bald is the German translation for soon, and generally, that works pretty well. But there is one important context in daily life where it’s not really a good choice.
I don’t know how to call it, so here’s an example:
- “I’ll come by as soon as I am done with work.”
“Cool, see you soon.”
Many learners say “Bis bald.” in contexts like this. But the thing is – Germans actually only use “Bis bald.” when they’re not going to see someone for quite a while (at least a week) and they’re not really sure when they’ll see them.
So if you use it in a context where it’s set that you’ll see the other person later that day or a after a couple of days, it’ll sound quite confusing to a German speaker. I always feel like “Wait, what? Why Bis bald? I thought we’ll see later today.”
What to say instead?
If the meeting is fixed, you can use
- “Bis später.” (same day)
- “Bis nachher.” (same day) or
- “Bis dann.” (same or different day)
If the meeting is not fixed, but it’s likely to happen soon, then the two best options are
- “Bis dann.” and
- “Bis demnächst.”
Or you can use “Bis ganz bald.”
That sounds kind of endearing, too.
But I barely ever use “Bis bald.” in daily life, and you should definitely learn the alternatives.