Daily Star mistakes Google Translate for BILD’s English site/BILD von englischer Zeitung missverstanden

A lead story on the Sunday edition of the Daily Star is headed PIPPA PERVS: Sick Germans target royal sister.

It takes one to spot one, of course.

Here is the BILD story in German.

Unfortunately, the Star mistook a Google Translate version of the story for BILD’s English website:

The briefs encounter – proudly dubbed the “Panties Blitzer” by the newspaper – shows Pippa revealing all as she gets into a car in London last week.
“When the 27-year-old beauty on Wednesday in London rose in her car, she accidentally granted a glimpse of her panties,” leers the paper in its English language version.
And the mangled caption continues: “With their unwanted Panties Blitzer, Pippa to its reputation as ‘Her Royal Hotness’ fair – not only the British are very excited about her sexy appearance.”

(Via Tabloid Watch – the UK equivalent of BILDblog – the latter is more concerned about allegedly killer cucumbers at present)

Legal translator on the tarmac/Juristische Übersetzerin in Heathrow

Under the heading Air passengers in ‘Lord of the Flies’ mutiny after seven-hour delay, the Evening Standard reported on 27 May:

One witness likened the scene on the Middle East Airlines service to “something from Lord Of The Flies” as passengers raided the galley for meal trays and a Lebanese woman suffered heart palpitations. The flight to Beirut was one of 80 delayed for an average of two hours or cancelled as thunderstorms and winds of up to 40mph battered the country. City worker Jordan Lancaster was among the 250 people who boarded the flight at 1pm. It then missed its departure slot.

Ms Lancaster, a 45-year-old legal translator travelling to an archaological dig, called the Evening Standard at 7pm and said: “It is like something from Lord Of The Flies, people are hysterical. There are at least four babies and lots of elderly people on board.

“The crew have given up trying to explain the situation to people, and it has ended up in fisticuffs. Several men are also arguing with the captain. This guy in his fifties is so worked up he is being given oxygen.”

As Ms Lancaster was talking, a male cabin crew member could be heard over the intercom saying: “If any of our crew have been rude to you, we apologise for that.

Jordan Lancaster runs squaremilelanguages in London. In an interview (interview) she quotes ‘per ardua ad astra’ as her motto, but it took a long time to work on this occasion.

Next time I’m stuck on a plane on the tarmac – it happened at Christmas in Nuremberg, with a pilot from Augsburg Airways who wanted us to be towed into the air – must remember my mobile phone and a journalistic hook like ‘Lord of the Flies’.

(Thanks to Andrew of ITI for the tip-off)

Legal drafting in English brochure/Tipps zu Rechtsenglisch von Eversheds

Eversheds have a number of interesting-looking publications on their website. I was drawn there by a tweet by David Turnbullrecommending A European Dictionary of Selected Legal Terms (PDF).

The Dictionary looks like this:

life insurance • assurance-vie • Lebensversicherung • assicurazione sulla vita • seguro de vida

limitation of actions • prescription • gesetzliche Verjährungsfristen • prescrizione • prescripción

liquidated claim (sum) • dette (créance) certaine • ziffernmässig bestimmte Forderung • credito liquido ed esigibile • reclamación de una cantidad precisa

loophole (in the law) • lacune (juridique) • Gesetzeslücke, Hintertürchen • scappatoia, via d’uscita (per eludere la legge) • laguna legal

But much more interesting is the PDF on Legal drafting in English. This is actually, unlike what it sounds like, a ragbag of useful observations on legal English.

For instance, there’s a list of legal English terms that have entered other languages, notes on Scottish, Australian, Canadian, Indian and Irish legal English, and criminal law terms with their approximate equivalents in UK, US, Canada and Australia (I missed the term perp walk – but I suppose it’s uniquely US). Particularly useful are hints on what British English won’t work in the USA (I do dislike whilst):

A word about “whilst” and “as”. In standard British English, “whilst” is often used to mean “during the time that”. This usage is very rare in the USA (Americans would use “while”). “Whilst” and “while” can also mean “although”, “despite the fact that”. When you have those meanings in mind, use “although” or “despite the fact that”. The conjunction “as” is often used in British English to mean “because”: Example: “As no other student seemed to know the answer, Mary spoke up and had the correct information.” The meaning will be clearer to more people if you use “because”, or “since”, rather than “as”.

And there are some references to other language too. There is a glossary of false friends and a bibliography. Well worth a look.

