Gestalter der Weltgeschicke

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Gerdihono, May 4, 2013.

  1. Gerdihono Member

    Canadian English
    Hallo Allerseits!

    OK, so I am doing a translation from German to English for one of my Univeristy professors for a course he is offering in English next semester about the Two Germanies (East and West) of the Cold War period. Anywho, I am having trouble translating this term " Gestalter der Weltgeschicke". Now I just can't find a way to coin this term that doesn't sound awkward or weird in English. The problem truly lies in the word "Weltgeschicke". To give some context, the paragraph where this phrase is situated is mentioning how the role of "Gestaler der Weltgeschicke" fell from the European states to the USA and the Soviet Union. I'm actually translating Spiegel articles of the time, so you could probably find it online. Finally, to attempt it myself I have tried "Former of world fortunes" or "Former of the world's fate", I also try the word future, because the use of fate and stuff in English sounds very odd and overly dramatic to me. Perhaps as a non-native German speaker there is an implication of the word "Geschicke" here that I am not getting.

    Danke sehr!


    Oh I also just read that "Geschicke" has another meaning in plural as a general term for ore. So could this maybe just be an idiomatic expression (that I can't find anywhere) that means something more along the lines of "Former of world politics" or "...of world views"? This would make more sense to me!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2013
  2. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    The word "Geschicke" is related to "schicken" (sent by the gods), "geschehen" (let something happen) and "Geschichte" (history - what happened). I hope you get the idea.

    "maker of world history" is not wrong, but it refers more to the past than to the present.
  3. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    The style is poetic, and the word is seldom.
    It is also connected to "Schicksal", but not in an fatalistic way.


    creator of the world fate/of the world destiny
  4. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    This has nothing to do with schicken=to send. This is a more recent meaning of schicken which plays no role in the meaning of Geschick. The original meaning is to cause to happen with derivative meanings to order or to arrange. This older meaning has today survived mainly in derived words like schicklich or Geschick.

    Schicken is not attested in Old High German but it is probably indeed related to geschehen, the former being a causative derivation of the latter.
  5. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member
    (Deutsches Wörterbuch, Grimm)
    (I marked the essential part bold. Note that Grimm wrote in an old spelling from 19th century)
    This proofs Bernd's statement "the former (schicken) being a causative derivation of the latter (geschehen)."
    "Geschicke" is the long form of "Geschick".The verb "schicken" (to make that something happens) in the given sense is now obsolete, "schicken" in the current language has another meaning (to send someone/something somewhere).

    So we get
    creator/former of the world fate/world occurences/of the world destiny (including politics, but not restricted to politics)

    After thinking about it in the context: "Former of world fortunes" seems to be correct, too. Concerning the poetic style it seems to be accurate.
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  6. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    I think "former" sounds slightly duff. "Shaper" would be better, but even that sounds insufficiently prosaic (or, if you prefer, poetic), and I suggest "architect" as a possible improvement. With that, I think "destiny" would work better than "fortunes".

    "Architects of world destiny"
  7. Gerdihono Member

    Canadian English
    Hmm well thanks for the help everyone! and I certainly learned something. At least I'm on the right track!
  8. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    You are very welcome.

    One remark.
    With "poetic" style I mean an old style mostly used in literature.

    In German "Former" is a rather unusal word, it is seldom used. "Architekt" is a more technical word. In German it is more for planning, while "Former" includes all aspects, as well planning as doing/creating of the essential parts.

    Does "Architect" include the same connotation as the German "Former" (the one who molds/shapes/gives forms + "poetic" sound)? - at least this seems to follow from Edinburgh's statement - because he is bilingual I believe him.
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  9. Gerdihono Member

    Canadian English
    Well to answer your question Hutschi, I am no native speaker of German, however I don't actually agree with the use of "Architect". For me as an English speaker, "Architect" implies the exact same thing in English as you explained of the German. "Former" also sounds slightly odd/poetic in English, but I also think "Shaper" as previously suggested might be the best sounding choice.
  10. oberhaenslir Banned

    German, Switzerland

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