I hope this (letter/e-mail) finds you well. = Ich hoffe, es geht Ihnen/dir gut. [in der Einleitung eines Briefs/einer E-Mail]
The “letter/e-mail” may be omitted or replaced with similar nouns (“note”, “message”, “card”). As a way of introducing a personal message to someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while, this phrase is rather formal and slightly dated, but still very common, with no fewer than 19,500,000 Google hits for “finds you well”. Much like “how are you” or “how do you do”, it’s actually a salutation, not a real question—some non-native speakers of English have a hard time understanding this difference and feel compelled to elaborate on the state of their health, finances, marriage, etc. A guy called Clive explained it correctly: “[…] most of the time, it’s just a formulaic opening that means nothing. The speaker is not really expecting you to respond ‘No, I’m not well. I have a bad rash on my groin. I lost my job last week. My wife ran off with the mailman’. It’s rather like the formulaic greeting ‘Hi, how are you?’ No meaningful response is expected in most cases.” As MrPedantic explains in the same forum, the metaphor behind this phrase is that the letter or e-mail “is presented as an animate object, which will ‘find’ the recipient, like a pigeon with a message.” No equivalent or similar phrase exists in German; as usual in such matters, the Germans are more straightforward and prosaic—they’ll simply say they hope you’re okay: “Ich hoffe, es geht dir gut” (4,860,000 ghits) or “… es geht Ihnen gut” (161,000). (Of course, this isn’t restricted to letters the way “hope this finds you” is.)
“Frage: Hope this finds you well and happy
von Babel, 2003-09-19, 01:28
Just wondered how to properly translate this phrase to german? TIA
The this is referring to the letter by the way.
von Bee, 2003-09-19, 11:27
Ich hoffe, es geht Dir gut und Du bist glücklich.” forum.dict.cc