Holiday with language difficulties/Sprachprobleme im Urlaub

David Barnish represented himself in the county court and won damages from the travel company Thomson, but his case was snapped up by the newspapers and ridiculed nonetheless.

He booked a holiday in a hotel where so many of the services were in German and for Germans that he couldn’t use them. There was only one non-German TV channel, and there was a children’s club his daughter couldn’t use because it was German.

The Telegraph report is fairly subdued. But then there’s the second Telegraph report, with obligatory photograph of a lounger with a towel on it.

There are plenty of British holidaymaker who can’t bear the thought of a certain nationality always being first to the sun loungers – but one got so angry about being surrounded by Germans on holiday he sued his tour company, and won.

The Sun goes to town, of course (Brit’s holiday from Helmut). Even the Frankfurter Allgemeine is silly – an unrelated photo captioned:

Urlauber lieben die griechische Ferieninsel Kos – wenn dort bloß nicht soviel Deutsch gesprochen würde.

(Via Handakte WebLAWg)

End of the road for Windows Vista/Windows Vista geht vom Markt

Aus für Windows Vista. Zumindest auf dem Papier. Das in Fürth ansässige Medienunternehmen Computec Media AG nimmt die Computerzeitschrift nach der Juli-Ausgabe, die am 18. Juni erscheint, vom Markt. Objektleiter Thilo Bayer begründet den Schritt auch damit, “dass Windows Vista als Betriebssystem die hohen Erwartungen bis heute nicht erfüllt hat.”

Fürth leading the way.

From textintern, via Volker Weber.

Bachmannpreis goes Europe

Recently, in the FAZ, Oliver Jungen opined that Germany has more prizes than authors. Let’s expand that to include the rest of the German-speaking world and in particular the bizarre Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis that is held in Klagenfurt every June (of course, several other prizes are presented at the same time). Andrew Hammel picked up on this in German Joys.

Let Wikipedia speak:

The prize winner is determined during a three-day reading marathon in which 18 previously-selected candidates vie to impress both the audience and the nine member professional jury. An award of €22,500 accompanies the prize.

It’s an amazing TV marathon. Slaughter by jury is more civilized than it was a few years ago. For some years now it’s also been possible to read the texts online and watch the entries later. There are pompous little films showing the writers in their supposed home environment, beautifully parodied by the video clip for the 2006 winner Kathrin Passig.

But now the Bachmann Prize is going to present several language versions of the texts online. For details, in German, see here.

Official Bachmannpreis page. There’s also a literature translation prize called Translatio. Some bits are in English, but we must keep an eye out for the translations of the texts themselves.

(Via Markus at – who was greatly impressed by the Portuguese entry to the Eurovision Song Contest (I only liked the Croatians))

Nick Hornby translated/Der fehlende Übersetzer

In November each year, since 2002, 100,000 free copies of a book have been distributed in Vienna. Eine STADT ein BUCH. (English)

In 2007, looking forward to 2008, Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch was chosen, which fits in with the Euro 2008 Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland.

3SAT had a half-hour program on the book. We saw Nick Hornby reading in English.

But who did the German translation?

None of those people would have read the book if it hadn’t been translated into German. So I thought I would do a search and name the translator. But I can’t find the name anywhere.

Books to date (Wikipedia):

2002 – Frederic Morton: Ewigkeitsgasse
Frederic Morton ist ein im Jahre 1924 in Wien geborener Schriftsteller. Er beschrieb in seinem Roman „Ewigkeitsgasse“ das Leben einer jüdischen Familie in einer fiktiven Gegend in Wien

2003 – Imre Kertész: Schritt für Schritt.
Dieses Buch ist eigentlich ein Drehbuch zum Roman eines Schicksallosen, für den Kertész den Nobelpreis für Literatur erhielt

2004 – Johannes Mario Simmel: Das geheime Brot
Johannes Mario Simmel wurde 1924 in Wien geboren. Schauplatz seines 1950 erschienenen Romans „Das geheime Brot“ ist das Wien der Nachkriegszeit, wo Simmel damals als Kulturredakteur tätig war.

2005 – John Irving: Laßt die Bären los!
John Irving studierte in den Jahren 1962 bis 1963 in Wien und begann hier seinen ersten Roman „Laßt die Bären los!“ (Originaltitel: Setting Free the Bears).

2006 – Toni Morrison: Sehr blaue Augen
Die afroamerikanische Literaturnobelpreisträgerin Toni Morrison schrieb 1970 ihren ersten Roman: „Sehr blaue Augen“ (Originaltitel: The Bluest Eye). Er handelt vom Schicksal eines schwarzen Mädchens in den USA der 1940er Jahre.

2007 – Nick Hornby: Fever Pitch
Nick Hornbys Debütroman über einen Fußballfan wurde als Vorbote der in Österreich und der Schweiz stattfindenden Fußball-Europameisterschaft 2008 ausgewählt.

LATER NOTE: The translators of Fever Pitch are Marcus Geiss and Henning Stegelmann – thanks to hp lehofer in the comments.

Avocado pit/Avocadokern

The Guardian considers the hype of Charlotte Roche’s Feuchtgebiete.

For whether it is the fantasies about sex, the polemics against the use of deodorants, the avocado cores grown specially for use in masturbation, or the detailed and inventive passages of scatological or genital description, Wetlands has left few indifferent.

This seems to be the only hit for the curious term avocado core on a UK site. It sounds a bit like an apple core. It seems to mean Avocadokern/avocado pit or avocado stone.

On the trail of Hawaii Toast/Clemens Wilmenrod

I read once that German dishes like Sauerbraten could be traced back to Roman tastes in food. That would explain Chinese sweet and sour dishes, Currywurst, and also Toast Hawaii, which was something curiously popular in Germany (and known as Karlsbader Schnitte in the GDR).

The Independent reports that Hawaii Toast was actually the creation of a TV cook called Clemens Wilmenrod in the 50s. He was also responsible for popularizing Rumtopf.

Now a TV film is being made about him.

More in Spiegel Online English German