1

I wish to quote the German sentence

Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.

inside a US-English text. The audience consists of English-speaking mathematicians worldwide. (The actual German quotation would have been pure maths, even less understandable to the community, so I decided to change it to something more clear.)

In the middle of the sentence we see the German double quotation marks and an apostrophe.

(i) How to quote that sentence correctly?

(ii) How to quote that sentence in the best way which prevents any misunderstanding?

Here are a few options for (i) and (ii).

  1. She said, “Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.”

  2. She said, ‘Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.’

  3. She said, »Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.«

  4. She said, «Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.»

  5. She said, Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.

  6. She said, “Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, strack wie Sau, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.”

  7. ... your version? ...

Note that the default option 1 has the problem that the right German double quotation mark and the right English double quotation mark are very similar. Even worse: the right German double quotation mark looks very much the same as the left English double quotation mark! The alternative 2 has the problem that the apostrophe looks exactly the same as the right English single quotation mark.

closed as off-topic by Catija, Em., shin, user3169, Alan Carmack Oct 2 '16 at 6:06

  • This question does not appear to be about learning the English language within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – snailcar Sep 28 '16 at 9:28
  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question is about quoting German in English text - it is not about learning English. – Catija Oct 2 '16 at 2:42
  • Leave the original as is, and put it in italics. – Alan Carmack Oct 2 '16 at 6:08
0

Nothing in the original question or the chat conversation convinced me that this couldn't be settled by a roll of the dice.

However, if you still want my opinion (and by the way, once the clarification appeared, that you were preparing a citation, you should have put that information in the question, to make it clearer), I think you should go with

She said, “Karl war, wie man so schön sagt, „strack wie Sau“, aber Max’ Freund konnte Karl doch heimfahren.”

Here's why I think it should be in italics: if she had said a sentence that combined English and German, you would put all the German words in italics, for example

She said, "Otto was listening at the keyhole, but only managed to catch, 'Warum sagst du „strack wie Sau“?' and then the door burst open and he had to struggle to keep his balance."

Sorry if that doesn't make sense -- I only understood bits of the original German sentence.