German Word for Wimp

Pepper Mill was reading about Diary of a Wimpy Kid in the Boston Globe yesterday, and said that the German title translates as I’m Surrounded by Idiots! because there is no German word for wimp.

My immediate thought was – there’s an example of Sapir-Whorf for you – German has a word schadenfreude but no word for wimp.
Except that it’s not true. A quick internet search reveals plenty of German words that can translate wimp:

http://www.dict.cc/english-german/wimp.html

So why don’t they use one of these to translate Wimp? Are they considered too harsh for a kid’s book? or do they just decide that I’m Surrounded by Idiots! is just aesthetically more pleasing?

Some but by no means all of those terms would be a bit too much (literally, Schlappschwanz = limp dick, Weichei = soft ball).

The reason would not be that the title isn’t untranslateable, but that more often than not publishers of translated nonfiction choose not to literally translate a title. My impression is that publishers of books translated into German go for a title that is more descriptive than the original one.

What is the German word for Frenchman?

Isn’t Versager more along the lines of “loser” or “failure” (in the personal sense)? For those who don’t know German, the verb versagen and its variants denote the failure of a process or machine. Hence, applied to a person it’s someone who can’t succeed and fails at everything–not quite the same as a wimp.

Underpowered, unimpressive, mediocre, there is a perfectly good word for this in German, it’s Volkswagen.

Enjoy,
Steven