Why translations can be hard to read/Undurchsichtiges Englisch

There’s an article on the German Federal Constitutional Court on the Matrix Chambers eutopialaw blog, by a German law professor called Daniel Thym, which is really heavy going and I wonder if it was written in English or translated in the writer’s head from German.

Since first posting this, I have discovered that there is an original German text online (see notes at end). So I include it:

Nun lassen sich die Kritiker das Argument der Verfassungswidrigkeit nicht so schnell aus der Hand nehmen.

Critics won’t renounce at the argument that bailouts violate the German constitution single-handedly.

Der mediale Hype um die Bundestags-Abstimmungen zur Euro-Rettung sowie die BVerfG-Urteile zeigt, wie die verfassungsjuristische Stärkung des Nationalstaats in eine politische Alltagspraxis umschlägt, die ihrerseits eine diskursive und identifikatorische Stärkung der nationalstaatlichen Identität mit sich bringt.

Extensive media coverage, both domestic and international, of the German Constitutional Court judgments and parliamentary votes show that the fortification of domestic institutions by means of constitutional interpretation has an impact upon everyday political practices which bring about the discursive strengthening of national identity.

I’m afraid my constitutional-law translations might sound like this.

I’ve bought a book on copyright law, I think it was, before now where I only realized after I had got it that it was by a non-native speaker and too hard to read. I admire translators who understand how to mould German sentences into natural English ones, but I’m not sure I know enough about the art.

But there’s a following post by Peter Lindseth, who has written on the blog before, and that is fine as usual.

LATER NOTE: Ah, I see from Lindseth’s post that the Daniel Thym post was translated into English. That’s a relief, but it shouldn’t be! Here’s the original German.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.