The phrase "Public Viewing" was created and established during the world championships in 2006 in Germany. It describes the viewing of an event (like a football match) in a public crowd.

As mentioned later through several media, this phrase has a different meaning at least in the USA. It means a public laying out of a dead person (Öffentliche Aufbahrung eines Toten).

I asked an Irish colleague what he affiliates with this and how he would translate the "German public viewing" into something more common for them. He thought that it is funny, but was unable to provide "an Irish translation", because they don't celebrate events in that manner. Therefore there seems to be no single word existing.

To our non-natives outside Germany and outside the USA: How would you translate or describe "Public Viewing"?


4 Answers 4


The terminology "public viewing" has been in the English language for a long time. It can mean something which is shown to the public for the first time which is normally kept for private viewing only. A public viewing of a famous picture normally in private possession or for that matter any important object not normally available for the public to view. In England and USA the first thing which springs to mind for the term public viewing is a corpse being laid out for the public (Leichenschau or Aufbahrung).
The term public viewing has a subtle meaning, it doesn't just mean to view anything in public like a rock show etc. Unfortunately Germans have a problem with the finer nuances of the English language, hence their endless composing of mind boggling words and terminologies. For any German language abusers there is simply only one thing - public hanging!


Afaik this public viewing happens nearly 99% outdoor, in the open air with thousands or at least a several hundreds people on extra large projector screens in a stadium or park. So often no seats. This might be a description.

To translate "public viewing" to a not misleading english term i would say something like:

  • open air/outdoor ground viewing (sitting on your bum ;) )

  • super-screen outdoor viewing

  • outdoor TV event

  • park sport viewing

in german its seems quite usual to merge two words together, this often deforms the meaning of well-known english terms. Seem to be more a problem of bad denglish (english words are just more trendy) and not of intended germanisation.


Public screening would probably best fit the intended meaning


open-air viewing what else can I say?

  • 1
    for the first part. this is not correct. for the second, you could explain why. and for the third: Welcome to German Language ;)
    – Vogel612
    Jun 22, 2014 at 12:00

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