Translation of instructions not a creative work/Übersetzung von Gebrauchsanweisungen kein kreatives Werk

This was reported last Friday: the German Federal Social Security Court (Bundessozialgericht) held that the translation of instructions for use is not creative. The context was a request by the Kunstlersozialkasse for contributions from a business. That pensions and health fund only admits members who do most of their translation for publication, so I would have thought there were other justifications for turning the Kasse down.

Kassel (dpa) – Übersetzungen von Gebrauchsanweisungen sind keine kreativen publizistischen Werke. Das hat das Bundessozialgericht in Kassel in einem am Freitag veröffentlichten Urteil zum Streit zwischen der Künstlersozialkasse und einem Elektrounternehmen aus Nordrhein-Westfalen entschieden. Nach Überzeugung des dritten Senats hat die Kasse zu Unrecht Sozialabgaben von rund 2700 Euro verlangt.

Die Firma hatte Bedienungsanleitungen und Werbebroschüren ins Englische und in andere Sprachen übersetzen lassen. Bei solchen Arbeiten fehle der Interpretationsspielraum, den es bei literarischen Übersetzungen gebe, urteilten die Sozialrichter. Er sei daher keine publizistische Leistung, sondern gewissermaßen nur eine Kopie des Originaltextes, wie sie auch ein Übersetzungscomputer liefern könne.

I think one would need to see the whole decision, because if the court said ‘not kreative publizistische works’, one doesn’t know which adjective the emphasis is on. I also have no idea if this has implications for the other courts in other aspects of translation and creativity.

The report was here but has scrolled.
(Reported by Marisa Manzin on the pt group at Yahoo)


The story of the brother and sister in east Germany who had four children was reported in the Guardian yesterday.

The couple, who live near Leipzig, grew up separately and only met many years later. Their supporters say they will fight until incest is no longer regarded as a criminal offence, arguing that the law is out of date. They say it harks back to the racial hygiene laws of the Third Reich and should be overturned in favour of freedom of choice and sexual determination. Detractors insist that incest should remain a social taboo, largely because of the risks linked to inbreeding and the imbalance in social relations it inevitably causes.

It does appear that incest is not a crime in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, and according to Wikipedia also not in Luxembourg, Portugal, Turkey, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and some other Latin American countries. And the German three-year prison sentence and removal of the children seem quite inappropriate.

In England and Wales, incest was not a crime till 1908, but was dealt with by the church courts. It’s now governed by the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which can be looked up here. Prison sentences seem reserved for men or boys who knowingly have sexual intercourse with a daughter, sister etc.

Here’s the Strafgesetzbuch:

§ 173 Beischlaf zwischen Verwandten
(1) Wer mit einem leiblichen Abkömmling den Beischlaf vollzieht, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft.
(2) 1Wer mit einem leiblichen Verwandten aufsteigender Linie den Beischlaf vollzieht, wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu zwei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bestraft; dies gilt auch dann, wenn das Verwandtschaftsverhältnis erloschen ist. 2Ebenso werden leibliche Geschwister bestraft, die miteinander den Beischlaf vollziehen.
(3) Abkömmlinge und Geschwister werden nicht nach dieser Vorschrift bestraft, wenn sie zur Zeit der Tat noch nicht achtzehn Jahre alt waren.

Does this mean you don’t need to be aware? The question first came up in connection with the Abstammungsurkunde, the full-form birth certificate, which may tell people they’re adopted but won’t necessarily give the name of the blood father.

RSS feed theft and email spam/ Wiedergabe ohne Namen und Hilfe per E-Mail

Es ist nicht schwer, mein Blog (ganze Einträge) auf einer anderen Site zu veröffentlichen. Aber ohne Link und ohne meinen Namen ist es mehr als irritierend.

Auf der Site von merlin translations, unter verschiedenen Städte- und Grafschaftsnamen, wird mein Blog sowie die Blogs von anderen auf dieser Weise wiederveröffentlicht. Die Site scheint nur dazu erstellt zu sein, über Google Ads Geld zu verdienen.

The merlin-translations site republishes several feeds without any acknowledgement (I wonder if anyone reads them…) The owner of the domain said this particular site is run by someone else, whom he would contact and request either to remove the link or to add my name and site. Nothing seems to be happening. (The purported email address at hotmail has expired).

