Das Video ist der reinste Schrott!

English Translation

The video is a real lemon!

Why is this the translation? The german word for lemon is not in the sentence, and neither have I ever heard this phrase before. “This video is pure garbage” would make more sense to me, or something similar.

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Yes, garbage, trash, junk.
I have also no idea where the lemon comes from.
Maybe it is one of those irritating examples where the translation was made via a third language, where the lemon made sense? Some experts here have access to Tatoeba and can look it up.

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Well, wiktionary says about lemon:

  1. (slang) A defective or inadequate item or individual. quotations
    He didn’t realise until he’d paid for it that the car was a lemon.

Then there’s the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
And in German there’s the expression “mit Zitronen gehandelt”.

But I agree, using it like this is new to me.

“Lemon” is slightly outdated English slang for junk, garbage, something that you don’t want. It’s usually used in reference to cars (“this junker is a real lemon!”) but can also be used more generally, and I believe is the source of the expression that pitti mentioned (“when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”).

It’s not terribly common in modern English, and I think a better translation here would be “that video is total garbage!”

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I appreciate someone came up with this translation and they’re probably doing unpaid work, but given English already has the expression that something is trash/garbage, it doesn’t feel necessary to reach for the phrase ‘lemon’ (which has a 33 y/o UK native speaker, I have never heard before, but I admit it may have just missed me).

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Well, the sentences come from tatoeba.org, and after a little research I found out that the original sentence is a japanese one (そのビデオは全くの不良品だ。 - Beispielsatz Japanisch- Tatoeba), and the english is a translation thereof.
The japanese sentence used “不良品”, which my dictionary says means “inferior goods, defective product”. So I can kinda see why the english translator came up with “lemon”?
And the german sentence is a translation of the english one, and the best translation for “lemon” was simply “Schrott”.

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