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Expressions such as Good for you! and Good for her! are very common in English, especially to congratulate someone on a success after one or more failures or to express deep happiness for someone else.

The best way I can think of to say this is German is Toll! but that doesn't seem to capture the sentiment perfectly. Is there a better way?

  • "Na toll!" Adds some more subtle emphasis. I am not sure if in the direction you wanted to express. "Gut gemacht!" seems to be more real emphatic. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 1 '18 at 17:31
  • Would you say "Na toll!" and "Das ist ja toll!" are interchangeable? – Dan Leifker Jun 1 '18 at 17:32
  • I am still not getting your sentiment direction completely, but "Das ist ja toll" sounds more positive. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 1 '18 at 17:34
  • Hmm... examples of where I would use this: (1) Your friend's son is accepted to a good university. ("Good for him!") (2) Your neighbor is finally getting married after many years of being unhappily single. ("Good for her!") (3) You tell me you decided to be truthful about some difficult situation. ("Good for you!") The sentiment is similar to rooting for a team, or expressing admiration for some noble act. – Dan Leifker Jun 1 '18 at 17:43
  • So you're about the positive way to express that admiration. In that case I's say something like "Hey Toll! Das hab(s)t Ihr/Du gut gemacht." I am missing the positive sentiment in your english examples already anyways. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jun 1 '18 at 17:54
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The best way I can think of to say this is German is Toll! but that doesn't seem to capture the sentiment perfectly. Is there a better way?

I don't think that a statement like

Good for you!

or

Good for her!

expresses the (positive) connotation you imply with it in english already.

especially to congratulate someone on a success after one or more failures or to express deep happiness for someone else

IMO, it sounds more being bored and uninterested, and a translation to german would rather be like

Na toll!

to give emphasize such sentiment.


To have positive and interested sentiment expressed, it would be something like

Toll! Das hast Du gut gemacht.
Toll! Das habt Ihr gut gemacht.
Toll! Das haben Sie gut gemacht.

Or the simple:

Es freut mich das zu hören.

As you proposed yourself.

  • Schön für dich, a rather literal translation has the same negative connotations, but it might be a bit more colloquial and Jugendsprache. – Narusan Jun 3 '18 at 19:24
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To express happiness for someone else you could use

Das freut mich für dich!
(for »Good for you!«)

Das freut mich für sie!
(for »Good for her!«)

For saying »Good for you!« as a response to the decision to be truthful about some difficult situation (item (3) of your comment) you could come up with something like

Das wird dir guttun! Du wirst dich erleichert fühlen!

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I would not use

Na toll!

since that is usually negative connoted – at least where I live. It means something like "Oh man" or "Oh no".

Toll!

is okay but does not express enough happiness. It could also be meant ironically if you do not pronounce it properly.

Express Deep Joyfulness and Congratulation

The following phrases are good options in my opinion:

Wirklich? Das ist ja unglaublich. Ich weiß gar nicht, wie sehr ich mich für Dich freue!

Ich kann es nicht fassen, Du hast es nun endlich geschafft!

Ich bin ganz aus dem Häuschen! Das freut mich wirklich für Dich.

Was, du hast es geschafft?! Das ist ja toll, jetzt...

Echt? Ich gratuliere Dir (herzlich)!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, das ist ja wunderbar!

These sentences basically express a large amount of joyfulness and congratulation.

Express Admiration

You wrote

The sentiment is similar to rooting for a team, or expressing admiration for some noble act.

Admiration is expressed by different phrases. You might use one of the following options (first one was already mentioned by @Rudy Velthuis):

Alle Achtung!

Respekt!

Hut ab!

Nicht schlecht!

Wow, das ist eine beachtliche Leistung!

Ich bin beeindruckt. Wie hast du das nur geschafft? Das ist ja der Hammer!

Prima! Ich wünschte nur, ich wäre so gut wie Du.

All these phrases are just basic examples. However, you should always try to adapt to the situation. To sound authentic it is always important to use individual, emotional and precise expressions as well as an appropriate pronounciation.

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Sure,

Toll! Es freut mich für dich!

and

Das hast Du gut gemacht!

sound nice, but, IMO, don't express the effort or hardship it must have taken as much and as concise as

Alle Achtung!

which is more or less a German equivalent of

Kudos!

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