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I want to say the following sentence:

Nowadays it is disputed, whether the youths with only 16 years old should be permitted to get their licence.

I came up with two translation. The first one seems very wrong to me. Is it? Is the second one OK?

  1. Heutzutage ist es umstritten, ob die Jugendliche schon mit 16 Jahren ihren Führerschein bekommen gelassen werden sollten.

  2. Heutzutage ist es umstritten, ob die Jugendliche schon mit 16 Jahren gelassen werden sollten, ihren Führerschein zu bekommen

  • your english example sounds like the permit is not yet given - is there a current permit or is the introduction of the permit discussed? – Shegit Brahm May 9 '19 at 13:49
  • there is no permit yet. It is discussed for instance in a commission and they are deciding it – Amir Shahnazar May 9 '19 at 13:53
  • "with only 16 years old" is suspicious English, AFAICT. "should be permitted to get their license at the age of 16" sounds better in English and is easier to translate to German too. – Rudy Velthuis May 9 '19 at 21:56
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Nowadays it is disputed, whether the youths with only 16 years old should be permitted to get their licence.

Heutzutage ist umstritten, ob Jugendliche schon mit sechzehn ihren Führerschein machen dürfen sollten.

Note the Konjunktiv II on sollen. This is because it's a counterfact. It's at least umstritten. The two-infinitives + sollten construction at the end may sound unintuitive but it's quite common to have such rows of infinitives in German.

There is no passive voice in the dependent clause. That is because sollen introduces a "semantic" passive while being active voice. That whole clause acts as the subject to the main clause which is a semantic passive, too.

Whether the main clause is static passive voice or a coupler phrase is a matter of your preference. I say it's the latter, because no one uses the verb umstreiten in active voice ever. It's streiten um then, and the Partizip II of that one is gestritten um.

Heutzutage wird (darum) gestritten, ob Jugendliche schon mit sechzehn ihren Führerschein machen dürfen sollten.

(Darum is an optional placeholder for the prepositional object. Because streiten takes a prepositional object, and um+Akkusativ is that one. Again, the whole dependendent clause. This sentence also employs a real passive voice.)

So umstritten in the original sentence is just a state assigned to the subject (the whole dependent clause) by the magic of the copula sein. That idea is also useful because of this:

Es bleibt umstritten, ob Jugendliche schon mit sechzehn ihren Führerschein machen dürfen sollten.

See what I did here? The verb bleiben is also a copula. It cannot be static passive voice any more, because that would require the verb sein. But this sentence is meaningful. It says, it's not just disputed now, but it was disputed and keeps being disputed. You may see this as another tense/voice/aspect but German scholars haven't put it into grammar yet. It's just another coupler phrase for now.

→ No passive voice at all.

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Neither nor. Just close.

My suggestion:

Heutzutage ist es umstritten, ob Jugendliche schon mit 16 Jahren ihren Führerschein machen dürfen.

That is quite short and it leaves out a possible nuance.

Heutzutage ist es umstritten, ob Jugendlichen erlaubt sein soll, mit 16 Jahren ihren Führerschein machen zu dürfen.

This second suggestion emphasizes more that the disput is on the permit itself.

As it is clarified (by comment) that the permit is yet to discussed and not already running, it is a matter of "characteristic style" of speaking.

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    i think "Heutzutage ist es umstritten, ob es Jugendlichen schon mit 16 Jahren erlaubt sein soll ihren Führerschein zu machen." would be the closest correct sentence to OPs ideas. – miep May 9 '19 at 14:17
  • Your first suggestion sounds to me as if it's disputed whether they actually are allowed to get their licence, though, not whether they should be. – DonHolgo May 9 '19 at 14:56
  • @DonHolgo: true, if I read it again than your's is a possible meaning. To emphasize that case I would replace schon mit with ab. – Shegit Brahm May 9 '19 at 15:38
  • Obacht! "get their licence" ist nicht "ihren Führerschein machen" sondern ihren Führerschein *bekommen"! – Hubert Schölnast May 9 '19 at 19:06
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    Das halte ich hingegen für Erbsenzählerei. – Janka May 9 '19 at 19:36

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