German-English book on German government

I recently bought a two-language book called Staats- und Verwaltungsorganisation in Deutschland. The Structure of Government and Administration in Germany, 1997, ISBN 3-931797-12-0.

What might interest some people is that in the same series there is one other German-English book (on the EU), but eight with Russian, six with Polish, four with Czech, three Hungarian, and one each Ukrainian, French, Spanish and Chinese.

Here’s the list, together with two postal addresses with phone numbers for more information. Perhaps they will reveal the ISBNs, because the books can surely be ordered from bookshops.

This is a very obscure book. I bought it because attempts over a few years to find someone who could tell me whether it was worth having had all failed, and it only cost 16 euros. I think this is the first time its ISBN has been revealed on the Internet!

The book is very well done. Not only the English terminology, but the English as a whole is excellent. Of course, it isn’t a barrel of laughs. The main reason why a person interested in this might not buy it would be that the vocabulary in it might be familiar from elsewhere. For instance, there is a Terminological Series issued by the German Foreign Office with a volume called German Institutions, which is a 1990 glossary containing the names of all the German ministries in up to ten languages. The translations used there are used here too.

The book says it is part of the Manual of International Legal and Administrative Terminology. The German version is ‘largely based on the textbook A 6 “Staatsrecht” by Gerhard Brunner and Frank Höfer.’ It was translated into English by Rhodes Barrett, who did a very good job. But his translation was reviewed by Dr. iur. Magnus G.W.Staak, Kronshagen/Kiel. The terminology was compiled by the Federal Academy for Public Administration (Bundesakademie für öffentliche Verwaltung). Does that mean just the German terminology? There is a bilingual glossary of 259 terms at the back. The whole thing is published by two institutions in Bonn and two in Munich. One of the latter is the Bayerische Verwaltungsschule (Bavarian School of Administration).The only translation error I caught was the use of administration of justice for Rechsprechung (p. 126). Rechtsprechung means judicial decisions or case law, and Rechtspflege is usually used for the administration of justice.

On the Internet, I found that the terminology reviser, Herr Dr. Staak, was 65 in 1997 and was given the exciting tome ‘Kommunale Finanzen auf dem Prüfstand. Die Lage in Schleswig-Holstein’ on the occasion.

And there’s a picture of him here.

Rhodes Barrett can be traced through the BDÜ , and translates humanities, social sciences (in particular a book by Niklas Luhmann called Risk: A Sociological Theory), the building trade, films, radio and TV, public relations work, development aid policy, law, the environment, and economics.

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