'Label propagation' is a technique to classify nodes. So you have a graph

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and some nodes (in this case the nodes are named with "1", "2", "3", "4", "5" and "6") have labels (e.g. if your graph is a social network, the labels could be academic degrees (high school, bachelor, master, phd, ...)). But not all nodes have labels. Then you want to "propagate" those labels. So you assume that nodes which are connected are more likely to have the same label.

Is there a German name for "label propagation"?

3 Answers 3


As other contributors have remarked, the use of the English term will be completely acceptable in a scientific paper and probably most appropriate anyway as label and propagation are established technical terms with a specialized meaning in the base formalism (mathematical graphs).

However, if you wish to coin native terminology, you may try

kantengebundene Attributvererbung / Markierungsvererbung

(edge-bound attribute / label inheritance), where the latter comes closer to the original but sounds awkward due to the double nominalization within the compund noun.

In general consider variants like

Markierung / Attribut / Namen / Bezeichnung

for label and

entlang der Kanten vererben / weiterleiten; durch den Graph senden / leiten; Den Graph mit ... fluten

for propagation.

Finally, please refrain from translating label as Etikett and propagation as Fortpflanzung unless you wish to add a humoristic trait to your paper.


Due to the nature of the task in question, you might use the term "Label-Propagation" as an imported Anglicism. Although discouraged, this is possible, and in fact pretty often seen in German business language.

Since the label denotes a property of the node, you can use this, together with "Propagation" (German pronunciation).




However, if this is a scientific paper, I'd introduce the term "Label-Propagation" and describe it the way you did in your opening post in a foot note, on the first occurrence.

  • It is a scientific paper. I write the paper in German, but all my references are written in English. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 9:52
  • 4
    I think it's better to use anglicisms. It makes only headaches if you have to guess the original English meaning when someone has very elaborately thought of a totally far-fetched German version...
    – a2sng
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 10:29
  • Btw, both Propagation and Label can be found in Duden.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 13:43
  • I know the term "Propagierung" instead of "Propagation" from my courses. Btw, you have a typ in the first quote, "Eingenschafts..."
    – waldrumpus
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:52
  • @CarstenSchultz Ich muss gestehen, ich bin überrascht und nicht überrascht zugleich. Danke für den Hinweis!
    – polemon
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 19:42

I agree with not translating the term at all; you don't want your audience to try to translate whatever you come up with to english in order to understand it. You might want to add a sentence to the beginning of your paper like 'Mangels eines feststehenden Begriffs verwendet dieses Paper das englische Wort "Label propagation", eine mögliche deutsche Übersetzung wäre "Eigenschaftsübertragung"'.

Or, if you want to use a german word, something like 'Aufgrund der besseren Lesbarkeit habe ich den englischen Fachausdruck "Label propagation" mit "Eigenschaftsübertragung" übersetzt'.

You might want to use "Bezeichnung", "Klassifizierung" or "Eigenschaft" for "Label".

Please do not translate propagation with Vererbung as this implies inheritance which is probably not what you want to say. "Übertragung" or "Übernahme" seem the best possible words to me.

  • Auch wenn Vererbung normalerweise keine sinnvolle Übersetzung von Propagation ist, beschreibt es im Beispiel doch recht gut, was passiert. Ich sehe da keinen Unterschied zu Übernahme.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 21:30
  • Nun ja, unter Vererbung verstehe ich die Übernahme von einem allgemeinen Fall in einen Spezialfall. Was der Spezialfall nicht eigenständig definiert, erbt er vom allgemeinen Fall. Genau das scheint mir hier nicht zu passieren. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 22:02
  • 1
    @GuntramBlohm: Im Kontext von Mehrfachvererbung / multiple inheritance scheint mir das genaue Gegenteil zu gelten: spezialisierte Fähigkeiten werden in einem allgemeineren Kontext zusammengeführt. Analog sehe ich die Vererbung genetischer Fähigkeiten über evolutionäre Zeiträume hinweg (wobei man hier möglicherweise hinsichtlich der kompatiblen ökologischen Nischen anders argumentieren kann). In diesem Sinne wirkt die Interpretation als Weitergabe an die Nachfolgegeneration plausibler und in jedem Fall allgemeiner.
    – collapsar
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 16:19
  • @GuntramBlohm: Nicht böse gemeint, aber auf die Idee, das Vererbung »die Übernahme von einem allgemeinen Fall in einen Spezialfall« bedeutet, kann nur ein Programmierer kommen.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 17:32

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