Carsharing, Mitfahren

16.06.2010 | 2 Kommentare

Heute ein Gastbeitrag von Anna Gentle:

Red is green
Take a walk through Stuttgart (or other major German city) and your eye may be drawn to bright red advertisements for bright red cars in a variety of shapes and sizes. “Carsharing”, as it’s called, is a cheaper, greener alternative to owning your own car – simply sign up online and gain access to a fleet of vehicles close to your home on a pay-as-you-drive basis. Smart idea. But shame about the name. Carsharing is pretty difficult to read as one word. In fact, I reckon some native English speakers would have a job deciphering it. Car sharing, as two words, is an improvement – but it’s still not a common English term (though, of course, there are exceptions: http://www.carsharing.net/). A nicer, more descriptive and idiomatic way to express the concept is “car-pool scheme/program.” Or if you must stick to the sharing idea, then go for car-share scheme/program (not sharing).

Need a lift?
Another popular model in Germany is the Mitfahrgelegenheit. But how do you translate that? I recently came across a well-written piece in the UK’s Independent which referred to a similar system as a “shared-ride scheme.” A succinct way of expressing another interesting answer to today’s traffic and transport problems.

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2 Kommentare

  1. Michael Schubert

    "Car sharing," "carsharing," "CarShare" or some variant thereof is the dominant term for this phenomenon here in the U.S. – and I don't think we borrowed the term from the Germans! 🙂

    "Carpooling" is different: it is essentially ride-sharing.

    So: "carsharing" = various people alternately sharing a car for their own individual use, while "ride-sharing" (mitfahren/Mitfahrgelegenheit/Mitfahrzentrale) = various people (who may all have cars of their own) sharing a trip in one car.

  2. Librarian

    I have heard people say "oh, there's my car pool" or "I have to be ready at 8.15 for my car pool" etc., and I always understood this as their Mitfahrgelegenheit.


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