False Friends Juni 2005

„Das Kongress-Hotel in Edinburgh soll komfortabel sein. Aber stellen Sie bitte sicher, dass beide Konferenzräume mit Beamern ausgestattet sind und dass ich mit meinem Notebook ins Internet kann.“

There are four false friends in the above sentence – words that sound nice and easy, but which mean something different in English.

  • Kongress. In UK-English, this translates as business convention. The English word Congress is used in USA for a big meeting, but it can be confused with the political institution the Congress.
  • Komfortabel translates into luxurious. The English word comfortable means gemütlich or bequem. (“I always feel nice and comfortable sitting near an open fire”. “If you go on a day trip to London, make sure you wear comfortable shoes”.)
  • Beamer is one of those words like Handy that have a completely different meaning in English. It is a yuppie expression for a BMW car or motorcycle. So if you ask for a beamer, people will look surprised. What you should ask for is a.
  •  The word notebook in English is still usually used to describe a real book, made of paper, for jotting down notes – in German Notizblock. It is better to use laptop.


So the above sentence translates as:
The convention hotel in Edinburgh is supposed to be luxurious. But please make sure that both conference rooms have media projectors and that I can get intothe internet using my laptop.


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