German Style Guide

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Please note that this style guide is a work in progress. Send your suggestions for changes and corrections to Noelle Linden.



The purpose of this guide is to provide stylistic guidelines for in-house translators and volunteers working on the Viewer, web pages, KB articles, e-mails, blog entries, announcements and wiki pages of Second Life and XStreetSL.

By style, we refer to preferred writing techniques to be used on various content types.

By tone, we refer to the way Second Life Residents should be addressed.

Both the style guide and the glossary should be used at all times.


The purpose of this section is to list the most important rules as well as rules that are specific to Second Life.

Commas, colons, etc

Please follow the German punctuation rules! Do not follow English punctuation rules, as they do not apply to German. When in doubt, please refer to the Duden or websites like

Quotation Marks

Please use German quotation marks.


Er rief: „W00T!”

Punctuation marks that do not belong to the quoted text are always placed outside the quotation marks.


In Second Life erstellen Sie Ihr eigenes digitales Ich in 3D, einen sogenannten „Avatar”.


Only very common abbreviations should be used. Do not abbreviate words that may not be immediately recognised by users. Insert a space before measurement symbols. (e.g. 5 cm, 200 m) Here is a list of the most common abbreviations which can be used:

bzw. beziehungsweise
cm Zentimeter
d.h. das heißt
g Gramm
kg Kilogramm
km Kilometer
MHz Megahertz
m Meter
mm Millimeter
min Minute
u.a. unter anderem
usw. und so weiter
z.B. zum Beispiel

For abbreviations of days, months and currencies please see the Formatting section below.

Acronyms and abbreviations


An acronym is a group of initials, each representing a word. They should be written in capital letters without periods or spaces. Acronyms should not be translated. Only the most common acronyms should be used in German and should be followed by their full spelling in parentheses the first time they appear on a page or an e-mail. Here are some German acronyms commonly found on the German, viewer and KB articles:

FAQ Häufig gestellte Fragen
IM Instant Message (Sofortnachricht)
MWSt Mehrwertsteuer
USt Umsatzsteuer


Abbreviations such as "SL" or "iw", "av" or "avi", "tp" should be avoided as they may confuse users (especially new ones!) They should be replaced by regular expressions such as "Second Life", "inworld", "'Avatar'", "teleportieren".

Brackets (parentheses)

  • Parentheses should be used to clarify statements or provide additional information.


In den vielen Geschäften von Second Life können Sie Objekte kaufen, um Ihren Avatar zu gestalten (Haare, Körperform und Haut, usw.)

  • Use only regular parentheses () for parenthetical notes. Do not use braces [] or curly braces {}.
  • Angled brakets <> are used to show snippets of code within text.

SECOND LIFE specific punctuation rules

When referring to a Second Life page or feature, a button, or a link, use German quotation marks.


English: Go into SL and click on the "Find" button

Preferred: Melden Sie sich bei Second Life an und klicken Sie auf die Schaltfläche „Suchen”.



  • In German, the date format is DD MM YYYY and not MM DD YYYY as in English.


28. März 2009

  • For the abbreviated from, use periods (.) as separators, and use zeroes (0) for days and months from 1 to 9.



  • The abbreviations of the months and days of the week are as follows.


Jan., Feb. März, Mai, Juni, Juli, Aug., Sep., Okt., Nov., Dez.

Mo., Di., Mi., Do., Fr., Sa., So.


Time should be expressed following the rules in German.

English examples:

at 8:00 a.m. at 8 p.m. 12 noon

French examples:

um 8.00 h um 21.00 h 12.00 h

Please note that 21:00, 8:00 and 12:00 is also an acceptable format.


Follow German conventions for numbers with four or more digits. When composing long Arabic numbers, separate each group of three digits from the next by period (not a non-breaking space, a space or a comma).

English examples: 1,000 10,000 25,389,572 2.5
German examples: 1.000 10.000 25.389.572 2,5


  • Currency symbols should be placed after the amount and preceded by a non-breaking space.

English example: USD50

German example: 50 USD

  • Use a period for thousand separators and a comma for decimal separators.

English example: USD 2000.50

German example: 2.000,50 USD

Viewer, web pages, e-mails

Style and tone

  • The style of the viewer, web pages, and e-mails should simple, direct, and clear.
  • The tone should be engaging and friendly.
  • The 2nd person of the plural ("Sie" form) should be used.
  • Both style and tone should be consistent throughout the application, and all web and KB articles, as well as e-mails.

RULE 1: Use "real world" language, and not overly "techie" or "robot-like".

If the source English is too technical, unclear, or confusing, do not hesitate to simplify it.

Example 1:

English: Inventory fetch from server timed out. Retry?

German (to be avoided): Time out bei Inventaranfrage an Server. Erneut versuchen?

