Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coffee to Go

Starbucks LogoWhen we started adding U.S. listings to the Nelso database, we added a number of new categories to the system. Some of these have been difficult to translate into all the other languages we support, especially Slavic languages like Polish and Czech.

One category in particular has been impossible to translate into Czech: "Coffee Houses". The idea is that a "coffee house" is something different from a "cafe", in that a coffee house is more of a quick place to grab a coffee, and will often have only counter service. A cafe has waiters and a food menu, and is a place to sit for hours drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and talking with friends. The distinction is of course blurry (you could sit for hours in Starbucks writing the great American novel on your MacBook), but generally I think of a place like the Cafe Slavia in Prague as being quite different from a Caribou Coffee in Minneapolis.

Germanic languages like German (Kaffeehaus) and Danish (Kaffebar) do have good translations, but not so in Czech. So we've decided to take the easy route, and simply call these places "káva sebou" in Czech ("Coffee to go" in English). Perhaps the guys at Coffee in Town (a niche local search provider offering a guide to Prague cafes) can come up with a better translation for "coffee houses" on Nelso.

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