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.


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