Neudeutsch/Denglish

German uses more and more English words, sometimes inevitably, sometimes irritatingly, sometimes both. Especially when it talks about computers. This is sometimes called Neudeutsch (in German) or Denglish (vocabulary list). But with the Americanization of the German law firms, and with international mergers, perhaps, there are more and more anglicisms in the law.

Perhaps it’s particularly rife in the glossy magazines for young lawyers, which appeared in Germany slightly later than in Britain, I think. Juve publishes a Handbuch Wirtschaftskanzleien (also in English: Handbook [sic] for US clients: German Commercial Law Firms) and also a periodical for law students looking for jobs with law firms called azur.The layout reminds me of a British publication, even down to sets of pages from various law firms on trendy areas of law, already punched for filing, at the back (e.g. Dr. Jürgen Beninca of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius writes on Gibt es den Golf nun bald bei Aldi? Die neue Gruppenfreistellungsverordnung für den Automobilvertrieb – I’ve always thought these articles would be great for culling new terminology, but I’ve never found time to do it).
In the last-but-one azur, Wintersemester 2002/2003, there is a glossary of Neudeutsch at the back (maybe there always is). I assume it was a glossary to the issue, because it says things like ‘Hardfacts – hier: fachjuristische Wissensvermittlung, z.B. Steuerrecht, Kartellrecht, Aktienrecht’, i.e. the term is defined as used in this particular article – although it doesn’t appear anyone reading the magazine would think to look something up in the back, and I can’t find a table of contents. Perhaps the glossary relates to the articles in the back. And the websites of some German law firms would produce a lot of these anglicisms.
Another problem: if the single word Hardfacts is now used in more than one sense, it sounds as if effect is given more weight than meaning (we translators like to look for the meaning, and it can be difficult to translate Neudeutsch into English – last year I remember translating the German term technisches Handling as case management).

Some of the familiar terms defined in this list: Due Diligence, IPO, Risk Management. Further: Boutique, Softskills, Rainmaker, Of Counsel, Equity Partner. It’s hard to see some of these being used in German, and I would think that in articles they are usually accompanied by a definition.

One thing I wonder is whether these terms are used in this journal in semi-translations from the English, and whether the translators are asked to proceed like this.

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