Translation Corner: Impressum

Posted on: 8. Juli 2009

Another day another word to translate! This time, it would be the German word „Impressum“. For those not in the know, an Impressum is the little text at the end of a newspaper or magazine in which the editor, editor-in-chief, etc make their legal statements, date of publishing, place of printing, etc – however, an Impressum can be much more, and differs from medium to medium.

The word Impressum comes from Latin and means „to imprint“ – the „Impressumspflicht“ law differs from Bundesland to Bundesland, and from media to media. For instance, in books you have the Impressum on the early pages, and it looks decidedly different from the one you would find in a newspaper, for instance.

What has that to do with translation? Well, there is no perfect translation for Impressum, so depending on the media the Impressum is in, you’d have to choose between several different combinations. Legal information, legal notice, imprint, masthead, etc – for an internet Impressum (which is largely a collection of copy & paste „I don’t vouch for the content of any links on my site“ legal texts), I’d choose legal information, which would be utterly wrong for a book ( imprint  might be better here).

Anyway, thank you for the word and keep on commenting so I have more translations to explain!


1 Response to "Translation Corner: Impressum"

Thanks for the response. It’s always a problem when translations don’t work one-to-one, most particularly when that term is used as a heading or main link, and a lengthy or even lose translation simply won’t fit the bill.

Here’s another one I was thinking of the other day, though this time from English. The phrase is „for someone’s own good“, or „zu jmds. Besten“ as I’ve been reliably informed. But in English it can also be used in a negative context, such as „He’s too tall for his own good“. How would you tackle that expression?

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