Still braining up / Es ist nicht immer Denglisch

Some time ago I was irritated, like many people, by the then minister of cultural affairs’ use of the word brain up. Scarcely twenty-four hours after I had posted about this, I had to eat my words (in German, one eats Hirn rather than Gehirn): sure enough, the term could be justified – although I still don’t like it.

Now Bremer Sprachblog reports that German papers are still complaining about it. My past record means I can’t be very smug about this.

Mir ist schon klar, dass die Fähigkeit zur eigenständigen Recherche auch in den Printmedien nicht mehr so ernst genommen wird wie früher. Vielleicht steht in den Redaktionsräumen der ZEIT auch kein aktuelles englisches Wörterbuch. Aber ich bin mir ziemlich sicher, dass man dort Internetzugang hat und dass man weiß, wie Google zu bedienen ist. Also hätte man doch einfach einmal die Wörter to brain up eingeben können. Die Suche hätte man auf Webseiten aus Großbritannien, dem Mutterland der englischen Sprache, einschränken können, um wirklich nur englischstes Englisch zu erhalten. Und dann hätte man unter den ersten Treffern gleich mehrere Seiten bedeutender britischer Presseorgane gefunden, die zweifelsfrei belegen, dass das phrasale Verb to brain up sehr wohl existiert.

Of course, these are the people who think we stole wishy-washy from them.

Register office / Standesamt

Register office is the official term, as I opined in a comment in an earlier entry. I don’t really have a problem with registry office, but some people clearly do – so watch out, translators into English!

John Bolch’s rant in Family Lore.
His smug post today on a petition that was rejected by the court, in part because it contained the term registry office.

Surely something like this must have happened in Germany too?

LATER NOTE: comments closed for the second time on August 3, after I deleted ten spam comments, each containing a different set of a few dozen URLs in China.

Comments can always be sent by email, or put on a newer entry with a request to me to move them.

Journal of Specialised Translation

The online Journal of Specialised Translation has appeared again, this time with an issue on revising.

Brian Mossop wrote a wonderful book on revising, which has just come out in its second edition. His article describes a number of empirical studies of revising techniques. Questions arise, such as how often revision simply makes a translation worse.

The introduction is in French and so are some of the articles, but they do have English abstracts. I’m looking forward to reading more.

The liquorice fields of Pontefract / Lakritz


They look like Pontefract cakes … but what’s this I read:


Haribo! Someone tell me it’s a nightmare and I’m going to wake up. It’s not that I have anything against Haribo, if they stick to their Goldbären and Weingummi and Colorado and even liquorice snails. But these ‘Pontefract cakes’ (from the UK) have an inauthentic uniform gelatinous quality and don’t hit quite the right flavour. True, the real thing can easily get too hard, but can they deprive us of the pleasure of hitting upon a fresh box, with that quality of being almost leathery and yet friable at the same time.

Haribo says on its website that it acquired a majority share in Dunhills in 1972 and the rest in 1994 and then:

New recipes and manufacturing methods helped to improve product quality. HARIBO brought new recipes, as well as gelatine manufacturing technology from Germany, which greatly improved the product quality.

Well, let’s just say it made it more gelatinous. Improved, indeed!

Note the rather poor stamp on the sweets: ‘Haribo original’, and a picture of Pontefract Castle. ‘Original’, my foot!

But thank heavens, Wilkinson’s are still around. See The Sugar Boy:

These are made by Wilkinsons who along with Dunhill (now owned by Haribo) are the only remaining manufacturers from the many there used to be in Pontefract. This is a drier, thicker cake than the Dunhill version, each has its loyal fans so try both varieties and decide for yourself.

Here’s more information from Wakefield Council. I read that John Betjeman wrote a poem called ‘The liquorice fields of Pontefract’, and Harold Shipman started his career there. I actually learned it was pronounced Pumfret, but I now gather that is the way it is pronounced if it is spelt differently.

She cast her blazing eyes on me
And plucked a licorice leaf;
I was her captive slave and she
My red-haired robber chief.

But I don’t want to be too narrow-minded, so I may take up Andrew’s suggestion in German Joys of buying a mixed packet of Dutch liquorice (or licorice, as he spells it). Here’s the online shop he recommends.

Satanic monsters / Satanische Monster

The Scotsman reports:

A WEALTHY businessman was “deluded and insane” when he turned his back on his family and left his £8 million fortune to the Conservative Party, a court heard yesterday.
Branislav Kostic removed his only son from his will after stating that Margaret Thatcher was “the greatest leader of the free world in history” and that she would save the world from the “satanic monsters and freaks” conspiring against him.

N24 has it too:

Aus Bewunderung für die ehemalige britische Premierministerin Margaret Thatcher hat ein Geschäftsmann sein gesamtes Vermögen von acht Millionen Pfund (zwölf Millionen Euro) der Konservativen Partei vermacht. Das passte allerdings seiner Familie gar nicht, die am Mittwoch vor einem Gericht in London gegen das Testament klagte. Sie führt an, Branislav Kostic sei geistig verwirrt gewesen, als er die Torys zu seinen Erben gemacht habe.

I don’t believe that Margaret Thatcher reduced the number of Satanic monsters in Britain. Still, at least the testator knew the Prime Minister’s name. One test of mental stability included a question as to the name of the current PM, and apparently in Thatcher’s day more people answered the question correctly than under anyone else.

(Via Boing Boing)

Interpreter weblog/Dolmetscherblog

From Our Lips to Your Ears is a weblog about interpreting by Nataly Kelly in New Hampshire. She is collecting interpreters’ stories for a book project, whose site is here (‘Contact Us’ must be the royal we) and the main purpose of the blog is presumably to support the book, but she has other topics too.

Interpreters’ stories are often interesting, so let’s hope she gets some good ones. Others can be read online from the unfortunately infrequent blog the court interpreter.

(Via Céline)

Supernatural Law / Comic

Supernatural Law – among other things, a web comic.

The decomposing corpse of Mary Lou Henderson has returned from the dead to seek revenge on her husband, who was just acquitted of her murder. Talk about no justice! … Mary Lou has retained legal counsel to take revenge in court.

Via Wikipedia:

In May 1994 an ongoing comic book series was launched “Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre”, under the imprint Exhibit A Press. The title was changed to Supernatural Law with issue #24, in part to avoid readers’ confusion over how to pronounce “macabre,” and to bring it in line with the planned title of a motion picture adaptation.