Dictionary plagiarism / Wörterbuchplagiat

Danilo Nogueira beschreibt ein enttäuschendes englisch-brasilianisches Rechtswörterbuch und einen erfolgreichen Plagiatsprozess gegen einen Nachfolger.

In Hey, counsel, you’ve plagiarized my book! in the latest Translation Journal, Danilo Nogueira summarizes a case of dictionary plagiarism and how it was proved. Surprise, surprise – people in Brazil too buy dictionaries by price rather than quality.

I have never put much stock in Noronha’s. I do not even think it deserves to be called a dictionary. It is just one of those rough-and-ready bilingual wordlists loosely put together by the staff in offices where they have to cope with a foreign language. People just go and throw in everything that comes to their minds on the quod abundat non nocet principle, so dear to Brazilian lawyers. Noronha’s book provides no usage notes, no examples, no collocations, no explanations. Nothing but a term, a hyphen and one or more translations. … It also tells you

* intoxication = intoxicação.

and fails to mention that intoxication translates both as intoxicação (what happens when you eat bad fish) and embriaguez (what happens when you have just had a couple beers with the guys) and nobody ever gets arrested for driving while intoxicado, but driving while embriagado may get you in trouble with the law. In other ways, it does not give you the translations most likely to appear in legal contexts.

There is to be an appeal, apparently. I was surprised the case even went to court, but it’s often claimed you can’t plagiarize the content of dictionaries.

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