German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Das Museum wurde vier Jahre lang umgebaut.

I have these two possible translations, but I am not sure, which is correct:

  1. The museum was rebuilt four years ago.
  2. The museum has been rebuilt since four years ago (and is still being rebuilt).
share|improve this question
"Umgebaut" ist to remodel, not to rebuild (das würde ich mit "abgerissen und neu gebaut" übersetzen). – Robert Apr 21 '14 at 2:52
up vote 5 down vote accepted

ger: Das Museum wurde vier Jahre lang umgebaut.
eng: It took four years to rebuild the museum.

You don't have any information when the museum was rebuild. You just know that work is finished, but you don't know if they finished yesterday or 350 years ago.

eng: The museum was rebuilt four years ago.
ger: Das Museum wurde vor vier Jahren umgebaut.

Here you don't have any information how long it took to rebuild the museum. But you can guess that it took less than one year. Because if it did last longer, you would say something like.

eng: The museum was rebuilt between 2005 and 2009.
ger: Das Museum wurde zwischen 2005 und 2009 umgebaut.


eng: The museums rebuild was finished four years ago.
ger: Der Umbau des Museums wurde vor vier Jahren beendet.

eng: The museum has been rebuilt since four years ago (and is still being rebuilt).
ger: Das Museum wird seit vier Jahren umgebaut (und sie arbeiten noch immer daran).

Here you just know when they started and you know that they still work. But you don't know how long it will take and when they will be finished.

Note, that in German you use present tense (because they work now).

share|improve this answer

Das Museum wurde 4 Jahre lang umgebaut -- it took 4 years to remodel the museum.

Eine Angabe mit "lang" ist ein Zeitraum, kein Zeitpunkt (wie es Dein Beispiel (1) nahelegt). Da würde man statt dessen z.B. "Das Museum wurde vor 4 Jahren umgebaut" sagen.

share|improve this answer

As I understand it, it means that the Museum took four years to be rebuilt.

share|improve this answer

Vier Jahre lang answers "for how long?" - In English: for four years.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.