“We can English!”
Germans are very free and easy about adopting English vocabulary. I suppose we should be flattered, but sometimes the words they import get a little disoriented on their journey—one notorious example being Handy (HEN-dee) to mean cell phone.
I generally shrug this off, but my shrug turns to a cringe when Germans use Public Viewing to refer to the public simulcast of a sporting or cultural event. This usage seems to have begun in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany. (The German Wikipedia entry is quite informative.) Why this phrase was chosen is a mystery to me: After all, it doesn’t exactly roll off the German tongue! And it doesn’t mean what they think it means …
But it’s been trademarked since 2007, legitimized in Duden, and doesn’t seem to be going away.
Germans are very free and easy about adopting English. I suppose we should be flattered, but sometimes the words get a little disoriented on their journey ...
Duden’s claim of “Herkunft: Englisch” is technically true … except for the small detail that in US English, public viewing = öffentliche Aufbahrung. (Duden bietet Rudelgucken als biodeutsches Synonym, bezeichnet den Gebrauch jedoch als „salopp“.)
So in English, if a famous athlete dies and lies in state for fans to pay their respects, that is a public viewing. But if he is alive and competing in the World Cup while you watch on a big screen in the city center, that is most assuredly not a public viewing!
So how do German-to-English translators deal with Public Viewing in a German source text? This can be a public simulcast, public livestream, open-air screening, or [event] on the big screen. You can also translate specific to the context: I once received a press release about a “Public Viewing” of the Bayreuth Festival’s “Die Walküre” in the city square for those not fortunate enough to have a seat inside the Festspielhaus. My translation? Opera in the Square. But Bayreuth on the Big Screen would’ve also fit the bill. No false images of coffins. It’s that simple.