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"Zufälliger Gast" - what is the meaning?

Threre's a translation exercise "ich bin ein zufälliger Gast" in the German tree. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2109485$from_email=comment_id=24486803

The original translation was an awkward "I am a random guest" which caused a lot of confusion and you can stil see it in the discussion thread.

The current translation is "I am an unexpected guest". But is even this correct? In which situations would you call someone as a "zufälliger Gast"? Is it for example an occasional guest in a shop? Or is it an unexpected visitor at your home?

September 19, 2017



Hm, I'm wondering too. No, in a shop, you are not a "Gast", you are rather a "Kunde".

I think in a restaurant, one might speak about a "zufälliger Gast" if something unusual happened. For example:

Im Restaurant "Blauer Hirsch" wurde eine Tasche gestohlen. Ein zufälliger Gast bemerkte den Diebstahl und verständigte die Polizei.

This "zufällig" emphasizes that the person was there by accident. It was not a particular person that called the police. The person did not have any particular qualification or authorisation for making that call, so to speak. But the sentence would also be totally OK without "zufällig".

And when the police interrogate that person later, they may ask:

Was haben Sie mit dem Diebstahl zu tun?

And the guest may reply:

Ich war nur ein zufälliger Gast im Restaurant und habe gesehen, wie der Dieb die Tasche an sich genommen hat.


Thinking about my own contribution of yesterday, I think that "random guest" would be a very good translation in the situation I decribed.

I cannot think of any situation in which "unexpected guest" would be adequate (I mean, a restaurant owner certainly expects to have guests ...) -- maybe someone else can.


Thanks a lot for your posts! I think that "occasional guest" or "occasional visitor" would be the common English terms, "random guest" is not the general phrasing.


One more question :)

Could you say in German "gelegentlicher Besucher"? If yes, then does it mean the same as "zufälliger Gast"?


No, "gelegentlicher Gast" is someone who is at the place not very often. "Zufälliger Gast", on the other hand, is someone who is accidentally present at a specific moment, no matter if they are a "Stammgast" or a "gelegentlicher Gast".

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