6

The context is in a moment of fright, shocked surprise, or an intensely painful injury (along the lines of the Wilhelm Scream).

I could go for phonetics and write „AAAAAHHHHH!!!”, but that’s just too close to „Aaaaah, jetzt geht es mir viel besser!”

3

I believe the standard translation in Disney comics would be simply something like “Aargh!” or “Aaaaaargh!”. At least that's how I remember it. The u is probably removed because it doesn't make any sense in connection with German's rather straightforward phonetic orthography. The h doesn't make any sense, either, but it also doesn't mislead, and it prevents a reading as the adjective arg = bad.

  • Argh does sound more like frustration or annoyance rather than dread and terror. Is it really used in Disney comics? And if we’re talking about not making sense, remember there’s elements in German’s allegedly “straightforward phonetic orthography” like Dehnungs-h as well as seemingly futile letters that exist owing to etymological reasons. – dakab Aug 23 '16 at 7:52
  • I don't really have much to contribute on the distinction of terror vs. frustration. Of course both occur in Disney comics, with the second being more frequent. --- I said "rather straightforward" precisely because German orthography isn't as regular as it could be - just enough so that an extra u would definitely be pronounced. – user2183 Aug 23 '16 at 10:17
4

I don’t think there is much choice to visualize it in letters other than Ahhh! And you’re right, it could be mistaken as a comfy ahh… If you do have context however, it will surely be understood.

Regarding other word choices, a rather poor alternative would be setting it with a leading w (Waahhh!) or r (Raahhh!), because those usually do not express sounds of comfort.

If by “translation” you refer to the actual transfer of the idea of “Auuuurrgghhh!”, and if your translation doesn’t have to be literally, you could use colorful language to get the horror across:

Ein furchteinflößender Schmerzensschrei ließ den Umstehenden das Blut in den Adern gefrieren.

  • Wa+h* and ua+[rg]h+ actually catch “fright, shocked surprise, … painful injury” quite well in my humble opinion. – Crissov Aug 23 '16 at 19:13
  • This is good for a third-person description, but ultimately I chose Hans Adler's answer since the medium I wish to translate is a comic (I suppose mentioning this in my question would have better clarified the context). – Aufgeschissener Kunde Aug 30 '16 at 23:02
1

Duden is listing uh for a shout of aversion, detestation or horror.

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