Turkey kebab/Putendöner

I miss lamb döner. Does it still exist anywhere in Germany? At least I can get beef at some places and don’t have to have turkey.

Here is a spoof video of Delia Smith making doner (followed by deep-fried Mars Bars and a spam casserole).

Nothing for Ungood/Ein Amerikaner in Deutschland

John, who wisely remains anonymous apart from his first name, has a weblog I will be visiting again.

The subheading, and usual topic, is ‘German quirks from an American perspective’.

In theory there is nothing wrong with learning England’s version of English, just like there is nothing wrong with learning that Swiss language Rhaeto-Romanic . It can be done, but it is just not a worthwhile pursuit. English is the world language because of America, not because of England, so it only makes sense to learn America’s version.

In German schools you will receive bad marks for speaking with an American accent or using American spelling if you picked it up during your high school year in the States. Instead you should be receiving bonus points for learning the standards of a world economic and cultural super power. Mickey Mouse doesn’t speak with a British accent.

(I’m not sure what he means by an American dialect, though – I think he made that up)

(Via Heidelbergerin)


There are a number of defences in English criminal law (the US ones are not all the same), a bit like German Rechtfertigungsgründe and Schuldausschließungsgründe.

Some of them can be pleaded as defences to all offences (general defences). For instance, self-defence (Notwehr) is a general defence that applies to several offences against the person or against property – but actually not against all offences. Insanity is a general defence, but the consequences of being found insane are not much fun, so it’s only ever pleaded against murder.

Then there are special defences: diminished responsibility and provocation can only be pleaded if murder is charged. Those are also called partial defences, because if the defendant is successful in pleading them, the consequence will be a conviction for manslaughter, not an acquittal.

Some defences in the news recently: The ‘canoeist’s wife’ Anne Darwin pleaded that her husband forced her to lie about his death, relying on the defence of marital coercion. See Times Online article. Whether or not Anne Darwin would have had to be in her husband’s presence for the defence to apply, it was widely reported that she was ‘no shrinking violet’ and possibly ‘wore the trousers’ herself.

Today, the UK Ministry of Justice has published Murder, manslaughter and infanticide: proposals for reform of the law – the proposals include:

To abolish the existing partial defence of provocation and replace it with
new partial defences of:
o killing in response to a fear of serious violence; and
o (to apply only in exceptional circumstances) killing in response to words and
conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being
seriously wronged.
• To make clear that sexual infidelity on the part of the victim does not
constitute grounds for reducing murder to manslaughter.
• To remove the existing common law requirement for loss of self-control in
these circumstances to be “sudden”.

As the law stands, it has often been criticized that a man who lost his temper and killed his (stereotypically) smaller and weaker wife could plead provocation for this sudden loss of control, whereas a woman who was terrorized by her husband and gradually became depressed would be taken to have full malice aforethought. In fact, the courts are aware of the problem and do not now tend to convict wives of murder in this situation. See Guardian article. There is also a proposal to change the defence of diminished responsibility.


The BDÜ, the German translators’ and interpreters’ association (there are others) wants its members to answer a questionnaire from the German Ministry of Justice about their prices. This is in connection with an amendment of the JVEG, the Gesetz über die Vergütung von Sachverständigenn, Dolmetscherinnen, Dolmetschern, Übersetzerinnen und Übersetzern sowie die Entschädigung von ehrenamtlichen Richterinnen, ehrenamtlichen Richtern, Zeuginnen, Zeugen und Dritten (I think that’s what they call the long name). The laudable idea is that the Ministry should not believe we all work for peanuts, or get its information from big agencies and the Yellow Pages.

The BDÜ certainly keeps tags on its members who have not yet got round to consenting to this. Not much privacy there.

After I agreed for my name and details to be passed on:

Ihre Entscheidung wurde registriert und wird bei der Weitergabe der Daten an das Bundesjustizministerium berücksichtigt.
Sie haben bis zur Ende der Abstimmungszeit jederzeit die Möglichkeit, Ihre Entscheidung zu korrigieren.

Klicken Sie hier, um zur Startseite von MeinBDÜ zu wechseln

Wir haben Ihnen eine Bestätigungsmail an Ihre E-Mail-Adresse geschickt.

Übrigens: Sie haben MeinBDÜ zuletzt am 18.07.2008, 13:57, besucht. Seit dieser Zeit sind dort zahlreiche interessante und nutzbringende Beiträge verfasst worden.

