This is a Sandgrasnelke which I photographed last Sunday. I don’t know what it is, except that it is a kind of pink or carnation and its leaves and stems are covered with wax to withstand a dry climate. I don’t think it should be flowering in November, somehow.

LATER NOTE: it’s armeria elongata, not a carnation at all. Armeria maritima is thrift, and is similar – this is a subspecies.

Book on barristers’ clerks

One of the desirable jobs in the English legal world is that of the impresario-like figure of the barrister’s clerk. A clerk and his (are there any women?) assistants arrange the diaries of the barristers in whose chambers they are employed, in return for a cut.

Professor John Flood (no, Germanists, this is the other Professor John Flood) specializes in studying lawyers. He has studied and taught in Britain and the U.S.A.

My first major study was of barristers’ clerks, which is about to be revisited. This was followed by an ethnography of a large law firm in Chicago looking at the organisation of the law firm and the relationships between lawyers and clients. …The most recent research, funded by the German Science Foundation at Bremen University, will examine cross-border lawmaking in large law firms.

This is interesting stuff on which we must keep an eye. Professor Flood even has a weblog, Random Academic Thoughts (RATs for short).

His 1983 book on barristers’ clerks is online as a PDF and looks like an enjoyable read. The first appendix describes the experience of researching barristers’ chambers from the inside. review/Spannende Wochenendlektüre

From a review on (three stars out of five):

Was mir jedoch nicht gefallen hat, ist der fürchterliche Schreibstil des Autors, der sich hinter dem Pseudonym “Gesetzgeber” versteckt (ich glaube, ich weiß nun auch endlich, welcher Autor das berühmte Schild in deutschen Aufzügen verfasst hat*). In Frankreich habe ich in einem ganz ähnlichen Buch einen weit flüssigeren, eleganteren Stil und vor allem eine tadellosere Grammatik vorgefunden.
*Für Aufzugvermeider: Der Text lautet “Es ist verboten, Personen in Aufzügen zu befördern, in denen das Befördern von Personen verboten ist.”

German-Surinam Creole dictionary/Wörterbuch Deutsch-Suriname-Creole

Google Books reveals Wullschläger’s 1856 dictionary for missionaries (spotted by Trevor).

I always find it bizarre to find German written in Fraktur and the other language not.

jdn. als Koch anstellen: potti hem na koki
der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm: aranja (od. manja) no fadóm fárawei vo hem boom
das Bein brechen: broko hem foetoe
das Gesetz brechen: broko da wet
Eingang: doro
einheimische Kräuter: krioro wiwiri
Deutsch: opo-duisi
Furz: popòe; winti
Geschwätz: taki taki; taki
Nebel: smoko vo gron; dampoe; smoko

Domestic violence/Gewalttätigkeit in der Familie

In English law, there is legislation on domestic violence (Oxford Law Dictionary: ‘Physical violence inflicted on a person by their husband, wife, or cohabitant’), for instance enabling a wife to get an order banning her husband from the matrimonial home. Romain suggests Gewalttätigkeiten im Familienbereich; Tätlichkeiten gegen Familienangehörige.

Die Welt has now summarized a report in The Times. This relates to a pilot database trying to identify potential murderers along the lines of Ian Huntley (although it doesn’t answer the question as to why he slipped through the nets of the current law, where it should not be possible for someone with his history to be employed as a school caretaker).
The Times:

The team is concentrating on reducing the risk of those with a history of domestic violence turning into murderers. About a quarter of murders are related to domestic violence.

Die Welt:

Dem Team gehe es insbesondere darum, das Kriminalitätsrisiko bei Menschen mit häuslicher Gewalterfahrung zu senken. Ein Viertel aller Mörder habe entsprechende Erfahrungen, schrieb die „Times“.

I am not too happy about the translation of a history of domestic violence as häusliche Gewalterfahrung.

(Via Handakte WebLAWg)

Texas German/Texas-Deutsch

Annggargoon’s language of the week is North Texas German. Article in the Houston Times, and site of Texas German Dialect Project (TGDP) with sound clips.

Texas German is a unique dialect of German that is spoken by the descendants of German immigrants who came to Texas beginning around 1830. Widely spoken across central Texas for more than 150 years, Texas German is in the process of dying out because it is not passed on to younger generations.

