Can somebody please help me translate the phrase "What's up Homeboy" into German? I am getting mixed results with various computer-generated translations. I feel like these translations would not sound authentic, like what a young German might say casually on the street today, to a friend. I would like the literal translation if at all possible, and any 'slang' variants that are common in modern 'street talk'.

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    Hello Jason, the idea of this forum is to give advice on questions related to German language. It is not meant as a market place for translation requests. You can however adjust your question by adding your own suggestion for a German sentence that would fit your needs, or by documenting your efforts. It is already very helpful that you describe the situation where "What's up Homeboy" is used. You correctly suppose that readers here do not necessarily know what this expression is used for. This being said, something like "Hallo, Kumpel" could have been used... uh... 20 years ago perhaps? – Christian Geiselmann Oct 19 at 17:46
  • Your question is missing essential context information. In which decade does this situation occur, how old are these kids, what do they do in their spare time, how eloquently do they talk to each other, what vocabulary do they use normally? What suggestions did you get and why didn't you like them? – Roland Illig Oct 22 at 6:05

The German slang equivalent for "What's up" is "Was geht?". While there is no direct translation for "homeboy", "Alter", "Digger" or even "Bro" come very close in my opinion and are commonly used in colloquial (youth) speech to refer to or address a (male) friend.

So my proposed translations are

  • Was geht, Alter?
  • Was geht, Digger?
  • Was geht, Bro?

Note that "Alter", "Digger" and "Bro" can also be placed in front of "Was geht"

Was geht, Alter?

Alter (or Alda) is often used to refer to (male*) friends (or strangers for that matter) colloquially. Alter is not dated at all.

Some more regional terms include:

  • In Cologne: Bruder or Brudi (Brother)
  • in Hamburg: Digger (from the word dick meaning fat, but usually not pejorative)
  • In Berlin: Keule
  • In the Ruhr area: Kumpel (can sound dated, used specifically refer to miners)

Some more specific terms:

  • Meister (foreman) or Chef (boss)
  • Macker (male person, pejorative)

What's up can be translated literally as "Was geht?" or "Was geht ab?".
"Was los?" and "Was läuft?" also work.

There is no direct translation of homeboy, as in someone from the neighbourhood where you grew up. If that is what you're trying to convey, then using the word Homeboy as a loan word would work (perhaps don't count on the nuance about growing up in the same neighbourhood being understood). It may also be seen as sarcastic, depending on the context (i.e. as if you're parodying street slang).

* The female equivalent would be Alte, but this is clearly pejorative and can't be used the same way. To call a female Alter is technically wrong, but it's still done.

  • Better not using any loadword containing Boy when addressing adults. It's either insulting (Junge!) or people remember this beat: youtube.com/watch?v=88sARuFu-tc – Janka Oct 19 at 19:22
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    For females, would "Was geht, Schnecke" be appropriate? – Christian Geiselmann Oct 20 at 15:38
  • No, Schnecke is very disrespectful. Also I disagree with @Janka. I don't think anyone would translate it that literally (or if they did the meaning would be lost on them anyway). You're also familiar enough to call them your Homeboy in this scenario. :) – Stefano Palazzo Oct 21 at 16:11
  • @StefanoPalazzo Oh, i thought "Schnalle" was disrespectful, and "Schnecke" was appreciating. – Christian Geiselmann Oct 22 at 18:20

Well the other answers specifically missed the southern bavarian idiom where Spezi is currently used.

Ois klar Spezi?

Though that can come in different aspects:

  1. Negative

    We know you and will keep an eye at your further actions!

  2. Positive

    Come on let's have a drink together!

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