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I've asked a phrase translation:

Original sentence:

Past friday the server at xxx stopped, disk failure, I have been dealing with this ever since!

The suggested translation was:

Am letzten Freitag funktionierte der Server xxx, wegen eines Festplattenausfalls, nicht mehr. Seitdem beschäftige ich mich mit ihm.

But then, the problem arises, when the provider of said translation mentioned that if xxx was a person, the translation would have to be adjusted:

...funktionierte der Server von xxx, wegen...

So I am wondering, what's the role of "von" in this scenario?

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Side note: you don't need the commas in "... der Server xxx, wegen eines Festplattenausfalls, nicht mehr. " (wegen is a preposition) – splattne Aug 18 '12 at 7:40
up vote 11 down vote accepted

In the original translation, it is assumed that xxx is the name of the server (as in the fully-qualified domain name, for example).

Incidentally, that translation is incorrect, as the English original says "the server at xxx", meaning xxx is a place (and not a name).

So, the correct German translation would be:

Am letzten Freitag funktionierte der Server in xxx wegen eines Festplattenausfalls nicht mehr. Seitdem beschäftige ich mich mit ihm.

So, in (in German) declares a place or position. von, defines ownership (in this case).

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Simple enough! Thanks for the extra clarification regarding the "in" (German) and the "at" (English) :) – Zuul Aug 17 '12 at 19:17
I disagree. I would never use German "in" with a fully-qualified domain name such as, but I'd say "the server at", as a domain name is also an address. In Germna, I'd either use it as a name ("der Server"), or I'd use "der Server unter der Adresse". – wolfgang Aug 22 '12 at 13:19
@wolfgang: I'm pretty sure there is a misunderstanding, because I'm having a hard time relating your comment to my answer. – Oliver Salzburg Aug 22 '12 at 13:34
@oliver: Let me rephrase. You claim that the original translation is incorrect, and "at xxx" should be translated as "in xxx", as xxx refers to a place. However, "at xxx" in the context of a server usually refers to its address, also known as its fully qualified domain name, so the translation without preposition is correct. With a domain name, German "in" can't be used. – wolfgang Aug 22 '12 at 22:43
@wolfgang: Ah, got it. :) – Oliver Salzburg Aug 22 '12 at 23:16

english "to stop" is in german "anhalten" (The server stopped - Der Server hielt an), but in context of a server I would prefere "ausfallen" (Der Server fiel aus).

Identify the server by its name:

english: The server stopped.
german: Der Server fiel aus.

No prepositions needed.

Identify the server by its place:

english: The server at Vienna stopped.
german: Der Server in Wien fiel aus.

Use preposition of place.

Identify the server by its owner:

english: The server of Thomas stopped.
german: Der Server von Thomas fiel aus.

Use preposition of ownership.

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+1 Thank you for the extensive base of comparison. – Zuul Aug 18 '12 at 12:38
A server's name is also it's address. Therefore, you can say "The server at stopped" in English. (german: "Der Server unter der Adresse fiel aus") – wolfgang Aug 22 '12 at 22:45

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