Personal chattels and chattels personal

The John Doe topic leads Mark Liberman at Language Log to a discussion of personal chattels and chattels real in the Irish Senate in 1973.

bq. Mr. Cooney: There is no definition in the Statute or in the parent Act of personal chattels. But “personal chattels” has been for so long a legal term that it now has a certain legal standing. If the Senator wishes I can quote for him a definition from Wharton’s Law Lexicon where “personal chattels” is defined. When the Senator hears the definition he will be quite satisfied that no difficulty will arise in interpreting the Act and deciding what it applies to.

bq. Chattels personal or in a more narrow and more modern sense, “chattels” means movable property or effects which belong personally to the owner and for which if they are injuriously withheld from him he has, in general, no other remedy than by personal action … while a mixed action of ejectment in which the plaintiff could recover the specific property was available in the case of “chattels real”.

I find this discussion a bit confusing. To my mind there is a difference between chattels personal and personal chattels. The Oxford Dictionary of Law confirms this: personal chattels are defined in the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and do not include chattels used for business purposes at the intestate’s death. So chattels personal is a broad property term more or less corresponding to moveable property, part of a system more complex than the division between real and personal property, whereas personal chattels are the chattels personal a person owns, things like toilet articles, bags, umbrella. The Irish Senate appear to be discussing when a fish becomes a personal chattel. Or when it becomes a chattel personal? But they do quote the Administration of Estates Act 1925. If any Irish lawyers are reading this blog, they are offline for a couple of weeks, so I will have to leave it there.

Medical translation weblog

Sonja Tomaskovic (excuse lack of diacritics) has a medical translation weblog, mainly in English but with some German and Croatian.
The weblog was originally here , where there are older entries (there may have been an earlier stage still). It’s now here.

Sonja’s website has a useful list of tools. She has a FURL page too. FURL, already mentioned by Handakte WebLAWg more than once, allows you to collect webpages online, at present free of charge. Weblinks that survive will direct you and others to the original site, but those that die will be saved. Amy Gahran’s Contentious weblog has more information on how she used FURL.

LATER NOTE: in a comment, Sonja points out that she will shortly be deleting her own weblog. A good opportunity to use FURL to preserve it if you want to!

‘John Doe’ slips into German news articles/”John Doe” = unbekannt, wer wusste das schon?

In den USA heißt John Doe (oder Jane Roe usw.) “unbekannt”, z.B. in Anzeige gegen Unbekannt oder für jede andere anonyme Partei. In England kommt derselbe John Doe in fiktiven Fallbeispielen im Jurastudium vor.

Nun hat AP dieses nicht gewusst, so dass der Eindruck erweckt wird, Michael Jackson hätte was mit einem echten John Doe zu tun. Näheres in Carob, der auch Blick Online zitiert:

bq. Denn «John Doe» ist der englische Bruder von «Otto Normalverbraucher» und springt oft als Platzhalter für unbekannte Tote, erfundene oder anonyme Personen ein. Übrigens: John Doe hat auch eine Schwester – sie heisst Jane Doe.

Robin Stocks
picked up the following wonderful story.

bq. Would the real John Doe please step forward?
This is lovely. A broad cross-section of the German and Austrian press has egg on its face today thanks to an overlooked translation error in a German news agency story about the trial of Michael Jackson. The latter stands accused of seducing a boy referred to for anonymity’s sake as John Doe. Accordingly, there are references to ‘John Doe and his family’ in the American press. Now, ‘John Doe’ of course means nothing to a German readership, but the German news agency, AP, failed to pick up on this and retained the name.

Cause of death: too few EU translators?

According to the Guardian:

bq. Doctors in some of the world’s poorest countries are being denied cheap life-saving drugs for patients because Brussels lacks enough linguists to translate a new patent law into the 20 languages of the European Union, the British government said last night.

Presumably, before the law was passed, they were being denied cheap life-saving drugs as a result of the inaction of the EU legislature?

bq. A spokeswoman for Mr Lamy said last night that translators in Brussels were doing their utmost to cope with the complex extra work caused by the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 countries this year, and promised the legislation would be ready in the autumn. “I don’t think there is more difficulty with this than with any other piece of legislation.”

And later:

bq. So far only Canada among developed countries has passed new laws, and Britain is unable to do so until primary legislation is agreed in Brussels.

I’m not sure that this is strictly a translation department problem. I presume they have a different team to ‘translate’ legislation, which is binding in all languages.

Are certified translations ‘beglaubigt’?/”Beglaubigte” Übersetzungen

Die Meinung eines Bundesrichters am BGH zu dieser Frage, hier schon früher mehrmals erörtert: das Thema wurde neulich auf der u-forum Mailingliste besprochen und es gab einen Beitrag, der mich unterstützt, von einem Richter, der auch übersetzt und mit dessen Genehmigung ich es hier poste.

