I've asked a phrase translation:

Original sentence:

Past friday the server at xxx stopped, disk failure, I have been dealing with this ever since!

The suggested translation was:

Am letzten Freitag funktionierte der Server xxx, wegen eines Festplattenausfalls, nicht mehr. Seitdem beschäftige ich mich mit ihm.

But then, the problem arises, when the provider of said translation mentioned that if xxx was a person, the translation would have to be adjusted:

...funktionierte der Server von xxx, wegen...

So I am wondering, what's the role of "von" in this scenario?

  • Side note: you don't need the commas in "... der Server xxx, wegen eines Festplattenausfalls, nicht mehr. " (wegen is a preposition)
    – splattne
    Aug 18, 2012 at 7:40

2 Answers 2


In the original translation, it is assumed that xxx is the name of the server (as in the fully-qualified domain name, for example).

Incidentally, that translation is incorrect, as the English original says "the server at xxx", meaning xxx is a place (and not a name).

So, the correct German translation would be:

Am letzten Freitag funktionierte der Server in xxx wegen eines Festplattenausfalls nicht mehr. Seitdem beschäftige ich mich mit ihm.

So, in (in German) declares a place or position. von, defines ownership (in this case).

  • Simple enough! Thanks for the extra clarification regarding the "in" (German) and the "at" (English) :)
    – Zuul
    Aug 17, 2012 at 19:17
  • I disagree. I would never use German "in" with a fully-qualified domain name such as german.stackexchange.com, but I'd say "the server at german.stackexchange.com", as a domain name is also an address. In Germna, I'd either use it as a name ("der Server german.stackexchange.com"), or I'd use "der Server unter der Adresse german.stackexchange.com".
    – wolfgang
    Aug 22, 2012 at 13:19
  • @wolfgang: I'm pretty sure there is a misunderstanding, because I'm having a hard time relating your comment to my answer. Aug 22, 2012 at 13:34
  • @oliver: Let me rephrase. You claim that the original translation is incorrect, and "at xxx" should be translated as "in xxx", as xxx refers to a place. However, "at xxx" in the context of a server usually refers to its address, also known as its fully qualified domain name, so the translation without preposition is correct. With a domain name, German "in" can't be used.
    – wolfgang
    Aug 22, 2012 at 22:43
  • @wolfgang: Ah, got it. :) Aug 22, 2012 at 23:16

english "to stop" is in german "anhalten" (The server stopped - Der Server hielt an), but in context of a server I would prefere "ausfallen" (Der Server fiel aus).

Identify the server by its name:

english: The server mail.example.org stopped.
german: Der Server mail.example.org fiel aus.

No prepositions needed.

Identify the server by its place:

english: The server at Vienna stopped.
german: Der Server in Wien fiel aus.

Use preposition of place.

Identify the server by its owner:

english: The server of Thomas stopped.
german: Der Server von Thomas fiel aus.

Use preposition of ownership.

  • +1 Thank you for the extensive base of comparison.
    – Zuul
    Aug 18, 2012 at 12:38
  • 2
    A server's name is also it's address. Therefore, you can say "The server at mail.example.org stopped" in English. (german: "Der Server unter der Adresse mail.example.org fiel aus")
    – wolfgang
    Aug 22, 2012 at 22:45

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