What other blogs are saying:
1. srah of srah blah blah introduces the fifth Language Week, which is a week when some people blog in languages they don’t usually blog in (in my case this would be any language other than English or German).
2. Mark Liberman at Language Log, taken up by Steve at languagehat, has been discussing the Arabic proficiency of U.S. Foreign Service officials. He quotes Passport Blog:
A 3/3 level of proficiency is virtually useless for conducting serious business in Arabic. The use of the word “fluency” here is deeply misleading: Someone with a 3/3 would not be able, for instance, to do simultaneous translation of a meeting, and would struggle to translate complicated documents. Anything technical, legal, or politically sensitive would not be something you’d want a 3/3 to handle. For that, you’d need someone closer to a 5 or better yet, a native speaker with a large vocabulary and superior writing skills in two languages. Such people are rare, because the amount of investment and time it takes to reach such rarified heights is more lucratively deployed elsewhere.
In the languagehat comments, bulbul (scroll down for nice photos of bulbuls) points out that translation and interpreting are skills that don’t automatically follow from proficiency, of whatever level:
That Passport blog Mark Liberman links to is a fine example of popular misconceptions concerning translation and interpreting. Not everyone who is fluent is capable of translating and very few people are capable of interpreting. Both of those skills take training and practice.
Quite right. Of course in difficult situations anyone who speaks two languages will be called in, but that can mean disaster on all levels.
3. At Wortfeld, Alexander Svensson reports: Aus für die EG:
Routinemäßig haben die Journalisten gelogen und von EU-Richtlinien und EU-Recht geschrieben, wo es um die EG ging. Vorbei! »The Union shall be founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall replace and succeed the European Community.«
The problem is now about to go. I think it’s worse than pedantic to ban talking about EU law: even now, not all law comes from the one pillar. And there are many books on ‘EU law’. But if the EU has legal personality, the problem will go away.
4. www.blogwatch.eu introduces European blogs it likes. Some are in English (or even ‘English’ – although look-s is mainly about pictures and is introduced in German) and some in German. Larko’s real name is revealed as Markus Larkovirta.