Friday, 21 April 2017


Translating ‘-meile’ into English

 Although miles effectively became obsolete in Germany in 1872 (see the fascinating discussion at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsolete_German_units_of_measurement), the German suffix ‘-meile’ still has currency when used to describe any long stretch (or “strip”, if you are American!)) populated by shops, restaurants, clubs etc.
A number of variants appear in the tourism texts I translate. They include: Shoppingmeile (if the emphasis is mainly on retail), Genussmeile or Kneipenmeile (lots of restaurants or bars together) and Partymeile, Amüsiermeile and Vergnügungsmeile if the focus is more on entertainment. The latter will often be accompanied by stock adjectives such as bunte/szenige/trendige/pulsierende…

When translating these into English, I generally find it best to avoid using the word ‘mile’ at all (not sure youngsters on holiday in Ibiza head off to the “party mile” to let their hair down, nor have I ever heard Oxford Street referred to as a “shopping mile” – both just sound odd).

So, as usual, a ‘workaround’ is needed. Here are some examples from recent jobs: 

·         Das wohl bekannteste und modernste Shopping Center in Linz – direkt auf der Einkaufsmeile "Landstraße" gelegen = probably the best-known and most modern shopping centre in Linz – located off the main "Landstraße" shopping street. 

·         Zwischen den Luxusgeschäften der Edel-Shoppingmeile im Innenhof residiert der Brenner Grill, einer der Places to Be der Prominenz = Definitely high on the list of Munich’s ‘places to be is the Brenner Grill, situated in a courtyard close to the luxury boutiques of the city’s elegant shopping district. 

·         Die Appartements befinden sich in den beiden oberen Stockwerken und bieten einen herrlichen Ausblick auf die belebte Amüsiermeile = The business apartments, situated on the top two floors of the hotel, offer superb views of Hamburg’s lively entertainment district. 

·         … dann chillen an der Sonnenterrasse oder abfeiern beim Après Ski entlang der Partymeile im Ort = then chill out on the sun terrace or join in the après-ski party fun in one of the resort’s many nightspots.

 
·         Zwischen Mauerpark und Ausgehmeilen hat die lesbisch-queere Bar poor and literate eröffnet… = Poor and literate, the new lesbian/queer bar which has opened up between the Mauerpark and the city’s nightlife district  

·         In den Abendstunden verwandelt sich Ayia Napa in eine stimmungsvolle Partymeile, die sich anschickt, Ibiza ernsthaft Konkurrenz zu machen = And as the day draws to a close, Ayia Napa’s vibrant party scene really gets going – its bars and clubs certainly giving Ibiza a run for its money! 

·         Eine Rundreise mit dem Mietwagen auf Yucatán führt Sie zu palmengesäumten Traumstränden, stimmungsvollen Partymeilen und den steinernen Monumenten der uralten Mayakultur = A tour around the Yucatán in a hire car takes you to idyllic, palm-fringed beaches, lively party hotspots and fascinating stone monuments of the ancient Mayan civilisation.

 

Monday, 14 November 2016


How to translate Ausklang into English
The verb ausklingen and its related noun Ausklang are primarily musical terms. The dictionary definition of the latter = der letzte Ton eines Musikstücks (the last note of a piece of music).

But Ausklang is also frequently used on hotel websites in a figurative sense, i.e. to describe evening or end-of-holiday activities, a kind of gentle ‘winding-down’ before bedtime or journey home. It might (and often does!) involve a drink or two, as in this example:

·         Wer den Tag in einer gemütlichen Atmosphäre ausklingen lassen möchte, ist in unserer Bar bei einem frischgezapftem Bier, verschiedenen Weinen oder Longdrinks bestens aufgehoben = and there is no better way to finish an evening than to relax in the cosy atmosphere of our “Hopfenklause” bar, where you will find refreshing draught beer and a great choice of wines and long drinks

Food is also likely to be involved:

·         Zur Stärkung am Abend erwartet Sie unser rustikaler „Grillabend auf der Terrasse“ mit Salaten vom Buffet. So lassen wir den letzten Tag gemütlich ausklingen =   We then return to the hotel for dinner – a barbecue on the terrace with salads from the buffet – a great way to finish your holiday!

… or maybe a spa treatment: -  

·         Freuen Sie sich auch auf unser umfangreiches Freizeit- und Bewegungsprogramm für Groß und Klein und erholsame Stunden in unserem Wellness und Beauty-Spa. Es kann sowohl das Highlight eines erlebnisreichen Urlaubstages sein als auch eine willkommene Abwechslung oder der Ausklang einer lehrreichen Tagung = You can also look forward to an extensive programme of leisure and fitness activities (with something for guests of all ages), plus the opportunity to relax in our wellness and beauty spa – the perfect end to an exciting day out, a well-earned treat after a busy conference … or just because you feel like being pampered!

