Webinar on legal translation/Webinar zu juristischer Übersetzung

eCPD is a company formed this year to provide webinars for translators.

That means an internet seminar for continuous professional development (which the ITI is propagating) that you can follow on your own computer. If you miss the date but have registered, you can hear it online later.

They have a webinar on specializing in legal translation on October 28. The ‘speaker’ (?) is Ricardo Martinez, of the City University of London, who will be giving examples on English and into French and Spanish.

Register here.

This webinar will provide the audience with an overview of the field of legal translation, focusing on the following aspects:
• Why legal translation as a specialisation?
• How to get into the legal translation field
• Disparity between Anglo-American Law / Continental Law
• Types of documents usually translated and some basic vocabulary (examples translated into French and Spanish)
• Main features of legal English
• Some practical problems in legal translation
Practical advice for the budding legal translator.

Speaker: Ricardo Martinez of City University, London
Ricardo has been translating, interpreting and lecturing since 1990, both in the UK and Spain. As an Intérprete Jurado he specialises in the legal and financial fields. He has expanded his areas of expertise throughout the years to other fields such as journalism, TV, tourism, engineering, software localisation and IT. As a lecturer he has taught at the Escuela de Traductores e Intérpretes in Madrid in the 1990s and is currently responsible for the English-Spanish language pair of the Legal Translation MA at City University.
Cost: £15

(This has long since been blogged by Philippa Hammond, but I missed it).

Jonathan Franzen and Germany/Jonathan Franzen und Deutschland

I have just finished reading Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen (which also came out in German, rushed onto the market in a version by two translators). It’s very good, but I’m not really interested in what is the Great American Novel.

Now I wonder where the promised German element is. Franzen is said to have told MayBritt Illner that some of the novel would be set in Germany, but it isn’t. Germerica:

The 49-year old author of The Corrections says what he loves most of Berlin are its parks where he intends to spend a lot of time. “The Federal Republic will play an important role in the novel,” he told TV moderator Maybrit Illner as reported in the Berlin daily Berliner Morgenpost.

The only reference I saw was to a German called Matthias Dröhner who leaves a voice message asking Richard Katz to give him an interview.

The first (message) was from a pesty German, Matthias Dröhner, whom Katz vaguely recalled having struggled to fend off during Walnut Surprise’s swing through the Fatherland.

There’s a lot of information on the Web about Franzen and Germany. Apparently he studied science and filled up with German credits, since German was regarded as the language of science (that certainly used to be the case forty or fifty years ago). He spent two years in Germany in the early 1980s, which cured him of his desire to live in Europe. He is working on translating Karl Kraus essays into English.

There’s a 2005 interview with Franzen on Perlentaucher/signandsight, in English and German. Here Franzen talks about the influence German literature had on him – something I haven’t really noticed, except, slightly, for Thomas Mann.

Meine literarischen Vorbilder sind deutsch: Kafka die Nummer eins, dann Karl Kraus, Goethe, Thomas Mann. Sie alle waren mir ungemein wichtig. Einiges in der 27sten Stadt, auch einiges in den satirischen Passagen von Schweres Beben ist von Karl Kraus gestohlen. Thomas Manns feine Ironie gefiel mir immer sehr gut. So habe ich mich lange als eine Art deutscher Schriftsteller betrachtet.

My literary models were mostly Germans. Kafka was the number one person, and then, two years later, Karl Kraus. Much of the tone of “The Twenty-Seventh City”, but also some of the satiric passages of “Strong Motion” are stolen from Karl Kraus. Thomas Mann had a very fine irony which I found very sympathetic. So, all along, I’ve considered myself a kind of a German writer.

In another interview in Der Tagesspiegel earlier this year (German, English), Franzen talks about the German language.

Das Bild, das mir für die deutsche Sprache in den Sinn kommt, gleicht einer jener riesigen chinesischen Fabriken, die dem Arbeiter alles bieten: ein Kino, einen Volleyballplatz, Schlafsäle – eine ganze Firmenstadt, in der alles vernünftig angeordnet ist. In den englischen Gebäuden, so kommt es mir vor, geht man viel seltener mit dem Staubsauger durch. Die Fenster werden nicht so oft geputzt, der Schmutz hängt in den Ecken. Vor allem das gegenwärtige Amerikanisch kommt mir vor wie ein großes unordentliches Studentenwohnheim.

