Spiegel Online with English summaries

Iggy of Blogalization reports that the Spiegel Online now comes with English summaries.

I assume the summaries are prepared in German and translated into English, at least some of them by native speakers of German. The interview with Helmut Panke of BMW has a certain heavy word-for-word feel about it and a giveaway misused whereby in the middle:

bq. “Of course the price of petrol has risen noticeably over the past months. But that is also a psychological problem. Apart from the weather and the performance of the German national soccer team, we Germans like nothing better than to moan about the high price of petrol. … Our customers are probably as aggrieved about the high price as the drivers of other makes. But that doesn’t make them put off the intended purchase of a car. … What good is a speed limit meant to be? … The German car industry “drives” its innovations, and thus its technological advantage, on the local motorways – that’s particularly true for car safety. … It’s no longer a matter of buying as many small components as possible in large numbers and hence cheaply. And BMW is big enough to be able to finance the development of new technologies – whereby engines are certainly the most expensive. If for example we use the same six-cylinder engine in all our series, that makes us highly efficient. … Our experience with Rover led us to the conclusion that one ought to concentrate on one thing. We are only going to be making premium cars: BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce.”

7 thoughts on “Spiegel Online with English summaries

  1. The legal usage of ‘whereby’ is so deeply engrained that I can’t possibly use it in a totally different sense (German wobei has a different meaning from whereby).

  2. Werner, I didn’t look at all the summaries. Just this one strikes me as having been done by a non-native speaker. Maybe it’s not true of all (I wrote ‘at least some of them’).

    I think it’s better to use native speakers, certainly into English and for publication. I’m not sure how Der Spiegel is being ‘unprofessional’, though! I regard Der Spiegel as a commercial entity rather than a professional one.

  3. MM,

    The translator’s name is shown at the end of each translated summary, and going by those names (and after some research into these people via Google), I have found that they are native German speakers.

    And that’s the same magazine that was complaining about the quality of translations not too long ago …

  4. The second and third ones I found were by Christopher Sultan, and they look good to me. I didn’t notice anything wrong except that in a NYT article (on the NYT site) he writes ‘discrete’ when he means ‘discreet’. And Christopher is an English name. Ah, just a minute: ‘The United States should learn from its recent experiences, and perhaps *they* already have.’ But the rest of it still reads fairly naturally.

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