Bitte schauen Sie doch am besten gleich jetzt vorbei. Klicken Sie auf Login im Menü auf der linken Seite.

This is ridiculous! Why do they allow me to follow their RSS feed? I only went online on July 28 in order to answer a message.

I suppose most professional associations are a bit backward when it comes to the Internet, but I could do without this irritation.

Law Dictionary, von Beseler and Jacobs-Wüstefeld

The von Beseler – Jacobs-Wüstefeld law dictionary can still be bought, at a price.
EN>DE 1986, DE>EN 1991

I have the latter and find it useful, although most of the time I leave it aside and turn to Dietl and Romain. Not that von Beseler is not as good, but one or two dictionaries are enough in number/desk space. However, von Beseler gives a very large selection of terms to consider. Its layout has always been superb (I have the previous edition too).

Amazon offers ‘Search inside’, but none of the alphabetical pages are there!

However, the dictionary can be found in Google Books, and although not every page is open to consult, you might certainly have some luck with terms. (Mind you, it would be quicker to find terminology elsewhere).

You darn fool/Sie zusammengeflickter Narr

Rudolf Hermstein: Chandler verschandelt, oder
Das luftgetriebene Riesenhorn

In 1976, when Hellmuth Karasek’s translation of Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake appeared, I wasn’t living in Germany.

That may explain why I am so late to hear about other translators’ reactions to it, albeit not too late to hear Karasek holding forth about literature – and translation – on the box.

At least at that time, Karasek not only had a slim grasp of the English language, but he didn’t take much trouble to find out what the unfamiliar terms meant, even where his interpretation did not make much sense to him. His German style was a little rocky too.

The article linked above gives a full account in German. Some gems: interpreting you darn fool as if it had to do with darning; in ‘You can’t tell anything about an outfit like that’, with reference to a company, taking outfit to mean the furnishing of the room; an air-raid horn on a police car (the USA had just entered WWII when the novel appeared) is taken to be a large air-powered siren; ‘(the secretary) looked a little warmer, but no prairie fire’ comes across in German as ‘not like a prairie on fire’, which doesn’t work.

Thanks to Christiane

Max Mosley wins privacy case against NoW/Mosley bekommt Recht

The Guardian reports that Max Mosley has won his case against the News of the World.

It also links to the full judgment as a PDF file. In particular, the judge found that there was no element of Nazism in the S & M role play. No. 51:

The facts that the jacket corresponded to the modern Luftwaffe uniform and that
German was spoken in the second of the two scenarios acted out on 28 March cannot
be identified with Nazism. As Woman B observed, and most Germans would agree,
it is inappropriate and offensive to equate everything German with the Nazi era. Mr
Thurlbeck’s answer, on more than one occasion, was that everything has to be seen
“in the round”. I take that to mean that notwithstanding the absence of specifically
Nazi or concentration camp indicia a reasonable person would still view the overall
exercise as Nazi role-play. He said that this was to be regarded merely as “am drams”
and the Claimant had been let down by his wardrobe department, with the result that
the clothes (whatever they actually were) should be regarded as “pretend” Nazi
uniforms. This is an approach that is not uncommon when witnesses in court are
trying to defend a certain position under cross-examination. If it is believed that a
particular state of affairs came about, it becomes necessary to explain away any
indicators to the contrary. Here, simply because it is assumed that there was Nazi
role-play, non-Nazi clothes have to be explained as “pretend” Nazi clothes.

and no. 53:

Mr Thurlbeck also relied upon the fact that the Claimant was “shaved”.
Concentration camp inmates were also shaved. Yet, as Mr Price pointed out, they had
their heads shaved. The Claimant, for reasons best known to himself, enjoyed having
his bottom shaved – apparently for its own sake rather than because of any supposed
Nazi connotation. He explained to me that while this service was being performed he
was (no doubt unwisely) “shaking with laughter”. I naturally could not check from
the DVD, as it was not his face that was on display.

On the German language (no. 59):

As to the use of the German language, Woman D gave evidence that she was turned
on by the thought of being interrogated, while she was in a submissive role, by people
using a foreign language which she did not understand. It added to the sense of
helplessness and having no control. She had originally heard the Claimant and
Woman B speaking German at a gathering towards the end of January or beginning of
February (simply because they had the language in common) and suggested to
Woman A that it would be a good idea to incorporate the further use of German in a
scenario later on.