FALSE FRIENDS, GOOD AND BAD TRANSLATION
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.