… or, depending on the season, a sleigh-ride:

·         Für Romantiker, Pferdeliebhaber oder einfach Geniesser bietet es sich den Tag mit einer romantischen Pferdeschlittenfahrt im idyllischen Pinzgau ausklingen zu lassen = And if you love horses, are a bit of a romantic or just fancy some fun,  what better way to round off your day than with a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the idyllic Pinzgau region?
So popular is the Ausklang idea that there is even a bar/restaurant in Vienna named after it. If you are looking for somewhere achingly cool, where the use of capital letters is just so-o-o last century (see their website: http://www.ausklang.at/)
then this is definitely the place for you!

And don’t worry, if you need someone to organise your Ausklang for you, there is a company in Munich offering “Büro-Ausklang”, a kind of grown-up after-school club where you can go to wind down. Its promise? “Monatlich an einem Donnerstag wird ein anders hippes Hotel der Stadt zu dem After Work Hotspot Münchens. Direkt vom Büro in eine stylische Hotelbar oder Terrasse. Zum Networken. Zum Tanzen. Zum Feiern.
Sounds truly exhausting!




 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 



Thursday, 23 June 2016


Translating ‘Anspruch’ into English

The primary meaning of Anspruch is a ‘claim’ or ‘demand’. For a translator of tourism material, the phrase in Anspruch nehmen (i.e. to claim entitlement to, or to consume, take advantage or make use of) is likely to be encountered in hotel terms and conditions under the section on cancellation penalties, as in: (nicht in) Anspruch genommene Leistungen = for unused services.

But it will also feature regularly elsewhere in texts of this kind. Anspruch is much-loved by tourism copywriters for its ability to convey notions of discernment or good taste‘. A surefire way to butter up potential guests/visitors/diners is to promise that their experience is going to be altogether more upmarket/classy than the average. So a good translation of den allerhöchsten Ansprϋchen genϋgen might be something like = meets the very highest standards/is perfect for the more discerning guest/diner/visitor etc.
In fact, I think ‘discerning‘ does good service most of the time. (I am always wary of demanding‘ as an alternative - as  every hotelier knows, there is a fine line between discerning‘ and demanding‘ customers!) Having said that, here is an example where I think it sounds ok:
bequem eingerichtete Zimmer, die auch anspruchsvolle Gäste befriedigt =  comfortable accommodation to satisfy even the most demanding guest

 Much trickier to deal with, I find, is the reverse idea - those pesky anspruchslose Gäste (less demanding) guests. Consider this example, taken from the website of a delightful-looking guesthouse in the Czech Republic (http://www.waldheim.cz/de/zimmer.php)
Zimmer "Standard": 2 Vierbettzimmer und 4 Zweibettzimmer sind vorzugsweise geeignet für weniger anspruchsvolle Gäste, für die ein Gemeinschaftsbad und -WC im Erdgeschoss zufriedenstellend ist =  (not my translation) … are suitable particularly for a less demanding clientele that will settle for a common bathroom and sanitary facilities on the ground floor.

Mmm… not sure ‘less demanding’ really works in English (though ‘less discerning’ would be much worse!) I’m also not mad about ‘settle for’ (are they trying to sell this place, or not?!) and I think ‘shared’ is just nicer than ‘common’.
So, how best to deal with the inevitable negative connotations of anspruchslos? Of course, online review sites are full of pretty damning examples of its use, as here:
... but Anspruchslosigkeit can also be an asset, carrying notions of good, honest unpretentiousness. A translation along the lines of ‘(accommodation) for those on a limited budget/looking for simplicity/no-frills accommodation’ etc. provides a more positive spin.

... ich werde jetzt eine wohlverdiente Kaffeepause in Anspruch nehmen. Bis zum naechsten Mal :)


 

 

 

Thursday, 28 April 2016


How to translate ‘Jause’ into English
A term only really found in South Germany and Austria, a Jause, Jausen-Teller, or Brettljause (served on a board – or Brettl – rather than a plate), is food taken between breakfast and lunch, or mid-afternoon. It is not a meal… but is definitely more than a snack. In this respect it differs from its closest equivalent in England - the ploughman’s lunch (which is - or should be - a meal!). A Jause generally takes the form of a cold platter and is typically a selection of cold meats, cheese, pickles and possible a small salad. Just for the record, the act of eating your Jause is (surprise surprise!) jausnen.