(In drafting advice from past masters, I wonder why they give Confucius in Chinese as K’ung Ch’iu – OK, that was his name, but it’s not that usual and not very pinyin either).


I had heard some positive opinions on LinkedIn, but I don’t want to join yet. It seems, however, that unless you’re a member you can’t ask them to stop contacting you, or if you do send them a request, they assume you are a member. Here is the sorry tale:

May 7
From: Mr Linkee (I ‘know’ him)

> To: [mail@mmarks.eu]
From: linkee@aol.com]
Subject: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
– L

May 7
From MM to Linkee

No thank you – I don’t use LinkedIn.
Margaret Marks

May 10
From: Mr Linkee

Reminder about your invitation from Mr Linkee

This is a reminder that on May 7, Mr Linkee sent you an invitation to become part of his or her professional network at LinkedIn.
Follow this link to accept Mr Linkee’s invitation.
Signing up is free and takes less than a minute.

The only way to get access to Mr Linkee’s professional network on LinkedIn is through the following link:
You can remove yourself from Mr Linkee’s network at any time.
LinkedIn Survey Invitation

One more reminder came.

May 16
From MM

Hi L
… Would you please please arrange to stop sending me invitations to LinkedIn? Thanks!

May 16
From: Mr Linkee

Hi Margaret,
How many invites have you had from Linkedin? I only joined them nine days ago.

May 18
From helpful LinkedIn member on mailing list:


Based on your question, I sent a support request to LinkedIn. They have responded, and you might be interested (see below).
The problem is, they don’t say how a non-member should contact them. I’ll ask.
In the meantime, I suggest that you write to
– abuse@linkedin.com
– legal@linkedin.com and/or
– privacy@linkedin.com

==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====

Member By Web Form (…) – 05/16/2011 12:33
I am a LinkedIn member but I know someone who is not, and they do not want to receive any more invitations to join.
Is there any way for LinkedIn to put those email addresses on a “Do Not Invite” or “Do Not Contact” list?
==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
We can put email addresses to ” do not contact” list those who dont wish to get any communication from linkedin.
However for privacy reason we need the person’s consent to put into ” do not contact” list.
Please know that once the email address is put into ” do not contact ” list you will no longer receive any email from LinkedIn or our members on this email address. If you decide at a later date that you want to set up a LinkedIn account, you will need to first contact us to have your email address removed from the “do not contact” list.

Thank you for being a valued member of our LinkedIn community!

LinkedIn Customer Service

May 18
From MM

Dear LinkedIn,

This is a copy of the first of *three* invitations I have received now to
join a “professional network” on LinkedIn.
Despite my refusing them, they kept coming.
Would you please stop me receiving invitations.
Thank you and regards

Margaret Marks

May 18
From LinkedIn

LinkedIn Customer Support Message
Subject: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
We’ve received your message and we’re working to get you an answer. If you have a Premium account or you’re a LinkedIn Ads customer, we strive to reply within 24 hours. For all other members, we do our best to respond within 48 hours…but at times we do see delays. We’ll get back to you soon!
Original Contact:
Member Comment: Margaret Marks 05/18/2011 13:03

May 20
From LinkedIn

LinkedIn Customer Support Message
Subject: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
Hi Margaret,

Thank you for contacting LinkedIn Customer Service.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience these messages have caused. Members who say they know you have used that email address to send you an invitation to join their LinkedIn network.

You don’t need to have the email registered to a LinkedIn account or be a LinkedIn member to receive these invitations. However, if you don’t ever want to receive LinkedIn invitations, please let me know and I’ll promptly block this email address. This will prevent members from sending you LinkedIn messages and also prevent the email address from being used to open a LinkedIn account in the future.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with millions of members. We help you control your professional online identity and exchange information with trusted connections and be good at what you do. To learn more about LinkedIn you can go to http://learn.linkedin.com/what-is-linkedin.

Should you choose to reply, I’ll add your email address to our “do not contact” list.

I look forward to hearing your response in order to further assist you.

LinkedIn Customer Service

I did reply and ask to be blocked.

May 20

LinkedIn Customer Support Message
Subject: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
Hi Margaret,

Thank you for the confirmation email.

Per your request, the email provided has been added to our “do not contact” list. You will no longer receive any email from LinkedIn or our members on this email address. If you decide at a later date that you want to set up a LinkedIn account, you will need to first contact us to have your email address removed from the “do not contact” list.


