Friday, 8 August 2014

Today, some thoughts on translating ‘Genuss’

Genuss is a favourite of tourism copy-writers and those of us called upon to translate this material are used to texts littered with phrases like in den Genuss kommen (to enjoy), Genuss versprechen (to be a treat), laden Sie zum Genuss ein (will tempt you ….) In fact, Genuss seems to have myriad uses and can be combined in all sorts of ways. In terms of meaning, a fellow translator’s description does well here: Genuss is used to describe things that “either taste good or make you feel good”!
So, some ideas on translating it! In cases where the context clearly relates to food (often signalled by the addition of the kulinarisch or lecker!), finding a suitable translation is usually straightforward: ‘fine cuisine/delicious food/pure dining pleasure’ all work well. I usually translate Genuss-Menü with ‘gourmet menu’, while something like ‘for smaller appetites’ is a good stand-by for the menu heading für den kleinen Genuss. Genuss-Hauptstadt is another formulation I come across frequently – there seem to rather a lot of towns and cities claiming to be the ‘culinary capital’ of Germany/Austria! Another (new) concept I came across recently is the delightfully-named Genuss-Bus. I felt that ‘gourmet bus’ was probably insufficient as a translation (has the idea even hit these shores yet, I wonder?), so ended up with quite a lengthy gloss - something along the lines of: “a unique culinary experience is now available - a vintage bus tour with a difference! Fans of gourmet cuisine can hop on board and be wined and dined….”. By the way, if you are ever in Remscheid, it looks fun!

There are also many Genuss phrases where the consumption of food is combined with some other activity. Words like Genusswanderung and Genussradler are favourites of mine. But beware! It’s maybe not always safe to translate these as ‘hiking/cycling with stops along the way for food’. There is always the chance that the Genuss prefix is just there to indicate that your hiking/cycling experience is to be a ‘leisurely’ one (i.e. not tough or challenging).

Away from its main ‘foodie’ meaning, Genuss can also, of course, relate to other spheres of human experience! Last week, translating content for a ski brochure I met Genuss-Carver (the best translation I could offer on the day being the rather limp ‘fans of carving’), while Flug-Genuss later in the same text allowed for something slightly more imaginative (‘the thrill of flying’). In my translations for a regular car hire company travel blog, I frequently meet Naturgenuss. I normally translate it with a phrase like ‘stunning countryside/nature at its best’ etc…), depending on the exact context. Hotels often boast that they can offer their guests Schlafgenuss – can anybody think of anything better than just the ‘good night’s sleep’ I usually plump for?

Had enough of our friend Genuss yet? If not, here’s your challenge of the week! How would you translate Genusshotel and Genusskultur, both of which appear in this hotel description I came across this morning?

Answers on a postcard please!

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