Professor Hans Boas is working to preserve the dialect (is it a dialect?). It is not free of English influence. To quote the newspaper article:

Here are a few phrases and words distinctly Texas German: • die Stinkkatze: “the skunk;” literally: the stinking cat; standard German: Stinktier , meaning stinking animal • mitaus: a direct translation from English “without” (with: mit; out: aus); standard German: ohne • für sicher: “for sure,” direct translation from English; standard German: na klar , or sicherlich • der Blanket: “the blanket;” standard German: die Decke • Das hat mich gebothered: “that has me bothered”; “that bothered me”; standard German: das hast mich geärgert • Online: To hear Texas German and read more about the University of Texas project, visit Source: Hans Boas, University of Texas at Austin

A word to the wise: Choose the right translator

This is the title of an article in the International Herald Tribune this weekend.

Good advice in parts. I must quote the oddities, though: Professor Alain Thienot used translation software and found many errors. Two are cited:

Among hundreds of errors, the program produced a document that translated the French word “entreprise” as “undertaking,” rather than company, and “frais” as “fresh air” instead of fees or expenses. A frustrated Thienot had to labor five hours a day during his summer vacation to correct “so many stupidities,” he said.

I see the problem with frais, but entreprise > undertaking is good EU English. OK, one can often write ‘company’, but since it narrows the meaning, it’s not always safe.

Translators love collecting stories about these kinds of false economies, in part because it proves that translation still requires the human touch.

I admit I do quote errors, but I don’t think it’s very good translation advertising to pepper your website, for example, with other translators’ errors: it just confirms the association between translation and rubbish. It’s bad enough creating rubbish myself, without assistance from elsewhere.

Lori Thicke, co-founder of Eurotexte, a translation agency in Paris, remembered a client who organized trade shows. A contract he had drawn up with exhibitors of X-ray and MRI equipment was supposed to state that radioactive parts “should never be accessible.” Instead, the poorly translated document stated that “radioactive parts should be exposed at all times.”

I wonder if that was a machine translation? The French double negative is much feared in that context.

In many countries, including France, Switzerland and Germany, official documents may have to be translated by court-approved “sworn translators.” This can lead to cumbersome, and expensive, transactions. … Sworn translators may be no more competent than other professional translators, but they have taken an oath that they will not reveal what they have learned.

I love it! I am a sworn translator and I think I swore to translate correctly, which is bad enough. I often sign confidentiality agreements for clients. And I keep matters I translate confidential. But I don’t think a promise of confidentiality was the main element. The idea is to be answerable, which means traceable.

Doris Schmidt Fourmont, studies adviser at École de Traduction et d’Interpretation, a translation school in Geneva, said confidentiality was part of the ethics of the profession: “to be secret about all that they hear and what they know and what they read.”

I hope she didn’t say that in English.

It is right that one has to be careful in finding a translator, but it should be better known that being a sworn translator, or graduating from Heidelberg University or ESIT, are not failsafe guarantees.

But good advice on not correcting the translation without consultation with the agency or translator.

(Thanks to Elm on the pt list at Yahoo).

Dictionary of Austrian legal terminology/Wörterbuch der österreichischen Rechtsterminologie

Heidemarie Markhardt, who has been mentioned here before, has just published a dictionary of Austrian legal, economics and administrative terminology:

Heidemarie Markhardt, Wörterbuch der österreichischen Rechts-, Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsterminologie, Österreichisches Deutsch Sprache der Gegenwart. Herausgegeben von Rudolf Muhr und Richard Schrodt, Peter Lang Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles etc;
2006 | 1., Aufl.
2. durchgesehene Auflage 2010

ISSN 1618-5714
ISBN 978-3-631-59972-3

Heidemarie Markhardt (Autorin)
Wörterbuch der österreichischen Rechts-, Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsterminologie
Österreichisches Deutsch Sprache der Gegenwart. Herausgegeben von Rudolf Muhr und Richard Schrodt, Peter Lang Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles etc;
2006 | 1., Aufl.
2. durchgesehene Auflage 2010

ISSN 1618-5714
ISBN 978-3-631-59972-3

Sample page:
Download file

This will be of interest to anyone translating Austrian texts in this area. Despite the fact that (or perhaps because) many Austrian sites have English sections (a search on this weblog will reveal a number of earlier articles on Austrian law in English), it is still a slow business pinning down the terminology and then finding perhaps the German or French equivalent preparatory to translating it into English. This dictionary gives definitions and, where applicable, ‘standard’ German equivalents.