LinkedIn Customer Service

The meaning of no longer receiving any email from LinkedIn or their members at this email address remains obscure, in view of the following received today:

May 22
From LinkedIn

Hi Margaret,

You recently contacted our Customer Support Team. As a valued member of LinkedIn, you’ve been selected to participate in a survey regarding your most recent experience with us. The survey will take about 2 minutes to complete and your feedback will be used to help us improve our service to you.

The details of your experience are as follows:
Member Initiated Subject Line: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
Date of Contact: 05/18/2011 13:40
Reference Number: 110518-002687

Please click here to take the survey.
Your satisfaction matters to us and we hope that you’ll take a couple minutes to help us in our quest for excellence in service.

Image ~ LinkedIn Operations ~
If you do not wish to receive any more invitations to participate in support surveys, click here.

A bit of googling did indicate that you can invite someone to be a contact rather than inviting them to join your professional network. But both, I imagine, are intended to go to other members.


May 23
From LinkedIn

Hi Margaret,

I truly apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

You will no longer receive any email from LinkedIn or our members on this email address.


LinkedIn Customer Service

Bohlander on German criminal procedure/Bohlander zum deutschen Strafverfahren

Via Michael Bohlander’s page at Durham University, a PDF file of a paper on Basic Concepts of German Criminal Procedure – a modified version of a chapter of his forthcoming book Principles of German Criminal Procedure, Hart Publishing 2011.

One of the major distinctions often heard about the German as a member of the family of continental legal systems is that its procedure is inquisitorial as opposed to the common law adversarial model. But what does that really mean? Is it all encapsulated in the role of the judge, or are there other features that define the character of the German procedure as inquisitorial? Is it actually still useful to use the terminology of “inquisitorial vs. adversarial”? Does “inquisitorial” not tend to convey connotations that remind us of medieval practices involving dungeons, torture, extorted confessions, draconic punishments and the personal union of prosecutor, judge and executioner in the figure of the inquisitor, or a burden on the defendant to prove their innocence etc.? Is the standard of proof in the continental systems, sometimes called intime conviction according to its
French variant or freie Überzeugung in German, really lower than the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard that common lawyers tend to be so proud of? A quick look at the law will teach us that none of these worrisome features are part and parcel of the German approach, and indeed any modern continental procedure, even if some very high level common law practitioners and academics that I have met over the years seem to think that, for example, continental inquisitorial systems do not have an equivalent to the 5th Amendment in the US Constitution and that an accused has to cooperate with the prosecution in her own trial and prove her innocence.

I must admit I have no problems with the term inquisitorial, but I remember Sharon Byrd introducing an alternative term – she refuses to call the continental system inquisitorial, and instead calls it accusatorial (I had to look that up). I see no reason why a word shouldn’t have a variety of meanings. (Where did I see a cartoon this week with the caption ‘Nobody ever expects the Spanish revolution’?) In a footnote, Bohlander suggests the term judge-led.

It’s good that this book was made into a film/Zum Glück wurde dieses Buch verfilmt!

Bleak House was a novel I didn’t really appreciate until after Andrew Davies’ TV mini-series.

Not that the series was perfect, but it cast a different light on the novel, and I read a criticism of it that brought out some other aspects.

Bleak House is famous for its opening, describing the court of Chancery in the 19th century (its influence is pretty obvious in Kafka’s Der Process):

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes—gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if this day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ‘prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.

That was about the end of the fun for me, because we had it as a set book at A Level at my girls’ grammar school. Now one of the strengths of the novel is its use of multiple narrators, and one of those is an unbearable woman called Esther Summerson. She is supposed to be morally perfect and very sweet and kind and everybody loves her, and all this has to come over between the lines as she is the narrator of her bits of the story. I much prefer nasty or narrowminded narrators like the ones in Wuthering Heights. One thing Andrew Davies does is to remove her narration – pretty predictably. As soon as it isn’t Esther letting us know how wonderful she is, that problem is resolved. Another thing Davies does is to make Esther a bit aggressive, for instance towards Harold Skimpole. So she is no longer so wishy-washy. Not so faithful to the novel, but easier to swallow.

Another aspect I really hated at school was the way these young girls, Esther and Ada above all, were constantly kissing each other and being generally sweet and innocent. This seemed to me to have something to do with Dickens’ somewhat unhealthy attraction to young women. That doesn’t really come out in the TV version, thank goodness. The sad life of Jo, the crossing-sweeper boy (the 19th-c. equivalent of people who wash windscreens), was also pretty hard to take.

