3

Three parts to my question:

  • In Germany, would our American time zones still be referred to as things like Mountain Daylight Time or do other countries have different names for regions but keep abbreviations? if so, then what are the translations fo
  • In software, if (for example) an employee of an American business had to adjust something to an American time zone, would they be familiar with reading something like Pacific Daylight Time(PDT)?
  • What would be the best translations for the following?

    • Eastern Standard Time (EST)
    • Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
    • Central Standard Time (CST)
    • Central Daylight Time (CDT)
    • Mountain Standard Time (MST)
    • Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)
    • Pacific Standard Time (PST)
    • Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

I got the actual above list from a translator, they seemed incomplete as for "Central European Summer Time" he gave me Mitteleuropäische Sommerzeit (MESZ)

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    German Wikipedia forwards PDT to UTC-7 and for a menu choice this is sufficient. In case of a longer text, I would keep the original three letters adding a reference to UTC and introduce a term. As you observed, daylight would translate to Sommerzeit. – guidot Oct 25 '18 at 7:29
7

Dealing with far-away time zones is almost always an international matter, and therefore, time zone names are almost always given in English (because international communications prefer it) or in the language of the nation in question. Almost never are U.S. time zone names translated to German, French etc.

So what do you do? In contexts where the actual value matters, you should give the abbreviation and the offset, e.g. "PST (UTC -9)". Adding "Pacific Standard Time" adds little information, just a little local color - this is usually not necessary in business communication.

If you do use time zone names in German literary contexts, it's probably still not a good idea to render "Mountain Standard Time" either into "Mountain Standard Time" (which sounds grating) or "Standardbergzeit" (which no one will understand). You should recast the expression and speak of something like "...die lokale Zeit von Denver".

Note that when you speak of a "Daylight Time" variant, you can and should use the German word "Sommerzeit", since this is a well-known concept and term.

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5

Curiously, German speaking people seem to only want to convey the time difference relative to Washington or New York. For that the well established Ostküstenzeit can be used.

The other timezones are just not needed that much to necessitate an elegant word for it.

If looking at established examples in information technology use, then IBM lists their solution as well:

Zeitzonen-IDs, die für die Eigenschaft "user.timezone" angegeben werden können

HST -10 : 00 Hawaii-Standardzeit
Pazifik/Honolulu -10 : 00 Hawaii-Standardzeit QN1000UTCS

Amerika/Anchorage -9 : 00 60 Alaska-Standardzeit
AST -9 : 00 60 Alaska-Standardzeit QN0900AST

PST -8 : 00 60 Pazifik-Standardzeit QN0800PST
Amerika/Los Angeles -8 : 00 60 Pazifik-Standardzeit

Amerika/Boise -7 : 00 60 Mountain-Standardzeit PNT -7 : 00 60 Mountain-Standardzeit
MST -7 : 00 60 Mountain-Standardzeit QN0700MST,

Amerika/Chicago -6 : 00 60 Zentral-Standardzeit (Nordamerika)
CST -6 : 00 60 Zentral-Standardzeit (Nordamerika) QN0600CST, QN600S

Amerika/New York -5 : 00 60 Ostküsten-Standardzeit (Nordamerika)
EST -5 : 00 60 Ostküsten-Standardzeit (Nordamerika) QN0500EST

But my guess is that many people will neither know what the timezone means, nor know what the abbreviation would entail. So I think it is less important to use any variable at all. Use the abbreviation, but give the handy +/- in actual difference to UTC/GMT or the current timezone. Most should be able to do the math then quickly.

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  • Maybe I misunderstood the text, but none of your examples actually features the "time difference relative to Washington or New York", or do they? – O. R. Mapper Oct 27 '18 at 21:01
2

Look how Microsoft Windows deals with this problem. They use the terms "Eastern Zeit ((USA & Kanada)", "Central Zeit (USA & Kanada)", "Mountain Zeit (USA & Kanada)" and "Pacific Zeit (USA & Kanada)", which seems to be a good solution as absolutely noone would understand Zentralzeit or Bergzeit. Another option would be to list some cities in the time zones as examples.

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  • While these timezones are conveniently ordered (at least here in your answer), I could only guess whether "Central Zeit" is earlier or later than "Mountain Zeit" (based on which mountains are presumably meant). As such, I don't see an advantage of the awkward language combinations like "Mountan Zeit" over a fully translated term like "Bergzeit", which would allow for the same guess. – O. R. Mapper Oct 27 '18 at 21:04
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    @O.R.Mapper Maybe these combinations are awkward, but they are intelligible. In German, the Rocky Mountains are also called Rocky Mountains, no translation is used. So "Mountain Zeit" refers to them very well, and its clear what it is about. While Bergzeit is absolutely unestablished! My first implication when hearing the word "Bergzeit" is something like the time (of the year) when one goes hiking in the Alps... – scienceponder Oct 29 '18 at 9:32
  • "and its clear what [Mountain Zeit] is about" - it was not clear to me (as I wrote, I had to guess, as the term is at best self-descriptive, but not established), but your mileage may vary. – O. R. Mapper Oct 29 '18 at 9:40
1

In Germany, would our American time zones still be referred to as things like Mountain Daylight Time or do other countries have different names for regions but keep abbreviations?

No, Mountain Daylight Time would not be understood. Which mountains are meant? The Alpes? The Himalaya? An American (from the USA) would automatically understand that the Rocky Mountains are meant, but Europeans wouldn't. Rocky-Mountain-Sommerzeit or Rocky-Mountain-Winterzeit might work well.

In software, if (for example) an employee of an American business had to adjust something to an American time zone, would they be familiar with reading something like Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)?

Germans might have seen American timezone abbreviations in the context of aviation, software programming etc., but otherwise no.

  • What would be the best translations for the following?
    • Eastern Standard Time (EST)
    • Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
    • Central Standard Time (CST)
    • Central Daylight Time (CDT)
    • Mountain Standard Time (MST)
    • Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)
    • Pacific Standard Time (PST)
    • Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

You could use Ostküsten-Sommer-/Winterzeitfor EST/EDT, Rocky-Mountain-Sommer-/Winterzeit, Pazifik-Sommer-/Winterzeit. There are plenty Ostküsten (Schleswig-Holstein, Saudi Arabia, Japan,...) and Pacific is also quite unclear (California?, Chile?, Hawaii?, Japan?,...), but it would work, if there is an idea that the timezones refer to the US.

Otherwise, the best choice would be to use some city as reference. For example, New Yorker Sommerzeit or Seattle-Winterzeit.

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