For translation purposes, ‘snack’ seems somehow inadequate (conjuring up images of burgers and chips, pizza and toasted sandwiches); often ‘food’ will suffice, but probably ought to be qualified with adjectives such as ‘local’, ‘traditional’, typical’ just to make it clear what’s on offer. For example:
Gerade zu dieser Jahreszeit locken die Sonnenterrassen der Hütten zu einer zünftigen Jause = this is the perfect time of year for relaxing out on the terrace with some traditional Tyrolean food

Also commonly found in Austrian/Bavarian tourism texts is the word Jausenstation. Again, ‘snack bar’ sounds much too urban. Depending on the size of the establishment concerned, ‘(mountain) restaurant’ will often work, as in this example:
Viele traditionell geführte Hütten und Jausenstationen laden nicht nur zur Rast und Stärkung, sondern auch mit regionalen und köstlichen Schmankerln = and with traditional mountain chalets and restaurants along the way you will have plenty of opportunity to recharge your batteries, and maybe try some of the delicious local specialities on offer.

In many cases, it is perfectly legitimate to leave Jausenstation in German and simply provide an explanatory gloss, something along the lines of “a rustic Austrian mountain hut serving simple, local foods and drinks” (example taken from the ProZ website – see full discussion at: http://www.proz.com/kudoz/german_to_english/tourism_travel/3056669-jausenstation.htmlrom.)

*Other related words I’ve come across include:
Jausensackerl (hotels sometimes provide these for guests planning to be out and about all day - what we would call, rather prosaically, a ‘packed lunch’)

Kuchenjause (basically a cake-based version of the traditional Jause, enjoyed in the afternoon)

… and the delightfully alliterative Jausenpause, i.e. time set aside to enjoy your Jause in peace!

Talking of which, I’m off for mine….. J

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 3 April 2016


Translating ‘prägen’ into English….
In addition to its primary meaning of to ‘mint’ coins (Münzen prägen) or ‘coin’ a phrase (einen Ausdruck prägen), this verb is also commonly found in tourism texts - particularly guidebooks – when describing the particular character of a location, its prominent characteristics, distinctive features etc. By extension, there is also ‘neu prägen’, meaning to re-shape/change the look or character of a place.

Here are some examples of ‘prägen’ in action, together with the translation I chose at the time:
·        die Flüsse Saale und Unstrut prägen die Landschaft des nördlichsten Qualitätsweinanbaugebiets Deutschlands = the most northerly of Germany’s quality wine-growing areas takes its name from the rivers Saale and Unstrut which have shaped this region 

·         Vulkane wie der Areal prägen entlang der zentralen Gebirgskette Costa Ricas das Gesicht der Landschaft = Volcanoes such as the Areal characterise the landscape of Costa Rica’s central mountain ranges 

·         viele Bauwerke des “Bergischen Barock” prägen das Bild der Lenneper Altstadt = a characteristic feature of the old town of Lennep are its many “Bergisch baroque-style” buildings 

·         aus dieser Zeit stammt das ortsprägende Rathaus aus dem Jahre 1907 = the town-hall, a distinctive local landmark built in 1907, dates from this period 

·         … und hübsche kleine Ortschaften wie Witzhelden, wo bergischer Schiefer und bergisches Fachwerk in schwarz-weiβ-grün das Ortsbild prägen = pretty little villages like Witzhelden with the characteristic black, red and green of their traditional half-timbered, slate-roofed buildings 

·         das alterwürdige Jenaer Rathaus, ein stadtbildprägendes Doppelhaus mit hohen Walmdächern, gehört zu den ältesten Deutschlands = the ancient city hall of Jena, a distinctive semi-detached building with a high hipped roof, is one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Germany 

·         verschiedene Baustile prägen die gewaltige Anlage = this vast building features a variety of different architectural styles 

·         auch erwähnenswert sind die wehrhaften Relikte vergangener Zeiten, die prägenden Einfluss auf das Stadtbild von Ratingen oder Monheim nehmen =  also worth mentioning are the remains of the defensive fortifications, which are a key feature of the townscapes of Ratingen and Monheim 

·        moderne Hochhäuser prägen den Ortsteil West = the area to the west is dominated by modern high-rise blocks 

·         Monte Cinto, welcher als höchster Berg der Insel den Ruf Korsikas als gebirgigste Insel im Mittelmeer geprägt hat = Monte Cinto, which has established Corsica’s reputation as the most mountainous Mediterranean island

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 23 January 2016


Translating ‘die Seele baumeln lassen’ into English

Today’s short blogpost is about how to deal with the idiom: Lassen Sie Ihre Seele baumeln!* - an exhortation used very frequently in holiday/leisure/wellness texts. For any non-German speakers who happen to be reading this, Seele is your soul and the verb baumeln means to dangle, so you can see the potential pitfalls! Clearly “letting your soul dangle” is only ever going to cause hilarity among an English-speaking readership (though this otherwise perfectly nice hotel in Davos seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact: http://www.hotelkongress.ch/en/25/default.aspx?idPackage=19).