bq. Juristen kann man nur mit ihren eigenen Waffen (Paragraphen!)schlagen.
Die Dir anläßlich der Ermächtigung erteilte Auskunft erfolgte offenbar aus
der verengten Froschperspektive des für die Ermächtigung Zuständigen, der
offenbar “seine” Vorschriften als gottgegeben ansieht. Denn es heißt in der
Tat in Ziffer 4.2 der Anlage zu § 1 Abs. 2 des für das LG Landau
maßgeblichen rheinland-pfälzischen Landesjustizverwaltungskostengesetzes vom
7. 4. 1992 (GVBl. 1992 S. 99), daß Du eine Gebühr bezahlen mußtest für die
Ermächtigung zur ***Bescheinigung*** der Richtigkeit und Vollständigkeit der

bq. Unter ***Beglaubigung*** im engeren Sinne versteht man eigentlich nur die
Unterschriftsbeglaubigung durch einen Notar oder eine Behörde.

bq. Aber laß Dich nicht ins Bockshorn jagen. Der Begriff ***beglaubigte
Übersetzung*** ist absolut eingebürgert und legitim. Selbst der Gesetzgeber
verwendet ihn. Weise die Kollegin oder den Kollegen mal auf § 325a Abs. 1
Satz 4 und auf § 340l Abs. 2 Satz 4 HGB (Handelsgesetzbuch) hin: dort ist
jeweils von “beglaubigter Übersetzung” die Rede.

bq. Oder noch besser auf Abschnitt IV des (nach § 1061 Abs. 1 Satz 1 ZPO in
Deutschland anzuwendenden) UN-Übereinkommens über die Anerkennung und
Vollstreckung ausländischer Schiedssprüche vom 10. 6. 1958 (BGBl. 1961 II S.
121). Dessen Abs. 2 Satz 2 lautet:
“Die Übersetzung muß von einem amtlichen oder beeidigten Übersetzer oder von einem diplomatischen oder konsularischen Vertreter ***beglaubigt*** sein.”


bq. Was ich hätte präzisieren sollen: Ich hätte weiterhin keine Bedenken, die
Übersetzung mit “Beglaubigte Übersetzung aus dem …” zu übertiteln, würde
aber am Schluß stets formulieren, daß die Richtigkeit und Vollständigkeit
der Übersetzung *bescheinigt* oder *bestätigt* wird. Oder noch einfacher,
wie ich’s bisher gehandhabt habe:
“Für die Richtigkeit und Vollständigkeit der Übersetzung:
für den OLG-Bezirk XY ermächtigter Übersetzer der … Sprache”.

(In Bayern ist der Wortlaut hier vorgeschrieben, in den anderen Bundesländern, soviel ich weiß, nicht).

Auch Eurodica(u)tom soll für certified translation nur die Übersetzung beglaubigte Übersetzung liefern.

The above remarks relate to whether the German word beglaubigen can be used for certify by translators, or whether only higher life-forms have the right to use it.

Previous entries / Frühere Einträge:
18th June 2003, 18th June, 19th June, 20th June.

Insurance law weblog

iNews: Lex in the City is the weblog of Jolyon Patten, a partner in Elborne Mitchell specializing in insurance and professional liability law. It’s a good firm that doesn’t mind a posting of The Law as Practised Down Under on its site:

PRISONER: I fuck you, answer you, stuff you, poofter. Is that enough for you answer?
HIS HONOUR: That is no answer, but I take it as a plea of not guilty. In view of the outrageous outburst from the accused, I assume that the torrent of language from him is a plea of not guilty to each count. Remanded for trial. Has anyone been imprudent enough to grant a bail agreement?

On June 22nd I’m pleased to read:

We have a WiFi spot in our offices so that clients can come in and use the net, check emails etc during long meetings. We don’t quite run to cappuccinos yet, though that gives me an idea…

(Via Delia Venables)

German political and religious posters / Plakate

Anklicken zum Vergrößern.

Here are some pictures from Fürth that I’ve been meaning to post for some weeks now. Click to enlarge.


This poster seems to be saying too much at once. It seems to come from attac, an anti-globalization organization. What is the message? Germany did badly in the Pisa tests and isn’t spending enough on education, and it’s all Gerhard Schröder’s fault. But the Bild newspaper seems to be involved too.


Here’s a religious one, using the somewhat archaic rufet instead of ruft (God is calling), but incorporating a capitalization error (Sonntags/Mittwochs for sonntags/mittwochs) and a hyphenization one (Baptisten Gemeinde).


Finally, this car sticker is directed against the extension of shop opening hours: Without Sunday there would only be weekdays (and vice versa, I imagine).

German lemon laws continued

Robin Stocks pointed out an article in the Stars and Stripes on this topic, entitled ‘German lemon law sweetens car purchases’.

bq. In January 2002, under a European Union directive on consumer protection, Germany changed its laws on tangible property sales to better protect the consumer. All German dealerships must provide a 12-month warranty for every used car they sell.

bq. Ensuring that a dealership provides the warranty will save the buyer a lot of heartache and legal hassles if a dream BMW or Mercedes turns out to be a lemon, said German lawyer Roland Schwengebecher, who is representing Pullum in his dispute with the car dealer.

(The client referred to is Lewis Pullum, presumably no relation to Geoffrey K. Pullum of Language Log).

bq. The German lemon law, Bürgeliches gesetz buch, para. 434ss, states that if a used car bought from a dealership is defective, the dealer must take the car back or pay for repairs. The law does not apply to private sellers.

It’s odd to see a section/paragraph of the Civil Code being referred to as ‘Germany’s lemon law’, even though it doesn’t deal specifically with cars. I also think the ss. should be ff. (or et seq.). Probably the reference should be to § 437 in conjunction with §§ 280 ff.