I'm looking for a phrase pertaining to an object that would release someone from any responsibility, and I'm not sure if "aus dem Gefängnis kostenlos Karte" or something would really fit the bill.
einen Freibrief haben.
In the middle ages, a Freibrief released bond-slaves of their masters. It was proof and garantee for their freedom. The word is still used in the sense you asked for.
There are several synonyms although no word with the exact same meaning except for the German version of the monopoly card:
The Synonyms are:
Freibrief: Rather means, that somebody won't be held responsible for mistakes or wrongdoings.
Persilschein: Can be used as Freibrief or rather as the original meaning of a certificate not to have done mistakes or wrongdoings in the past.
Freifahrt(s)schein: Rather means, that somebody is allowed to do many things (without control.)
German has two related phrases that can be used, depending on the context:
- einen Freibrief haben (in Austria [and some other regions], its 'Freipass' instead of 'Freibrief')
- Narrenfreiheit haben
The other answers that try to construct the same phrase from monopoly are not idiomatic german. Disregard them. If you want to use the name of the Monopoly card, its the 'Du-kommst-aus-dem-Gefägnis-frei' card. However, its literally just the card and has no metaphoric usage and is not idiomatic german when used outside of the context of the game.
Note that both aren't exactly the same. The first one is a bit closer to the literal meaning of the english metaphor, while the second one means more "jemanden gewähren lassen".
Some usage examples:
"Der Abschluss einer Rechtsschutzversicherung - gleich welcher Art - sollte nicht als Freibrief zum Streiten gesehen werden"
"Für die syrische Opposition ist Russlands und Chinas Veto gegen eine neue Uno-Resolution ein 'Freibrief für ungestraftes Töten"
"Die Enkel genießen bei der Großmutter Narrenfreiheit"
Technically, this is a document that lets you bring items into the country without paying duties. Metaphorically it can absolve you of other responsibilities. Example (found by googling it and clicking on Books) Ein weniger glücklich verheirateter Mensch bekommt durch diesen Vers nicht den (vielleicht erwünschten) Freipass, den Partner zu vernachlässigen [...].
Any references to Monopoly cards don't work the same in German. Don't use them.
This is the name of a card in the game »Monopoly«, but it hasn't an official name. Its just a card with this text:
Du kommst aus dem Gefängnis frei.
(translation): You get released from jail.
So there is no »for free« in the text of the German card, and this is the reason, why you won't find this part in any German names for this card.
German has a feature, that English (and most other languages) don't have: Compound nouns. This means: One term ist most often only one word in German, but a word that is merged together from two or more other words. »Get out of Jail free card« is one term. So the chances are very high, that it's German translation will be one word.
The most common name for this card is:
This is one word, but separated with hyphens to make it more readable. But there is also a shorter version without hyphens.
What must be in this word? (What is important in this term?)
This should be clear, this has to be in the word:
- jail = Gefängnis
- card = Karte
Then we need:
There are more than one ways to translate this:
- herauskommen (literal translation of »get out«)
- freikommen (literal: »get free«)
But the part »kommen« (here: to get) is less important. The core of the meaning is in »heraus« or »frei« (out).
And there is also:
This is one of this:
- ohne Bezahlen zu müssen
But this is the least important part of the term, and it is not part of the text in the German Monopoly-card. In the German translation it is not used.
We only use:
- heraus or frei
If you merge those words to one word, you get:
But #1 sounds bumpy and rough, and the original text is not »Du kommst aus dem Gefängnis heraus«, but »Du kommst aus dem Gefängnis frei«. So #2 is the better choice.
The literal translation is:
The german equivalent of "Get out of Jail free card" is the
"Komme aus dem Gefängnis frei" equivalent to "Get released from jail"
I'm not aware of a direct translation. But Narrenfreiheit fits the bill.
This phrase is also used in English. Even though I haven't heard it myself so far.