German (preferred): Auf das Inventar konnte nicht schnell genug zugegriffen werden. Erneut versuchen?

RULE 2: The tone should not be overly formal but not too casual or too colloquial. It should always be polite.


English: Oops!You tried to wear a [TYPE] and it did not load. Don't panic. Try again in a minute to give things a chance to settle down

German (to be avoided): Hoppla! Sie haben versucht einen [TYPE] anzuziehen, aber das Laden hat nicht funktioniert. Keine Panik. Versuchen Sie es doch nochmal in einer Minute, bis dann haben sich die Dinge beruhigt.

German (preferred): Leider haben Sie versucht einen [TYPE] anzuziehen, der noch nicht geladen war. Wir bitten Sie um Geduld. Versuchen Sie es bitte nach einer kurzen Weile erneut.

RULE 3: The content should be accurate, precise, encouraging, and user focused. When the source English is unclear, or "complicated", try to make your translation simpler and "accessible" to a broad audience. We are addressing Residents from all levels of experience, and not Second Life experts. Always try to put yourself in the shoes of a new user.


English: Simulator primitive usage

German (to be avoided): Primitive in Simulator

German (preferred): Prims auf Parzelle

User interface

RULE 1: When steps to follow are given, UI elements should be separated by a > symbol.

English example:

Invite People to this Group using the 'Invite New Person...' button in the Members & Roles tab > Members sub-tab.

German example:

Klicken Sie auf die Schaltfläche „Neue Person einladen...” auf der Registerkarte „Mitglieder & Rollen” > Registerkarte „Mitglieder”, um andere zu dieser Gruppe einzuladen.

RULE 2: Buttons should be kept short. If a verb is used, the infinitive form should be used.

English example: Invite New Person...

German example: Neue Person einladen...

RULE 3: When referring to a UI element, in German, only those first letters should be capitalized as it is grammatically appropriate in German: English example: Create New Roles German example: Neue Rollen erstellen

RULE 4: In German, localization results in text expansion (about 30%), which means that many Second Life menus, windows, buttons etc. might end up truncated. While translating UI elements, try to use the shortest possible translation (no longer than English) when possible and if doing so does not affect the quality of the translation.

Rules about Terminology

Expired terminology

As Second Life has matured, Linden-favored terms have changed as well. When translating, please be sure to be consistent in the terminology that is used and do not use "expired" terminology. Use:

  • "Regionen" ("regions") instead of "Sims" or "Simulatoren" when referring to a single region.
  • "Einwohner” ("Residents") instead of "Benutzer" (users), "Kunden" ("customers"), "Avatare", etc.
  • "Private Regionen" ("private regions") instead of "Inseln" ("islands"), “private Inseln” (private islands), etc.
  • "Linden Dollar" instead of "Geld" ("money"), "Dollar", "Lindens", etc.
  • "L$" instead of "$", when denoting Linden Dollars.
  • "US$" instead of "$" when denoting US dollars.

Second Life specific terminology

A few terms were "invented" for Second Life and are not part of the English vocabulary. Here is how to translate them for now:

  • To rez: rezzen
  • Rezzed : gerezzt
  • In-world (also used: inworld, iw): inworld

What to capitalize?

    • Proper nouns: Second Life, Linden Lab.
    • Acronyms: IM, MWSt etc.
    • The first letter of Second Life Region names: Ahern
    • The first letter of each term that identifies a particular button or menu item within the Second Life client: Menü „Bearbeiten”, Schaltfläche „IM” etc.

Menus, pie menus, windows, dialogs, tabs, buttons, fields

    • Menu (Menü in German): appear at the top of the Second Life window.
    • Pie Menu (Tortenmenü): wheel of selections that shows up whenever you right-click on something in-world.
    • Window (Fenster): window that appears internally within the Second Life window, i.e. The Inventory window or the Search window.
    • Dialog (Dialogfenster in German): blue box that appears in the corner whenever something happens in Second Life (when someone or something tries to give you inventory or if it turns out you can't sit on that thing you wanted to sit on etc.)
    • Tab (Registerkarte): tab that lives inside the windows in Second Life.
    • Button (Schaltflächen): button that appears in the UI.
    • Fields (Felder): pretty much anything used to provide input to Second Life that's not a button is a field.

Knowledge Base articles

There are two basic types of Knowledge Base article: the ones that answer a specific question (Avatarsteuerung: Wie gehe oder renne ich? (KB)) and the ones that give some general knowledge about a topic (Altersüberprüfung FAQ (KB))

The rules governing the tone and style of Knowledge Base articles are the same as the ones for the Viewer.

Note that the style of KB articles can be very familiar and unclear at times. Please keep in mind that Residents reading these articles are looking for an answer to a question they have. Therefore, try to be as clear and concise as possible, even if you use humour here and there.