Long Story Short

Came upon an interest factoid reading the biography of the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter:

Most translations from German into English result in a 15-20 percent decrease in length without any condensations.

My German is not nearly good enough to have a strong view about the wordiness of German relative to English, and I've heard that German academic writing can be especially verbose,  but this claim still surprises me. I did a lot of translating during my internship, and to me it seemed a wash: some German sentences were longer than in English and some sentences were shorter. A 15-20 percent difference seems high--that would mean if this post were German, its translation into English would be shorter by ≈30 words, or about the equivalent of the first sentence and quotation.

It occurs to me, however, that any American film or TV show dubbed into German does seem to require the voice actors to speak quite fast in order to keep the timing intact, so perhaps my experience bolsters rather than belies the claim.