sort this out once and for all. E.g. by a scale of 0 - 9 points (with using only select values if you need lower granularity).
But then again similar things could be said about non-metric units... (don't go there, DHK, just DON'T)
Antwort: 
von Windfall (GB), 2018-07-11, 16:14  Spam?  
 #893799
4;dhk, I think you're confusing us with the US. We don't use magna cum laude etc.
On the other hand, the GCSE system did just do precisely what you suggest here and switch from letters to a numerical scale, so we now have letters for grades for exams those of us over a certain age passed and numbers for those below that age, where 9 is the highest grade (similarly to Switzerland, the opposite of Germany). I expect they did it because they keep having to invent new, higher grades, as the system is designed to get the highest grade for as many people as possible, which then leads to the problem that you can't tell apart people's ability by their grade. I expect within a few years the highest grade for a GCSE will actually be a 12 or 15.
Chat:     
Sorry, windfall,...  #893800
von dhk (DE), 2018-07-11, 16:49  Spam?  
I didn't want to bash the UK specifically. It was more a rant about people in general, including German folks with their preposterous "x cum laude" (x € {ø, "magna, summa}).
Antwort: 
von Windfall (GB), 2018-07-11, 17:02  Spam?  
 #893801
4;dhk, I agree, it is all a bit silly.
Antwort: 
Thanks, Michael (15:49).  #893827
von parker11 (DE), 2018-07-12, 17:47  Spam?  
Antwort: 
von Windfall (GB), 2018-07-12, 23:12  Spam?  
 #893829
Thanks, Michael and Parker

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