Saturday, March 6, 2010

German Marketing Translation

Thanks for all of the laughs from your "translations" of this advertisement.  Thanks for your patience in waiting for the real translation of this post.

So, Ansley was most correct in that this is an advertisement for "Die Zeit" (The Times) newspaper.  And yes, they do want you to buy their newspaper because of a special section for parents.  The question in bold basically says:  "What are you going to do now, dear parents?"  Underneath, in smaller writing it says:  "You can find the answers to 55 questions on raising children - in Elternknigge", which is a separate section for parenting tips.  

So what the heck is "Elternknigge"?  Well, Eltern means parents and "knigge" isn't so much a German word, as it is a reference to Adolph Freiherr Knigge.  Knigge was a German writer that lived in the late 18th century and is most famous for his work Ueber den Umgang mit Menschen (On Human Relations).    Wikipedia describes this work as "a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behavior, politeness, and etiquette.  The work is in fact more of a sociological and philosophical treatise on the basis of human relations than a how-to-guide on etiquette."  Apparently this is a book that continues to be updated with new editions coming out periodically.  

So "knigge" basically means "good manners" or refers to books on etiquette.  In this case, Elternknigge means "parenting etiquette".  I was trying to think of possible English/American equivalents to something like Knigge, and so far I was able to come up with Darwin expressions (Darwin Awards) and the Freudian slip. If you can think of more of these I'd love to hear them.

I would say that this advertisement was most effective, since I've spent so much time looking into what it means.  Thanks for playing along.
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