From lip to paper / Übertragungsfehler

Michael Kadlicz of Juristisches und Sonstiges reports on the sort of problem that sometimes causes translators grief, when there’s an obscure word in the source text: a fellow-lawyer dictated ‘Briefdoppel’ and the typist wrote ‘Fristmoppel’.

I remember trying to help a former student with a long document that looked perfect but contained several instances of the word ‘culmany’. I thought the big OED would do it, but no. It was only when I fished out an ancient U.S. forces translation of the Criminal Code that the word ‘calumny’ emerged. And sometimes, as I have read elsewhere this week, expressions like ‘Klammer zu’ appear in the running text.

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