Eine peinliche Frage!
I have a little question regarding embarrassing situations. Specifically, I'm wondering how to express the difference between "he is embarrassed" and "he is embarrassing". Intuitively, I would expect "he is embarrassed" to translate as (something like) "Er pein sich" (using the same formulations as "Er freut sich" and "Er sorgt sich", for example). Google translate doesn't seem to think this is idiomatic however, and suggests "Er ist peinlich" as an alternative. It gives exactly the same translation, however, for the phrase "he is embarrassing". Given that these two sentences have very different connotations, I was hoping that some of you might be able to help me out by providing some clarification.
He is embarrassed = ihm ist etw. peinlich (literally: "something is embarrassing to him" or "he is embarrassed by something")
He is embarrassing = er ist peinlich
Notice, that you need to say what causes someone to be embarrassed in the german translation "ihm ist etwas peinlich", or in other words, you need an object. So you could say for example:
"Das ist mir peinlich" = "I'm embarrassed"
"Ihm ist peinlich, dass seine Mutter ihn abholt" = "He is embarrassed, because his mother is picking him up"
Yes, but there is a slight difference between sich schämen and etwas peinlich finden/sein. schämen is more like be ashamed. "Er schämt sich für die Lügen, die er erzählt hat" vs. "der Fleck auf seinem Hemd ist ihm peinlich". Sich schämen is a bit "deeper" or serious, while peinlich sein can also just have a kind of funny meaning (for the others, not for the guy who's embarrassed)....