Open Access

International Transfer of Knowledge: Translating Didaktik, Fachdidaktik, Allgemeine Fachdidaktik


The following contribution is divided into two parts, for reasons of space. The current article will deal with issues of translation and translatability from German into English in the field of Didaktik (didactics, subject didactics and general subject didactics). The starting point will be to gather information about the spread and acceptance of the concept of didactics as a cover term for a comprehensive theory of teaching and learning within school as an institution, in Europe and beyond. The multi-facetted reality of this concept in so many countries or educational settings and the different approaches to go with it, will have an effect on the demands of an appropriate rendering of Didaktik in English as a lingua franca and thus transferring it into another, essentially foreign socio- cultural context. The same is even more true for the notion of Fachdidaktik (= subject-matter didactics).

In particular, it will be shown that there are challenges and even limits in sharing didactic and subject-didactic knowledge, concepts and research findings internationally, when transmitting them from German into English and thus from a continental European into an Anglo-Saxon way of thinking and of organizing school education. The difficulty to establish a one-to-one equivalence is reflected on the linguistic level, where certain anglicized forms which do not originally exist in English, have been developed (e.g. subject-matter) didactics, general subject didactics), for lack of appropriate translations. Also in many other cases of translation more than one version is possible, depending on context, focus or intention. This insight will be applied to individual notions or whole semantic clusters in the field (e.g. around key words like Fach or Fachliche Bildung).

In combination with the second part the overall goal is to bring Didaktik/didactics and curriculum theory into conversation again and widen the scope towards subject-matter didactics at the same time.2

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Education, Curriculum and Pedagogy, other