Thursday, 21 March 2019

Translating the German word ‘pur’ into English

I was inspired to write this short piece after grappling last week with finding a sensible-sounding rendering of ‘Münchener Lebensart pur’ (of which more later) which cropped up in a translation for a Munich bus company.

 Directly cognate with English, the primary meaning of the adjective ‘pur’ is, of course, ‘pure, straight, unadulterated’, as here:

diese Kette ist aus purem Gold   or     ich nehme ein Glas puren Wodka

Used to upsell all sorts of things, from food and drink to spa treatments and summer holidays,  it is a favourite of marketing copywriters looking for a neat way to indicate the superlative quality or authenticity of a particular object or, more frequently, experience. Often the ‘pur’ will follow a noun for effect. For example, ‘pure luxury’, grammatically speaking, is ‘purer Luxus’ in German, yet you are more likely to see ‘Luxus pur’ – it’s just more effective somehow!

A quick scout through recent tourism assignments throws up such perennial favourites as
Urlaubsfreude pur’ (or, more likely these days, Urlaubsfeeling!). Clearly ‘pure holiday joy’ doesn’t cut it, so a workaround is necessary.

Other ‘regulars’ I come across are: ‘Entspannung pur‘ (no issues there), ‘Stimmung pur’ (slightly more troublesome as ‘pure atmosphere’ is a bit odd. Prefer great/vibrant…) and everyone’s favourite: ‘Natur pur’ which was the subject of a lively discussion in a FB group recently. The consensus seemed to be a translation along the lines of ‘nature at its very best’.

Here are some other examples from recent projects featuring ‘pur’, and how I dealt with them:

-          In nur 17 Autominuten sind Sie in einer der schönsten Thermen Tirols, dem Aqua Dome im Ötztal. Entspannung pur ist Ihnen im Thermalwasser garantiert

= and just 17 minutes away by car is the Ötztal Aqua Dome, one of the Tyrol’s most beautiful spas. Relaxing in warm, soothing thermal waters after a busy day skiing – what could be better?

-          Adrenalin pur verspricht eine Fahrt mit dem Schneescooter oder mit der Schneeraupe.

= and there is no shortage of options for adrenaline junkies, including snowmobile and snowcat rides. 

-          Abenteuer pur ist auf der drei Kilometer langen Rodelbahn Le Pleney und im Hochseilgarten „Indiana Parc“ bei Morzine geboten

= Winter holidaymakers in Morzine will find there’s plenty of fun to be had at both the 3-kilometre long toboggan run Le Pleney and the “Indiana Parc” high-ropes course

-      Türkisfarbenes Meer, blauer Himmel und Sonne pur, und das alles weit weg vom Pauschaltourismus.

= Enjoy the combination of turquoise sea, blue skies and non-stop sunshine away from the hurly-burly of mass tourism

-      In der "Oase der Ruhe" erfahren Sie Wellness pur, hier schalten Sie auf beheizten Wasserbetten bei Meditationsmusik ab.

= Enjoy the pure indulgence of lying on a heated waterbed in our Oasis of Peace listening to the gentle sound of meditation music

-      Die Kombination des weitläufigen Shops mit integrierten Bar und einer einzigartigen Wassersportatmosphäre bietet Urlaubsfeeling pur für ein entspanntes Shoppingvergnügen

= Our well-stocked shops, with bar attached, and the unique watersports atmosphere we’ve created will make shopping a real pleasure and enhance your holiday experience.

… and ‘Münchener Lebensart pur’? Well, anything involving ‘pure lifestyle’ was always going to sound weird, so I went for something along the lines of ‘the beating heart of Munich’.
***Stop Press: randomly googling ‘Lebensart pur’ just now has thrown up lots of renderings along the lines of ‘(capturing) the essence of the city’. Now why didn’t I think of that?!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

How to translate ‘Arrangement’ into English

The German word ‘Arrangement’ is used in many of the same ways as it is in English, i.e. in the context of flowers (er hat mir ein wunderschönes Arrangement aus roten und weiβen Rosen geschenkt) and music (ein neues Arrangement für Trompete und Orgel), or in the sense of ‘coming to an agreement’ with someone (Wenn Sie wollen, können wir ein Arrangement finden.)
In tourism texts the term generally means a package or special deal of some kind, maybe a Wochenend-Arrangement or a Vier-Tage Arrangement. Sometimes preceded

