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I want to translate West North Central States (of the United States) into German. A sample context is this Wikipedia article.

My guess is "Westnordmittestaaten" or "Westnordcenterstaaten", but I'm not sure if any of those are grammatically correct.

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    I'd not use the term but rather spell out which states or area you mean. You may rely too much on Germans' knowledge of American geography. – Robert Dec 26 '15 at 22:42
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    I didn’t even know that these states had a specific term. – Jan Dec 27 '15 at 14:42
  • Since there is no established name in German you can either go with a literal translation as presented in some answers or a more descriptive one like “nördliche Mississippi-Staaten”. – Crissov Dec 29 '15 at 0:28
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I would employ the term Mittlerer Westen (the Midwest) for the North Central States because that’s a term that is often used in German media and similar. Thus, for the West North Central States, you would arrive at westlicher Mittlerer Westen.

Still, you have to expect that many readers will totally mislocate it due to mislocating the Midwest and think it refers to something like Oregon, Northern California, and Nevada. Thus, if you want to ensure it’s correctly understood, you would have to spell out the states. But then again, you cannot expect your readers to know where they are located either.

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  • It’s odd that the US Census Bureau renamed that region to “Midwest” in 1984. Prior to that, it was a bit more coherent. Anyway, there’s quite some dividing going on. – dakab Dec 27 '15 at 8:26
  • The term Midwest is much older than this and well, if not universally, known in the US. – Wrzlprmft Dec 27 '15 at 8:35
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That’s a tricky one and there might be more than one valid answer. However, the actual direction is clear. If it was northwest, it would have been denoted that way. This means it’s like Western North Carolina, but regarding states in northern central US.

My guess for “West North Central States” would be westliche Nordzentralstaaten. That way, the western part is used in an attributive manner (as in »westliche zentrale Nordstaaten«). You could hyphenate it for “better” legibility (»westliche Nord-Zentral-Staaten«). It certainly is not a beauty.

Regarding your suggestions: »Westnordmittestaaten« might be okay, but it sounds more like states in the middle of the (Pacific) Northwest. »Westnordcenterstaaten« doesn’t fit, since “center” would be improper anglicism; you’d rather go with -zentrum or -zentral.

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As I commented above, I didn’t have even the slightest clue that these states were grouped together let alone that the name for the group be West North Central States. I know my geography rather well, so it’s a safe bet that save those actually studying or specialising in American sociology or related subjects would have no idea where to place them. My initial guess of where to place them was along the lines of what Wrzlprmft said: The central North-West; Oregon, Idaho maybe.

American regions outside of Westküste, Ostküste, Südstaaten or mittlerer Westen are not taught at school as far as I know, and even saying things like die Appalachen-Staaten or die Staaten an den großen Seen would likely leave some readers unsure as to which states were meant. Note that the same applies to English regions: I wouldn’t be sure whether Germans would place Yorkshire, the Midlands, East Anglia, Devon or Northumberland correctly on a map of England. Funnily, though, odd French teachers very much enjoy taunting their pupils with French regions, so some of those are much better known.

All things considered, let’s go by where the states are on a map of the US. I know it may seem like the West centre to Americans, (otherwise they wouldn’t be called by that name) but to Germans it is clearly die nördliche Mitte der Vereinigten Staaten or die mittleren Nordstaaten may also work.

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Nord-Westliche Zentralregion in den Vereinigten Staaten; Nord-West im Zentralgebiet der Vereinigten Staaten; or this maybe this: "Nordwest-Zentral-Region der U.S.A.";

May not best but in documentations or series they call it like this in the German translation.

if we look at this compass https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Kompass_de_S.svg/600px-Kompass_de_S.svg.png we just see that south and north have priority.

NORD, NORD-OST, OST, SÜD-OST, SÜD, SÜD-WEST, WEST, NORD-WEST

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    Is there a special reason why it is West North and not North West? I think West -Nördlich sounds strange. I would say Nord-Westlich or nordwestlich. – Iris Dec 26 '15 at 20:17
  • oh ok i just edit my post.. srry for this :D – ProJaCore Dec 26 '15 at 20:43
  • I am not sure, if my comment or your answer is correct. In English it's West North. – Iris Dec 26 '15 at 20:47
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    I think the reason for this word order is that the expression perhaps refers to the west of the north of the center. You can see how this makes sense by looking at the map at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_North_Central_States and comparing it to the map at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_North_Central_States . – Jake Dec 26 '15 at 20:49
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    Yes, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Carsten S Dec 26 '15 at 22:56

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