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I'm looking for the English equivalent to the German word Manufaktur.

Basically, a Manufaktur is just a factory, but in German it is assigned with "premium" and "hand-made". The term comes up as a little bit old-fashioned, but it is used for factories that work in a rock-solid way and produce very high quality products.

When you call a factory a Manufaktur, you think of the products as being "art", not just "products". E.g., there may be a Manufaktur for jewelry or watches. But also luxury and premium-brand clothes are made in a Manufaktur, not just in a factory.

The Latin origin (manus = hand, facere = to make) has a big influence to the German meaning of the word.

When I looked it up in the dictionary, I was given manufactory and manufacture as translations. A little Googling pointed me in the direction that both words are highly assigned with industrial production - and the premium approach is not given in the English word.

So, to cut a long story short: What might be an appropriate translation of the German word "Manufaktur"?

  • Basically, you're perfectly right and I think that "workshop" is a quite good match. Unfortunately, in the context I am in a "workshop" is most often already assigned to a meeting or a tutorial. Hence this hinders usage a little bit… anyway, thanks for your help :-)) – Golo Roden Apr 2 '14 at 12:28
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I have seen Manufaktur translated as Studio.

Although more normally a place to produce artworks or designs, it has connotations in English of a place where quality articles are hand-made, or at least hand-finished.

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One definition of a "workshop" is "a small establishment where manufacturing or handicrafts are carried on".

These tend to be smaller than factories, but the real difference is that they don't mass-produce, tending towards high-quality, small-scale production.

There is also "studio", but that tends to be for much smaller scale, personal art/design products/projects.

"Boutique manufacturer" is also an option, where "boutique" = "a small company that offers highly specialized services or products".

Wikipedia sums up this concept well:

Boutique manufacturing is a method used for the custom production of certain products in limited quantities by hand or with a restricted level of automation. Products produced this way often include ceramics, furniture, amplifiers, yachts, boats, leather goods or watches and jewellery among others. In industrial countries, boutique manufacturing is being selected generally for high class goods in upper price levels and only for single products or small batches.

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