Davies of course likes his little idiosyncratic additions. A famous example is in his Pride and Prejudice, where Colin Firth as Mr Darcy plunges fully clothed into a weedy pond just before meeting Elizabeth Bennet at Pemberley, and he also sees her playing with a harlequin Great Dane through a window when he has just got out of his bath. Some of the things he added to Bleak House: a lot of the scenes are very dark, probably accurately, but not too good on a small screen; lots of characters have accents from other parts of the country, not just the Welsh and the man from Shropshire, but also Krook; the shifts from scene to scene are rapid and accompanied by a sound suggesting speed – possibly Davies was trying to convey the sense that the novel originally appeared in instalments – nothing can be put past him.

A curious feature of the series is the way Gillian Anderson plays Lady Dedlock. She is a brilliant choice, but in an interview she said that Lady Dedlock is over the top and rather overdramatizes everything. I’m not sure that that was Dickens’ intention.

There was some wonderful casting, and a lot of the novel came over very well. I know from relations that Mr Smallweed’s ‘Shake me up, Judy!’ became a popular phrase. Mr Guppy was my favourite. Mr Tulkinghorn was excellent too.

But what was particularly useful was an article by Philip Hensher I read (You’ll never catch me watching it), in which he was extremely critical of the adaptation and yet at the same time made it plain he would never watch it. Ridiculous though this was, Hensher obviously loves the novel and when he listed all the things he thought could not be televised, it made me realize the novel’s strengths.

…it seems very unlikely that this dramatisation adds to the quality of the greatest novel in the English language. For a start, I’ve heard that there is no fog to be seen anywhere, which seems rather like filming Moby Dick without the sea. …

And one hears that Mrs Pardiggle has been left out altogether. Frankly, a Bleak House that leaves out Mrs Pardiggle, and above all, the five- year-old Alfred Pardiggle, that most unwilling contributor to the Infant Bonds of Joy, is not a Bleak House I have any great desire to watch. Of course, he, and about a hundred others, contribute hardly anything to the plot, but what else can be left out? Prince Turveydrop? Volumnia Dedlock? The Military Bassoonist? Mr Chadband’s reflection, saying grace, that without “refreshment” “our legs would refuse to bear us, our knees would double up, our ankles would turn over”?

The main reason for not watching this dramatisation, or, in fact, any dramatisation of Bleak House ever again is that one knows one would sit there with gritted teeth waiting for some magnificently unnecessary moment, groaning with pain at its omission or suffering an only temporary relief. Does it, for instance, include that incomparable passage, Krook’s list of the names of Miss Flite’s 25 pet birds: “Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon and Spinach?” It seems fairly unlikely; but, really, I just don’t want to know.

A lot of this is actually there, although Mrs Pardiggle isn’t. (Correction: Mrs Pardiggle is there).

It isn’t, moreover, just a question of leaving out wonderful little corners of plot, or irresistible characters. It’s really a matter of not doing a 10th of the things a book does. A book can switch into historical narration, dense description, authorial comment. It can, as Bleak House does, alternate between past tense and present tense – it’s an extraordinarily sinister moment when Richard suddenly disappears from Esther’s narrative, and appears in an anonymous present-tense section. A film can’t do any of this; it is stuck, forever, in the most banal of a novel’s modes, the narration of action and the transcription of dialogue.

Hensher is right, of course. The TV adaption is not Bleak House, nothing like it. It’s a completely new entity, and in many ways thinner than the book. But I did enjoy it, and it did reconcile me to the novel.


It’s that time of year again, and these little roadside stalls are springing up so that Franconians can have a quick fix of their favourite drug. In this example it’s even combined with a cigarette machine.

You have to be careful when buying uncertified asparagus, though, because there is a rumour that originally green asparagus is imported from other EU countries, the excrescences shaved off with the ubiquitous asparagus peeler, and dyed white.


I just had to translate Lohndumping into English. Not easy! Someone on leo.org suggests using wage dumping plus a definition. It’s true, sometimes a single term needs a single term (one or two words) rather than a long definition, to work in a text. Apparently Lohnunterbietung is a synonym. So the suggestio would be to write ‘”wage dumping” (forcing the reduction of wages and salaries)’ or something like that.

Here are some people on a Swiss forum getting very angry on the subject:

thanks, I’m intrigued by the term itself though. Why use “dumping”? Isn’t the German language capable of describing this practice?

This is kindergarten stuff…

The term is used in English too, usually in inverted commas with a definition. It does usually apply to bringing in foreign workers.