Hello fellow German speakers. I was looking for a nice and joyful discussion about the translation of the great great 1922 movie Nosferatu. I find really interest the many meanings of the subtitles and one that catch my sight was the following one:

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I watched the version with the text in English and the most use is

Beware that his shadow doth not burden your dreams with horrible fears.

In the German version the text, I believe is a little different. Any interpretation is welcome.

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    – user9551
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


It's not so easy to translate that phrase for two reasons.

The first difficulty is the word Alp. Usually Alp is translated as nightmare today. You can learn more about the original meaning by visiting the Wikipedia links provided by Carsten Alp - folklore and Mare - folklore. For reasons of simplification I will use the term nightly demon here.

The second difficulty is the use of beschweren. The meaning here is not to complain but to ballast or to weight down. Today one would rather say something like belasten.

So the translation of the phrase

Habet acht auf dass euch nicht sein Schatten als wie ein Alp mit grausigen Träumen beschwere.

would be something like

Watch out that his shadow doesn't weight you down with gruesome dreams like a nightly demon.

  • 1
    After thinking over it a while, demon seems to be better express the nature of an Alp than ghost. Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 15:14
  • 2
    Another English translation for "sich beschweren" could be "to burden yourself*"
    – Arsak
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 17:13
  • 1
    I think it’s “weigh down”.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 17:17
  • 2
    I think to oppress fits really well in that context and also to burden. The meaning of to weigh down might be a little different from to weight down. But imo it would also fit well. At the end of the day (pun intended) it may be a little different from person to person, what the demon is able to do to them.
    – Olafant
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 18:13
  • 1
    @RaphaelFlato Here you are with a record: spreaker.com/user/11419575/… Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 22:37

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