German bread/Deutsches Brot

Toytown Germany have been discussing German food and whether it is anything to write home about.

I eat German food, sure, I live here, and I don’t not enjoy it, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever eaten much that I don’t like. My favourite dish is just simple old roast pork with beer sauce and whacking great potato dumplings, but quite honestly, apart from that and weisswurst, there is little that I’d “write home about”. Oh, and the bread? The bread can go fuck itself. Hamster food bound together with brown cement, with more hamster food tipped on top, then a shitload of caraway seeds. Gimme a fresh baguette instead.

As for the bread, the beauty of German bread is that if you don’t want to eat it, which I don’t, you can always use it as a beer mat!

There is some excellent bread around, in specialist bakers, if you can avoid (or if you like) the sometimes medicinal combinations of added seeds (caraway is referred to above). Within Germany there’s some criticism of standard bread mixes that many bakeries buy ready-made-up and sometimes rather old. I tend to eat the bread if it tastes good.

But nowadays I always ask if the multi-grain loaf contains sunflower seeds. One baker’s near here that used to be good has no heavier bread that isn’t full of them. If I have to have foreign bodies in my bread, I will go for the ciabatta with peperoni or olives.

British translators ‘offer discounts’/Satte Sommerrabatte

The following is a quote from the newsletter sent out recently by a translation company:

Satte Rabatte bei (name of company)

Den Lesern dieses Newsletters machen wir ein Sommergeschenk. Für Übersetzungen ins britische Englisch, die in der Zeit vom 20. Juli bis 20. August 2009 in Auftrag gegeben werden, gewähren wir 10 % Lese Leser-Rabatt auf unseren Stundensatz! Wie’s kommt? Unsere Briten räumen uns sommerlich günstige Konditionen ein, die wir gern an unsere Leser weitergeben. Wie immer sind nur bestens qualifizierte Native Speaker am Werk!”

(A summer present for the readers of this newsletter. Translations into British English ordered between 20 July and 20 August 2009 will be reduced by 10%. How can we do this? Our British translators are giving us special summer prices, and we are happy to pass these on to our readers. As ever, only native speakers with the highest qualifications will be doing the translations!)

There aren’t any British translators named on the website. I suppose some will be sought.

I suppose the company is in trouble and wants to lure more customers in this way. It’s not clear why translators would offer price cuts, and if anything, summer is a time when it’s harder to find a translator.

(Received from a British colleague)

Train drivers/Lokführer

Bundesrat corrects EU translation error
In Bundesrat korrigiert Fehler des EU-Übersetzungsdienstes (original German text here) on Richard Schneider’s site, it is reported that the Bundesrat, in its last session before the summer break, corrected a translation error made by the EU translation service.

They were implementing Council Directive 2005/47/EC on the Agreement between the Community of European Railways (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on certain aspects of the working conditions of mobile workers engaged in interoperable cross-border services in the railway sector in German law.

Mit der Eisenbahn-Fahrpersonalverordnung wird die EU-Richtlinie 2005/47/EG in deutsches Recht umgesetzt. Diese Richtlinie regelt insbesondere Dienstzeiten, Ruhepausen und Ruhezeiten der Lokführer im internationalen Verkehr. Sie sieht in ihrem französischen Urtext vor, dass Eisenbahnverkehrsunternehmer dafür Sorge tragen müssen, dass Lokführer nach einer auswärtigen Ruhezeit eine Ruhezeit an ihrem „Dienstort“ verbringen. Durch einen Übersetzungsfehler ist in der deutschen Fassung der EU-Richtlinie nicht von einer Ruhezeit am „Dienstort“, sondern am „Wohnort“ die Rede. Das Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung hatte in seinem Verordnungsentwurf den Übersetzungsfehler in das deutsche Recht übernehmen wollen. Der Bundesrat hat nun diesen Fehler behoben, indem er den Verordnungsentwurf des Bundesministeriums für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung entsprechend korrigiert und eine Rückkehr an den Dienstort vorgesehen hat.

It says here that the ‘original French version’ requires arrangements to be made for train drivers, after a rest period away, to have a daily rest period at their ‘place of work’ (DE Dienstort). This was translated into German as ‘place of residence’ (Wohnort).

Of course these versions are supposed to be parallel and equally valid, without any reference to a ‘French original’.

But the reference to place of residence would have meant train drivers who worked hundreds of miles away from home having to return there regularly.

I haven’t been able to trace the relevant passage. The English directive is on EUR-Lex, and so is the German, but the bilingual display isn’t working at the moment.

Plans for Neue Mitte/Architektenwettbewerb-Bilder

Plans for a big shopping centre (Neue Mitte) in Fürth by Sonae Sierra have been dropped. This week the entries of five specially selected architect firms have been on display. All the firms had to incorporate Rudolf-Breitscheid-Straße in their designs. As a result, the plans were outdated before they appeared.

