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How would I best translate logging of data by a computer program?

  • A log
  • Logging to a file
  • A log entry

We also ‘book’ entries to a log file, such an entry is called:

  • A log booking

For now we have just chosen Log (and Logbuchung for that last one), but I only know Buchung as a flight, hotel booking (like Reservierung).


Update, following up on a comment under O.R.Mapper’s answer. I am not happy with that term log booking in our source language. That’s why I mention it separately. I may suggest that we remove that, and maybe use log entry there as well.

  • Logging is also common in German, but a German word would be Anmeldung – Medi1Saif Nov 19 '15 at 9:25
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    Anmeldung is for "logging in", but definitely not for creating log file entries. – Burki Nov 19 '15 at 9:33
  • the log --dt.--> "das Logging" – äüö Nov 19 '15 at 10:25
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The English word Log will be understood, as explained in the other answer. It is related (and obviously similar) to the German word Logbuch, which denotes logs or diaries aboard ships and some other vehicles (such as aircraft or spaceships), as well as some logs in contexts that might be metaphorically related to the aforementioned ship context1. However, Log itself does not seem to have been used in the sense of the English log in German before being introduced via IT contexts; Google NGram shows a certain rise in frequency of the term Log in German texts starting between 1990 and 2000, and at least random samples look like after 2000, quite some books mention Log related to software logs, whereas before 1990, books seem to almost exclusively refer to logarithms when they write Log.

However, the actual German translation of log would be Protokoll. It is a rather frequently used word that appears in many contexts in German (Protokolle are created on business meetings, on meetings between parents and schoolteachers, on organized meetings (to make decisions) between tenants of a house, during court trials, etc.), so every native speaker will likely know it. Some examples of real-world IT-related usage:

German translation of Windows Event Viewer using the term *Protokoll*

Based upon that word, the expressions you asked about are:

  • A log: ein Protokoll
  • Logging to a file: [den Ablauf/die Ausführung/…] in einer Datei protokollieren
  • A log entry: ein Protokolleintrag; ein Eintrag/eine Zeile/… im Protokoll

Concerning the expression with booking, I am not quite sure — does that mean you call the act of logging something “booking an entry into a log”? In that case, I would still use protokollieren in German.

Alternatively, do you mean that a booking (of something else) is getting logged? In that case, log booking seems like a misnomer to start with, as it should be either a logged booking, or a booking [in a] log, i.e. something like Buchungsprotokoll (if the whole log only contains bookings), or protokollierte Buchung (for a single event).

1: This contextual restriction of where a Logbuch would be used is also illustrated in older text samples provided by userunknown:

  • Reise nach dem Vorgebirge der guten Hoffnung, ..., Andreas Sparrmann, Berlin 1784: "Da ausser mir nur sehr wenige Personen von der Wache auf dem Verdeck waren, wurde dieser Vorfall weder in das Logbuch, noch in eins von den bereits gedruckten Tagebüchern eingetragen" (the protagonist is travelling on a ship, hence there is a Logbuch)
  • Reisen eines Officiers durch die Schweiz und Italien, Hannover, 1786, "Er schreibet auch auf eine schwarze Tafel den Lauf, Wind, und die Anmerkungen, welches alle 24 Stunden ins Logbuch oder Schifsjüurnal getragen wird." (a letter describing the operations aboard a ship)
  • Reisebeschr. nach Arabien u a umliegenden Ländern, Carsten Niebuhr, 1774, ‎"Da ich bemerkte, daß unsere Rechnung nach dem Logbuch uns bey unsere Ausreise weiter nördlich und bey unserer Zurückkunft weiter südlich brachte als wir wirklich waren (...)" (this, again, describes a journey aboard a ship)

(Of course, this does not mean the word can absolutely never appear in another context; almost every word can be used in any context and meaning, given the appropriate metaphor. However, such occurrences do not seem to be relevant when looking at the typical usage of a word.)

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    @Takkat: Ich habe die belegbaren Informationen aus der Diskussion in meine Antwort eingearbeitet; sollte es daran begründete Zweifel geben, so denke ich, dass eine separate Antwort geeigneter ist, um eine andere Meinung vorzubringen, als in einer Antwort mehrere alternative Meinungen unterzubringen. – O. R. Mapper Nov 23 '15 at 10:48
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    Ich bitte darum den Kommentar nicht zu entfernen, dass man für die Fachwelt nicht nachträglich versuchen soll Übersetzungen für dominierende Begriffe zu etablieren, die nur zu Unverständnis und Verwechslungen führen wie hier im Fall "Protokoll". Andererseits reicht solch eine Übersetzung wie "Protokoll" auch nicht aus, um dem Laien in einem Wort klar zu machen, worum es sich nun genau handelt. Es übersetzt auch keiner Smartphone mit Klugtelefon. – äüö Nov 24 '15 at 16:10
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Logdatei is quite common in German, even Logfile is not unusual around computers. (Note the capital "L" for a noun in German)
Logbuch is a bit more reserved. You would expect that on a ship or aircraft, but not in a piece of software.

For the creation of a log entry you can use loggen and a single entry in the log file is a Logeintrag.

If you want something more formal, less computer-oriented, the term Aufzeichnung comes to mind.

If for example you wanted to say we are logging all user transactions in a log file, you could (apart from using the term logging, which would be accepted) say: Wir speichern alle Benutzertransaktionen in einer Datei / Logdatei.

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    Burki hat recht. Log ist Computer-Fachsprache und es gibt keine dt. Übersetzung. Für den Laien kann man das höchstens mit "interne Aufzeichnung von technischen Detailinformationen" beschreiben. – äüö Nov 19 '15 at 9:51
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    @falkb: "Log" und davon abgeleitete Wörter werden zwar häufig verwendet, aber natürlich gibt es eine gängige deutsche Übersetzung, die auch im IT-Bereich immer wieder verwendet wird und Benutzern verständlich ist: Protokoll/Protokollierung/protokollieren (Beispiel). – O. R. Mapper Nov 19 '15 at 11:19
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    By the way, it should be noted that the question speaks about "Logbuchung", while this answer mentions "Logbuch". "Buchung" and "Buch" are two quite different concepts (just like "booking" and "book"). – O. R. Mapper Nov 19 '15 at 11:21
  • @O.R.Mapper i was assuming he meant Logbuch, but you are right, this assumption could have been wrong – Burki Nov 19 '15 at 11:57
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    @JanDoggen could you explain that? I don't think i really understand what you mean – Burki Nov 19 '15 at 15:16

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