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What is the correct translation for saying something like "wow that was random." Random as in weird, not as in having a lack of pattern.

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As the answer point out there are a lot of translations. I think a concrete context could narrow down the range of possible answers. As the question is now, I would tend to "komisch", since it is an often used word to describe weird and strange things. –  Em1 Jun 15 '12 at 10:04
    
When you're with young people you could probably just say "Das war random" and anyone would understand. :) –  cooky451 Jun 17 '12 at 15:38
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7 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Von den Vorschlägen, die dict.leo liefert, erscheinen mir mit zufällig kombiniert am ehesten:

  • merkwürdig
  • eigenartig
  • seltsam
  • sonderbar
  • komisch
  • ulkig
  • unheimlich
  • gruselig auch: gruslig
  • bizarr
  • übernatürlich

also fast alle, allerdings die ersten eher als die letzten, bzw. die letzten in Abhängigkeit vom Kontext. Wenn jmd. zum 3. Mal vom Blitz getroffen wird wird man es eher gruselig als komisch bezeichnen, ein Huhn mit 3 Köpfen findet man dagegen vielleicht eher komisch/ulkig als übernatürlich.

Insbesondere in Kombination mit unwahrscheinlich kann man die meisten der Adjektive kombinieren, um die Bedeutung zu unterstreichen, ohne dass die Wahrscheinlichkeitsüberlegung die eigentlich offensichtlich im Wort steckt noch sonderlich bewusst würde; so sehr ist es eine stehende Redewendung.

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There simply is no general equivalent in German. Depending on the context you could say: Donnerwetter, das kam jetzt aber unerwartet! (wow that came/was unexpected.)

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+1 and welcome to teh GLU :) –  Mac Jul 3 '12 at 20:08
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To match the English (as I understand it) as closely as possible (including the "tone") I'd suggest forgetting any literal attempt...

I would expect to hear "Wow, that was random" from someone rather young (under 40 maybe?) who just saw or heard something odd, but also if he experienced some unusual social behaviour (e.g. someone jostled him and then behaved as though it was his fault or something)

The closest you can get would probably be one of two versions with slightly different overtones:

"Das war abgefahren", or "Wow - abgefahren" brought to you by nem75 - thanks! - this often implies that the occurence was weird in a good way

"Was war das denn jetzt?" - this can express amusement and annoyance ...usually said with a raised eyebrow. :)

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+1 Yes, that one seems to hit the right "tone". –  Frank Jun 15 '12 at 13:43
    
What about krass? Seems to me to strike a chord similar to abgefahren. Depending on the context, I might prefer one or the other. –  Mrmfldmn Dec 6 '12 at 8:04
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The words I would use are "seltsam" and "unheimlich." These words have the connotations of "not normal."

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I'd say they "unheimlich" also has a strong connotation of "creepy" rather than "weird" - if I understand "random" correctly in this context, it's more an expression of amusement, isn't it? –  Mac Jul 3 '12 at 20:15
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My proposal for the sentence would be "Was für ein Zufall!" (possible paraphrase: what a strange conicidence). It uses the German noun for "random", but in this colloquial context nobody would attach the technical meaning.

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I guess I'm nobody. :-) –  celtschk Jun 18 '12 at 12:23
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Ich übersetze das immer mit zufällig, im wörtlichen Sinne. Im Sinne von: eine Zufallszahl (random number) ziehen oder ein "Zufallslied" beim Random-Programm der Musikanlage.

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Actually this does not answer the question. (Random as in weird, not as in having a lack of pattern.) –  musiKk Jun 15 '12 at 9:51
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You could use word "komisch" which has couple of meanings and weird is one of them. The other word that might work is "wahllos"(something done indiscriminately). In German "wahllos" has this negative connotation and also includes the "weird" part. However, "komisch" is a better word I think because "wahllos" is too negative and straightforward.

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+1 for komisch. I definitely would not use "wahllos" as an translation in this context, because it really only means "without any pattern" and does not convey the sense of "dude, wtf?" as "random" does. –  0x6d64 Jun 15 '12 at 8:30
    
"Willkürlich" could apply in some cases. –  Joachim Sauer Jun 15 '12 at 8:38
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