The firms were Blocher Blocher, Stuttgart; Dürschinger, Fürth; HPP, Düsseldorf; Ortner & Ortner, Berlin; and RKW, Düsseldorf.

I find it all the more enjoyable to look at visions of a New Fürth in the knowledge that they aren’t going to be built.

I rather liked Dürschinger’s Venetian plaza in the middle of Rudolf-Breitscheid-Straße (RBS), although the colonnades look a bit out of place:

Here is some of their inspiration:

This is HPP’s view of RBS – all we feared:

The building to replace the Park Hotel or its shell is seized on by some (see Dürschinger above). For Ortner & Ortner it becomes a Palais – the entries were in German and English (or sometimes ‘English’):

Das große Gebäude an der Fürther Freiheit ist – wie sein Vorgänger – selbst-bewusst und hoch aufragend: Zeichenhafter Auftakt des Shoppingcenters und städtebaulich wichtige Landmark auf dem großen Feld der Fürther Freiheit. Das oberste, hohe Geschlß beherbersgt Veranstaltungsbereiche, einen Club oder Ähnliches. So wird das Palais nachts mit leuchtender Laterne zum pulsierenden Fixpunkt in der “Alten Mitte”.

Like its predecessor, the large towering building in Fürther Freiheit evinces confidence. It forms a symbolic prelude to the shopping centre and is an important urban landmark in the large space that makes up Fürther Freiheit. The high top floor contains rooms for events, a club and similar functions. Consequently, at night, the Palais, with its glowing lamp becomes the pulsating fixed point of the Alte Mitte (old centre).

Here’s HPP’s equivalent:

RKW had a glass ceiling:

described as follows:

Eine Schwebende Wolke über der Stadt
Die Durchlässigkeit der leichten Dachkontruktion vermitteln den Eindruck des Flanierens auf offener Straße.

A cloud hovering above the city
The permeability of the light roof construction gives the impression of strolling along in broad daylight.

Permeability sounds to me as if the rain was going to come through.

Blocher Blocher had a not dissimilar glass roof:

Blocher Blocher wins the prize for using machine translation.

Pork pies

Must get back to writing about legal translation

I don’t think Michel Roux has anything to fear from me – yet. (Btw I did not enclose a hardboiled egg, in case anyone’s wondering where it went to)

It tasted OK.



McDonalds places Austrian cow in Switzerland/McDonald’s wirbt mit österreichischer Kuh für Schweizer Fleisch

McDonalds has apparently taken a clearly Austrian cow (despite its map-of-Switzerland markings) for its ‘pure Swiss beef’ ads. The giveaway is the ear tag.

Auch beim zweiten von drei Sujets hat McDonald’s den Mund etwas voll genommen. Ein Hamburger-Bun mit einer Schweiz aus Sesamsamen suggeriert dort, dass der Konzern hierzulande nur einheimisches Getreide verwendet. Ein Sesamfeld wurde in der Schweiz aber bisher noch nicht gesichtet.

NZZ (German)

Class 46 blog (English)

(Tweeted by Jeremy of IPKAT)

Funny Face/Ein süßer Fratz

Nearly all foreign films on German TV are dubbed, alas – but not the songs. While zapping around at the weekend I caught Audrey Hepburn singing

Can I trust how I feel?
Is this my Achilles heel?

German subtitles: Ist das meine Achillessehne? (Achilles tendon)

This recalls one of my students (main subject area Geisteswissenschaften/humanities) translating Pandoras Büchse as Pandora’s gun.

Pupils and chambers/Kritik an Bewerbung für Referendariat als Barrister

I read this post on Simon Myerson’s blog when it first appeared on July 13.

Pupil barristers need to spend some time at a set of chambers. Under the heading Here Are the Results of the BVC Jury, Myerson collects comments of prospective pupils who were treated rudely at interview, and he has a Wall of Shame of particularly criticized chambers, and a Buttress of Acclaim for the ones that got positive comments (some chambers appear on both lists!).

Charon QC points out that there’s been a bit of a flamer in the comments (‘Troubled Barrister’). Fun.

Translating private parts/Geschlechtsteile übersetzen

No, not ruminations on this interesting topic, but a Translators Association workshop on the topic, on 29th July, in London I presume.

In many languages, our private parts can be described in neutral language, for example the French ‘le sexe’, which is applicable to either gender. In English however we often find ourselves vacillating between medical, pornographic and downright crude vocabulary.

Translators from any language are invited to join Polly McLean in a facilitated discussion of the impact on register and tone of these less than perfect choices. If you would like to contribute some problems or examples in advance, please email her on

Via Love German Books