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So there's an infamous coffee shop in Santiago which goes by the name Café con piernas.

Everywhere I've seen, including the Wikipedia article linked above, it's translated as "coffee with legs".

However, a recent article on stuff.co.nz translated it in the image caption as "the cafe with legs".

My first impression is that they've just made a silly error and seen cafe and gone "I know that word".

However, literal translation for "the cafe" is of course, "el cafe".

I imagine in this case then, it's a case of several translations being 'right' but that the intended one, the one with the play on words (coffee with legs implying it gets you running etc), would be "coffee with legs", unless I'm missing something?

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You are right, the translation is "coffee with legs", no article. From my point of view (Spanish native-speaker and English learner), I would say it's just naturalising to a sentence instead of literally translating it. Thus, I would say it's the journalistic way of explaining what it means or what it's about, like in many other articles in many languages. –  JoulSauron Oct 2 '12 at 9:45
    
@JoulSauron put it as an answer. –  Amedio Oct 2 '12 at 11:01
    
@Amedio Hecho. I didn't put it as an answer as I think that with my clarification the OP would understand that it's not really about Spanish and might want to close it. –  JoulSauron Oct 2 '12 at 13:34
    
Why would I close it? It's a translation problem I and others on FB were discussing, it's Spanish to English, and is an actual problem I was facing. –  Mark Mayo Oct 2 '12 at 16:30
    
Coffee "to go," would have been my answer; that is from my perspective as an American. -The Coat –  user1050 Oct 11 '12 at 4:09

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In my opinion, it depends on how you take the meaning of "café".

In Spanish the same word is used to mean two different things:

  • Café (1): The famous, dark, hot drink. That would be translated as coffee in English.

  • Café (2): The place where you go to order and drink coffee. In English that could be translated as a coffee-shop, a cafeteria, a cafe, etc.

You could interpret the meaning as (1) "coffee with legs" if you think about the situation of having a coffee while enjoying the panorama of the waitresses' legs, or (2) as "the cafe with legs" if you think about the specific place (as in "the Hard Rock cafe"). Both interpretations are possible.

However, I agree that the original intended meaning is most probably "café con piernas/coffee with legs", as "the funny product" they are offering, in addition to the classic "café con leche/coffe with milk", "café con hielo/iced coffee", etc...

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You are right, the translation is "coffee with legs", no article. From my point of view (Spanish native-speaker and English learner), I would say it's just naturalising to a sentence instead of literally translating it. Thus, I would say it's the journalistic way of explaining what it means or what it's about, like in many other articles in many languages.

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You guys are right. It literally means "coffee with legs", but is not the right interpretation. As I live in Chile (not Santiago, but this therm is widely used here), I can tell your interpretations are almost right. A "coffee with legs" is a place where you can drink a nice coffee, and enjoy the view of the waitresses. They dress with very tight and short clothes and serve you the coffee. It's actually THAT way. On some places they even place some mirrors behind them and up on the ceiling so you can have a better look. In fact, you only go there to look at the girls. The coffee barely matters at all. Is not a place to have a different/exotic coffee, they usually just have capuccino. I hope this clear things up.

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¡Bienvenido a Spanish.SE! –  JoulSauron Oct 4 '12 at 20:30

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