The image of the German language that springs into my mind resembles one of those enormous Chinese factories that provide everything for their workers: a cinema, a volleyball court, dormitories – a complete corporate city in which everything is rationally laid out. The vacuum cleaner is used less frequently in English houses – at least, that’s how it seems to me. The windows are not cleaned as often and there’s dirt hanging in the corners. Contemporary American in particular seems to me very much like a large untidy student dorm.

Kriminalmuseum Fürth

On the way back from the sewage plant, I came past the new Kriminalmuseum, a sort of police museum under the Rathaus which opened this week but is only generally open at the weekend.

There are quite a number of rooms, on history, things confiscated by the customs, police organization and buildings, drugs, forgery, right-wing extremism (with various flags and emblems), DNA, fingerprints, forbidden weapons, the courts and so on.

The picture I took seems to be the most popular one, looking at the other images online.

Sewage plant open day/Tag der offenen Kläranlage

Having got my free poster (see recent entry), a brochure and some pens, I had to consider attending the event.

The weekend was supposed to be wet, but it wasn’t raining today and there was even some sun when I was on the viewing platform on top of the digestion tower (Faulturm).

It was supposed to be a great view. I have seen Fürth from several towers and the Klinikum and the Solarberg, but this was the view that showed to best effect the way the two multistorey blocks ruin the skyline (Sparkasse and Bahnhof).

There were too many trees, or they were too leafy, to see Nuremberg Castle.

Here are the digestion towers:

Legal English wiki

John Kuti (he is in St. Petersburg, so this must be his Linked In profile) has started a Legal English wiki. This will be mainly for teachers of legal English, although among the Wanted pages is one on translation. Obviously this depends on people contributing.

At lawtalk.org.uk, John has put up a short slide presentation of how the wiki works.

The wiki is called LawTalk. There isn’t much in it yet, obviously, but it sounds promising.

Conference/Konferenz: The Role of Legal Translation in Legal Harmonization

Conference in Amsterdam in January 2011:

ACLL-CSECL: The Role of Legal Translation in Legal Harmonization

On 21 January 2011 the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL) and the Amsterdam Circle for Law & Language (ACLL) organize an international conference on the Role of Legal Translation in Legal Harmonization.

The speakers of the conference examine from different perspectives to what extent and in which ways legal translation affects legal harmonization in the EU.

Date: 21 January 2011
Location: Amsterdam

I got the date from a post to the Forensic Linguistics mailing list, which added:

Perhaps interesting for the conference calendar of the FL homepage, I
would like to inform you that the Amsterdam Circle for Law & Language
(ACLL) and the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL) are
organizing a conference on 21 January 2010 on the role of legal
translation in legal harmonization. It will take place in Amsterdam, the
Netherlands. Seven prominent speakers will discuss this issue from the
perspective of the legislative procedure in the EU, legal translation
studies and comparative law.

Another newish translation blog/US-Übersetzerweblog

Translation Commentator is a weblog by Rosene Zaros that has been running for some time, mainly with comments on the translation industry in the USA.

A recurrent topic is the commodification of translation (it does appear that this term is more common than commoditization, both on UK and edu sites). To quote Bernie Bierman’s email given in her latest entry:

Translation (and) the translation process, is (are) not about words…big words, little words, short words, long words, whole words or particles of words. It is equally not about numbers or names or formulas or equations. Translation is about writing and communication. Indeed, before the so-called “wizards” of technology came long in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, translation was viewed by many as one branch of the communications arts. Indeed, from any clear point of view, whether objective or subjective, translation is about writing and communication. It is not about word-matching, as some if not many of today’s technologically-obsessed translators, CAT workers and CAT operators believe.

Two issues frequently discussed by translators:

1. How shall I charge?
by source text
by target text
by word
by line
by page
What is a word?
What is a page?
What is a line?

NB German words are on average longer than English words
German words in legal texts are on average longer than German words in general texts

I have an Excel file someone gave me to adjust between styles of charging. There’s also a website somewhere that helps. I’ll add it if I remember it.

I can’t get very excited about this, and I think whichever method you use, you have to fix a rate that gives you enough per hour at the end of the day.

2. The use of CAT tools
in particular translation memory
in particular the way translation agencies/companies use TM programs to reduce payment to translators
the idea that using TM saves time

Again, I find TM excellent for quality control, and it doesn’t save me time.

There was an exciting exchange on Jill Sommer’s blog, Musings from an overworked translator, on this topic last November, Trados ad = tempest in a teapot. (That’s US for storm in a teacup – I thought they had done away with the tea).
This in turn went back to a discussion on ProZ. A Trados ad quoted a translator who translated over 34,000 words in 10 hours rather than 17 days, with a fairly empty TM. It sounds to me like a repetitive text.