Maske is a word that is very prone to false friend translations by calling it “mask”. In English a mask is used to conceal things, like your face for instance. As usual, Wikipedia has a nice article to go with this picture telling us all about it. There is a sense where it might apply in the world of computers, when you have lots of data and only want to show part of it. Then you can use a verb and talk about “masking” the data, or masking bits.

The real translation however comes from Bill Gates, which is “window”. That does not translate as Fenster in German (something to lean out of when watching the world go by). German software engineers seem to have agreed that this is a Maske, presumably in that sense of hiding lots of data and only showing the important stuff.


Technik is an unreliable if not exactly a false friend and is often inappropriately translated as technology. For example die Technik hat versagt.

Technik is not the same as Technologie. Wikipedia will help you with the difference. What would we do without Wikipedia!

I think that Technik is material and Technologie immaterial. So Technik is equipment or something else that you can bang your head against. Technologie is something that may make your brain hurt, but you won’t get bruises from it.