by ‘fertig geschnürt’ (ready-made/all-inclusive), it is frequently used in place of the German word Angebote or the dreadful Packages (see above).
The Cambridge Dictionary gives the following definition of the term: eine Gruppen-, Pauschal- als Einheit zu buchende Zusammenstellung von Fahrt, Unterkunft und Verpflegung. In other words, a deal that includes not just the price of accommodation, but also any meals taken and transport costs to and from the location.
And there are many variations on this basic idea. I frequently come across Golfarrangements which comprise all the elements mentioned above plus the use of spa facilities and, most important of all for golfing vacationers, green fees. Another popular one is a Biker-Arrangement, covering accommodation, food of course (often something suitably hearty like a humongous steak and all the beer you can drink!) plus practical things such as covered parking and drying facilities - very important when you’ve been out biking all day in all weathers!
Your Arrangement might even offer something altogether more exotic, as here:
das All-Inclusive-Arrangement beinhaltet sämtliche Mahlzeiten, die im Community Dome serviert werden. Darüber hinaus sind geführte Trekking-Touren in die Wildnis Patagoniens im Preis inbegriffen = the all-inclusive package deal includes all meals (served in the Community Dome) plus guided trekking tours through the Patagonian wilderness.
So, in conclusion, package, deal or package deal generally cover all bases. And, of course, avoid the English word “arrangement” like the plague… as the otherwise delightful-sounding Hotel Savoy in Cologne (below) should have done!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Translating ‘beschaulich’ into English

From the verb ‘beschauen’, to observe or contemplate, comes the adjective ‘beschaulich’. In describing a person, it indicates that he or she is keen on reflection, pensive, contemplative by nature.
The adjective is also frequently used in tourism texts to describe locations that are quiet, a bit off the beaten track, tranquil, sedate… sleepy even (but with a positive rather than negative spin). It often also implies a certain modesty in size, a place that is undeveloped, and therefore, by implication, unspoilt.

And, of course, eine beschauliche Stille (an air of peace and tranquillity) or Ruhe und Beschaulichkeit (quiet contemplation) are just the USPs certain holidaymakers are looking for. This hotel in Schwerin offers a rather grand-sounding Oase der Ruhe und Beschaulichkeit (I’m not sure how oasis-like sitting on a hard chair at the bottom of a fire escape can be, but hey-ho. The idea is sound!) )

Anyway, here is a selection of recent examples of how I translated ‘beschaulich‘:
·         Einmal im Jahr ist Kitzbühel Schauplatz eines der spektakulärsten Ski-Events der Welt. An den drei Tagen des Hahnenkammrennens blickt die ganze Welt auf das beschauliche Alpenstädtchen und die Gamsstadt platzt förmlich aus allen Nähten = Once a year Kitzbühel is the venue for one of the world’s most spectacular ski events. During the three days of the famous Hahnekamm Race the eyes of the whole world are on this little town in the Alps as the crowds pour in to witness this amazing spectacle.

·         Oberlangenbach, beschaulich gelegen im Ortsteil Bergisch Born = Oberlangenbach occupies a quiet location in the district of Bergisch Born. 

·         Radtouren bieten sich im Wethautal besonders auf dem Mühlenwanderweg an, der Sie von Mühle zu Mühle zu den beschaulichen Dörfern führt = among the many idyllic hiking and cycling trails to enjoy in the Wethautal, the “Mühlenwanderweg”, a delightful route taking in mills and picturesque little villages, must surely be the prettiest. 

·         Trotz des beschaulichen Charakters hat die kleine Skistation jedoch eine bestens ausgebaute Infrastruktur und alle Voraussetzungen für einen gelungenen Skiurlaub zu bieten = despite the compact size of its ski area, St. Jean d'Arves has plenty of off-piste action on offer. 

·         Auf den Weihnachtsmärkten bemüht man sich um Beschaulichkeit und eine stimmungsvolle Adventszeit = the Christmas markets held here offer a tranquil scene befitting the solemn atmosphere of the advent season. 

·         Das Leben auf Formentera ist ruhiger und beschaulicher als auf Ibiza - dröhnende Diskotheken und ausschweifendes Nachtleben finden Sie nur auf der Nachbarinsel = visitors to Formentera will find it considerably quieter and more sedate than  Ibiza – no noisy discos or raucous partygoers here! 

·         Im September neigt sich die Hauptsaison ihrem Ende entgegen und ab Oktober senkt sich eine beschauliche Stille über die winzigen Fischerdörfer und Städte an der Atlantikküste = the main holiday season draws to a close in September and by October an air of peace and tranquillity has settled once again on the tiny fishing villages and towns along the Atlantic coast. 

·         Die Ortschaft erhielt um 1240 Stadtrecht und als „Jene“ war sie lange ein beschauliches Wein- und Ackerbauernstädtchen = it was granted municipal rights in 1240 and developed in subsequent years into the modest farming and wine-growing town of “Jene”. 

*On occasions, ‘beschaulich‘ is teamed up with another adjective. The combination ‘beschaulich-bescheiden‘ seems to be popular, in which case ‘quiet and unassuming‘ seems to cover all bases. I have also seen ‘beschaulich-lebendig‘, which I guess incorporates the idea of a place being quiet/small/unassuming...but still vibrant/with lots to offer. Sounds like the perfect holiday destination!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Translating ‘-meile’ into English

 Although miles effectively became obsolete in Germany in 1872 (see the fascinating discussion at:, 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:
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 (
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:

*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