So, what does it actually mean? Duden gives the following definition: sich psychisch entspannen; von allem, was einen psychisch belastet, Abstand gewinnen: to relax mentally; to avoid mental stress of any kind. In other words... relax! But then German has other words for to relax, notably  entspannen (and, increasingly common these days, relaxen), so what’s the difference?

Well, I guess die Seele baumeln lassen is really just relaxation... with knobs on! Proper kick-off-your-shoes, turn-down-the-lights, light-a-scented-candle, do-not-disturb kind of relaxation – the kind we should all get more of! Actually, for translation purposes, relax (or for extra effect relax and unwind) will usually do the job nicely. But of course there are other options if you feel like ringing the changes: let yourself go, free your spirit (bit hippie, that one!), leave your cares behind, indulge yourself, chill out etc. (or if you are American, I guess you are more likely to ‘hang loose’, ‘kick back’ or something?!). Here are just a few examples from recently-translated texts:

  • suchen Sie eine der Restaurationen auf und beim Blick aufs Wasser einfach die Seele baumeln lassen = relax and enjoy a bite to eat as you sit and take in the stunning view across the water
  • Ruhe geniessen, die Seele baumeln lassen = immerse yourself in the wonderful peace and quiet and forget your cares
  • Wellness – die Seele baumeln lassen = spa luxury – your chance to really unwind

 
To close, here’s a website I just came across – the rather aptly-named: www.seelenbaumeln.ch. It’s a health clinic offering massage and a range of soothing therapeutic treatments. Don’t worry if you don’t happen to live near St Gallen, I’m sure there’s somewhere closer to home where you can dangle your soul to your heart’s content. Happy relaxing!

 
*For anyone interested in the origin of the phrase, it is generally acknowledged to come from Kurt Tucholsky’s 1931 novel Schloss Gripsholm: “Wir lagen auf der Wiese und baumelten mit der Seele”.

 

Sunday, 10 January 2016


Translating ‘Natur- into English

With more than a third of the country covered with forest and no fewer than 16 national parks (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_parks_of_Germany), Germany has plenty to offer nature lovers (Naturliebhaber). The more naturbelassen (unspoilt) a place is, the better. In fact, I would say that finding a location with intakte Natur is almost a holy grail for many holidaymaking Germans! Before we get down to business, anyone needing a reminder of Germany’s manifold natural wonders can take a look at this: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/germanys-great-outdoors-the-black-forest-wine-country-and-saxon-switzerland-10138611.html#gallery

So, let’s think about die Natur or, as we Brits rather quaintly call it, the Great Outdoors! A quick look through the Natur- words in my glossary shows that more often than not I have translated them (surprise, surprise!) using the English equivalents: ‘nature’ or ‘natural’:

  • für Kinder gibt es das Naturerlebnispfad und Naturhochseilgarten = kids will love the nature discovery trail and our forest high-ropes course
  • XXX steht inmitten eines Natur- und Ferienparadies = is located in a popular holiday area in a spectacular natural setting
  • nicht zu vergessen ist das Naturschutzgebiet, das Große Torfmoor = a ‘must’ on any itinerary is the nature conservation area known as…
  • ist nur eines von vielen unvergesslichen Naturerlebnissen, die den Besucher erwarten = one of the many unforgettable natural wonders (anything but ‘natural experiences’!)                                                        
  • ein tolles Sport- und Naturerlebnis = the ultimate sporting experience in a glorious natural setting

… but on just as many occasions, ‘country’ or ‘countryside’ sounded better, as here:

  • Genießen Sie Ihre Ferien inmitten herrlicher Natur = enjoy a relaxing holiday in picture-book countryside
  • Stille atmen, Weite genießen und Natur erleben - das ist Urlaub auf unserem Ferienhof! = fresh air, peace and quiet and miles of beautiful open countryside – everything you expect from a farmhouse holiday is right here!

Sometimes, the best rendering is simply open-air’, where the prefix Natur- is used to indicate that a particular attraction or facility is out of doors, e.g. Naturbühne = an open-air stage (as opposed to an indoor arena), and Naturerlebnisbad = an outdoor adventure pool (rather than the covered kind). And when food - or some other item made from all-natural materials - is being described, ‘organic’ is generally the way to go.

To finish, the award for most commonly recurring use of Natur- in a strapline has to go to “Natur pur!” (“Nature at its best”, maybe?), a phrase that German writers of marketing copy have really taken to their hearts. No surprise then that this neat little rhyming collocation, used day in day out to sell all manner of products from yogurt and bread to shoes, cosmetics, flooring and activity holidays, gets a million and a half hits on Google!