Read The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka in German

In Interlinear, the German text is followed by an English translation below each word or phrase.

How the Interlinear translation method works
How the Interlinear translation method works, vertical display

Interlinear is like subtitles for books…

Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
More about Interlinear

What is The Metamorphosis about?

The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) is a seminal piece of German and world literature. It tells an unearthly story of Gregor Samsa's transformation into a monstrous vermin.

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Franz Kafka's most famous work!

Franz Kafka was an early 20th century German-speaking writer known for his simple, enigmatic and often absurdly comic writing. He has influenced multiple authors after him, given the word Kafkaesque (meaning oppressive or nightmarish) to the English language, and developed a new genre of literature. Kafka asked to burn his writings after his death - a dying wish that was not granted.

How was this German translation made?

Literal but understandable

We attempted to translate words one by one and literally. However, there is an exception to this rule: where a literal translation impairs understanding. If it does, we prioritize understanding. See this:


We have opted for a more literal translation of ist as is since this phrase is still perfectly understandable. That is especially so because the reader is likely to have some prior knowledge of German. However, try reading this literally:

Beniederin,cleaning lady

As you can see, in such instances, if translated literally, understanding would suffer. Thus we have chosen a more understandable version:

Beniederin,cleaning person
es immer sehr eilig hattewas always in a big hurry

Embracing cognates

Our Interlinear translation makes use of the fact that German and English are both Germanic languages: we use cognates where possible in order to help you remember words. For example:


Dictionary and most ordinary translations translate freiwillig as voluntarily. However, if you look closely at the word "freiwillig," you can easily identify its two Germanic roots: frei (free) + willig (willing). Thus we have chosen to translate the word as follows:


Similarly, we have translated the German word Verlorenheit as forlorness instead of the more ordinary loneliness, Hindernis as hindrance instead of its more usual translation obstacle, etc.

We believe that this way of highlighting cognates can help German learners draw analogies between German and English more easily and remember German words faster - therefore we try to make use of it whenever possible.

This Interlinear book includes:

  • 102 standard-book pages
  • well over 20 thousand translated words and expressions
  • the original text with aligned Interlinear translations - allows you to comprehend and scrutinize the meaning of the notoriously enigmatic Kafka's language
  • a separately available German-only version of the text to get additional practice after having read the text with the Interlinear translation
  • files in the printable or electronically readable PDF format, as well as MOBI and EPUB format files for Kindles and other e-book readers, tablets, and phones - all immediately available to download
  • free German audiobook included!

Available to order right now.

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