In 1993, Heidemarie Markhardt produced an internal EU glossary with c. 1200 entries and examples of collocations (unpublished) and in 2005 she published a book on Austrian terminology in 2005 (see earlier entry). (earlier entry).

The Wörterbuch contains Austrian legal terms, such as laesio enormis, Krida, Fahrnisexekution, Ausgedinge, Erbsentschlagung, Einlauf, including adjectives such as allfällig and taxativ (the latter in a combination). There are also many terms from Austrian government (Austrian terminology cannot be reduced to Lungenbraten and Ribisl) There are Austrian synonyms as well as German equivalents. I am not sure how many entries there are, but possibly over 1500.

There is a brief introduction to the problems of Austrian English and German as a pluricentric language (spoken in Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Austrian, Belgium, Italian and Switzerland) and a short bibliography at the beginning.

Frau Markhardt notes in the introduction that, for example, the word Abfertigung is a common Austrian term but is not found in bilingual legal dictionaries. I checked for myself: it is not in Dietl, Romain or von Beseler in this meaning. It is in Herbst, for once, but not very clearly explained: abfertigen can mean ‘to pay off an employee’ and Abfertigung can mean ‘(Abfindung), indemnity, compensation’. It is in Russwurm, explained in German, of course. It is in Doucet-Fleck, into French. It is on the EMIRE website, which has quite a lot on Austrian labour law, but only in English, with the German words in brackets (Google site search should help here). It may be in other dictionaries, but I haven’t looked.

I haven’t spent long looking at the dictionary, but one thing I would have liked to see in some cases is the naming of the legislation where a term originates. This is sometimes given. For example, for the term Abfertigung Neu, the Neuregelung is given a date (1.1.2003), but the statute is not named. When I translate a term like this, I always try to pin it down first (it was introduced by the Betriebliches Mitarbeitervorsorgegesetz (BMVG)).

However, this dictionary will be a first port of call in future for unfamiliar Austrian terms. It fills a big gap.


Is this German or English? To quote J. Melchior in Wismar:

Kollegen bieten das eBook „Outsourcen und Bodyleasing – Rechtssichere Verträge mit freien Mitarbeitern” zum kostenlosen Download an. So weit, so gut – aber geht es nicht auch auf Deutsch?

Ghits suggest Germany and Estonia as homes of this term. I don’t suppose many people outside Britain know that the Body Shop is a pun on a car body shop, either.

Mushroom collector vindicated/Deutsche Pilzsammlerin erfolgreich in England

Frau Brigitte Tee-Hillman (64) ist in Deutschland geboren und lernte dort Pilze sammeln. Sie arbeitete als Stewardess, und seit ihrer Heirat lebt sie in England, in der New Forest. Seit 1973 sammelt sie dort Pilze, die sie auch durch ihr Unternehmen “Mrs Tee’s Wild Mushrooms” verkaufte.

Seit 1998 hat sie juristische Probleme, weil sie mehr als 1,5 kg Pilze pro Tag sammelt und vor allem, weil sie diese verkauft. Sie wurde wegen Diebstahl angeklagt und verteidigte vor einem Zivilgericht ihr Recht, auf Gemeindeland /Allmende Pilze zu sammeln – beide Prozesse wurden eingestellt. Jetzt hat sie vom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs die Zulassung bekommen, wildwachsende Pilze ihr Leben lang im New Forest zu sammeln.

As she said when The Independent joined her on her daily foraging trip this week: “At least it means the Forestry Commission aren’t always watching me when I have a pee in the forest”.

Hier sieht man sie mit einem anderen rechtlichen Problem.

Here’s a BBC summary of the case.

Fungi (mushrooms and toadstools) in Latin, English and German here (originally Tom Feise’s list). They are too negative about the chicken of the woods (when young), and that is one of Mrs Tee-Hillman’s seminar species.