"I prefer the translation from German."
Translation:Mi preferas la tradukon el la germana.
El is the opposite of Al. El means out from and Al means to or toward. The key is that they both indicate direction. De indicates possesion or quality. Therefore el is used in this sentance to show a change from one translation to another. Someone else please correct me if I am wrong. Tim?
That's a good way to think about it, certainly for this case. The only thing I would add is that "el" doesn't always imply a direction, because you can also say, "Mi venas el Aŭstrio" ("I come from Austria") and "La tablo estas el ligno" ("The table is made of wood").
La tablo estas el ligno makes sense (The table is made out of wood). The fact that both el and de can mean from is confusing though.
I believe 'el' would be used to indicate a translation of the same piece from German, as opposed to translation of that piece from another language. 'De' would imply that one prefers the translation of German over whatever language the piece is in. However, I could be incorrect, so anybody can feel free to correct me, I'd thank you for the help of distinction as well!
Thank you but I want to know the general difference between 'el' and 'de', not just in this particular sentence.
Why don't "mi preferas la tradukon el la germano" ? I know that languages have an article in Esperanto, but why is "Germana" an adjective and not a noun?
"germano" = German (a person from Germany)
"la germana lingvo" = German (the German language)
"traduko el la germana" implies "lingvo" after the adjective "germana".
Just to expand on johnmue's answer, which is entirely correct: most languages in Esperanto are referred to with adjectives, e.g. "la angla", "la germana", "la rusa", "la ĉina", etc. It means "la angla lingvo", "la germana lingvo" etc. but repeating "lingvo" each time is superfluous. In each of these cases, the o-word refers to a person of the given nationality ("anglo" = "an English person", "ĉino" = "a Chinese person" etc.)
There are a few which are different, the obvious one being Esperanto itself. There is no Esperanto people, race or nationality, so it doesn't really make sense to say "la esperanta lingvo"; it's just "Esperanto".