Meanwhile I got some spammy stuff probably from Russia, telling me that my site has a serious defect (ein schwerwiegender Designfehler). Of course it has a lot of serious defects, but I didn’t realize that the omission of a favicon was such. I did try out some favicons once, but I didn’t like my results. I am told these people will do me one for 199 euros (I have to provide the logo myself). The serious problem of not having a favicon is that your site fills up with error messages from bots searching for the favicon. It’s all true, folks!

Fehlt die Datei favicon.ico, so kann das Fehlerlog eines Webservers bis zur
Unbrauchbarkeit mit Fehlermeldungen vollgeschrieben werden, da bei jedem Seitenaufruf versucht wird, sie zu laden.
Gut, dass wir den Fehler auf Ihrer Homepage entdeckt haben.

Good for who? A search for Frank Baader IT-Consulting reveals other recipients.

Hoax phone callers

Not all of us who did German at King’s College London are as cheeky as Rory Bremner.

Bremner: Hi Margaret? Hi, it’s Gordon.
Beckett: All right, Gordon, what can I do for you?
Beckett [actually Bremner]: Have you spoken to Tony about next week or not?
Beckett: No, I haven’t actually, no.
Bremner: Cos obviously he’s going to get Alan [Milburn] back in, and Stephen [Byers], and I don’t know how you feel about that. Cos obviously we’re going to have to talk about the reshuffle over the weekend.

The Independent collects some other hoaxes in the article, for instance to Jacques Chirac, Fidel Castro and the Queen.

British railway phrases

Here are some sentences for foreigners travelling on British railways – waiting for a translation into German – Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch and Polish have already been supplied.

Published by kapow

Trains are delayed because of the severe weather.
Trains are delayed because the hot weather has buckled the tracks.

Translations by Salford Translations Ltd.
Via Oversetter, who posted this before there had been another train accident on defective track.

Judge Larry Seidlin/Videos

Heutzutage kann man die neuesten Berühmtheiten auf der Richterbank in den USA auch gleich auf youtube schauen.
(Suche: Larry Seidlin)

From the Times Online: Tearful judge tipped for TV stardom after Anna Nicole show

Judge Seidlin, who paid his way through law school by driving a New York cab, is a native of the Bronx. He might have left that neighbourhood but it has certainly not left him.

Barking out pronouncements in his Florida courtroom in the thickest of New York accents, he nicknamed lawyers after their home states: “California, this doesn’t concern you!”; “Houston, I thought you were leaving!” “Texas” caused a stir on Thursday when he collapsed. The judge shouted: “He’s a diabetic. I can tell by his colour.” He offered to buy him some orange juice and fished out his credit card.

Youtube video of week
Tearful ruling

Kauderwelsch language guides / Sprachführer

I am busy at the moment, so here is a quick plug for and reminder of the Kauderwelsch books – choose one of 110 languages for 7.90 euros, and it will tell you how to behave in the country and give you phrases in such a way that you understand the grammatical constructions. So if you know German and want a quick glimpse of one of those languages, this is a good way to get it.

Here’s the publisher, Reise-Know-How-Verlag. And here are the Sprachführer – select a language and have a look.

Animal quiz

You’re a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
You can’t stop talking about the “good old days” of the past. While you remember everything being so much better and more glorious back then, you’ve got to realize that times have changed! It’s time to move on, time to bring in the new technology and advancements! Still, there is some charm to your olden out-dated ways. Children seem to love you, for example, as do some historians and scientists. And you should really eat something… your bones are starting to show.

Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I’m not so sure my bones are showing.

Overdue library books/Nach Mauerfall zurück

The Arcadi Espada blog reports that after the Wall fell, there were queues of East Germans at many West German libraries to return the books they’d borrowed before 1961:

Todo son historias. Berlín es las mil y una noches –noche y noche— de este lado del tiempo y del mundo. Una de alemanes, de muro y de libros que me cuenta Cristina en el camino de Treptow. El cierre total de la frontera pilló a muchos berlineses desprevenidos. Y entre los asuntos pendientes estaban los libros prestados por bibliotecas del Oeste que estaban en poder de ciudadanos del Este. Ya no podían devolverlos. Pero los guardaron con sus papelitos. Pocos días después de caído el Muro había colas en muchas bibliotecas, y las formaban alemanes pacientes y fieles a sí mismos.

This is reminiscent of what Lenin said about Germans, revolutions and train tickets.

(Via Trevor and the El Blog del Futuro del Libro)