Lost luggage/Verlorenes Gepäck

I’ve just been to London for a week, flying Lufthansa from Nuremberg with a change in Frankfurt. In both directions, my suitcase (checked-in baggage) did not make it. On the first journey, I was told the stopover in Frankfurt had been too short. The suitcase was delivered the next afternoon, about 24 hours after arrival. On the return journey, the suitcase was totally mislaid. I was told the label had torn off. It was delivered less than 48 hours later.

Advice for future trips: if you talk to Lufthansa staff in German, check how they translate what you say into English. Ein roter Band auf den Griff geklebt/ein roter Klebeband is not a red ribbon (eine rote Schleife). I did get them to change it to red tape, but that was only after I saw it online the next day.

It was also a pain walking 25 minutes to the next terminal to buy a toothbrush in London. I was told there were no shops where I landed.

One good thing at Heathrow:

Not only is my iPod being charged, but it has continental sockets on one side and UK sockets on the other.

How do you get to ride those carts at Frankfurt? It seems I am always attempting to run through the airport to catch the connecting flight, but I saw some Chinese people using one of those carts and was very envious.


I tried some Husten- und Bronchialtee recently when I had a cold, but it didn’t seem to help, perhaps because I didn’t believe in it enough. Tee (tea) has a wide meaning in German and most of these teas sound like the condition they are supposed to avert. As one of the tweets quoted by Bettina says, Blasentee (bladder tea, diuretic tea) is not the same as bubble tea.

Court interpreters as spies/Gerichtsdolmetscher als Spione

1. Werner Siebers, the criminal defence lawyer, reports in his blog that the public prosecutor’s department in Kassel wants to prescribe what court interpreter he uses on a first visit to a potential client in prison. He is concerned that the public prosecutors may be using an interpreter to report back to them on conversations between defendant and defence counsel.

Wenn ein Dolmetscher vereidigt ist, werde ich ganz sicher nicht zulassen, dass mir die Staatsanwaltschaft dazwischenfunkt. So verkniffen, wie die Staatsanwaltschaft die Sache angeht, werde ich das jetzt auch sehen.

Die wollen vielleicht einen Dolmetscher “einschleusen”, der dann brühwarm berichtet, was mir der Beschuldigte erzählt hat. Das fehlt mir noch.

2. Carsten Hoenig takes up the topic in Verraeter-Dolmetscher (excuse English keyboard). He comments that some interpreters may be prepared to act as the prosecution’s ears, but this is rare. But he reports on a situation he experienced. There were five defendants in a case, all speakers of a rare language, and each by law should be represented by a different interpreter. On the way to prison, the interpreter said he’d already interpreted for two of the other Ds and had been there at the first police questioning. Hoenig then did not question the D on important matters. On the way back, the interpreter reported numerous details of the private conversations with the other defendants – perhaps not dangerous in this case, but all the defense counsel decided not to use this interpreter again.

Auf dem Rückweg aus dem Besuchertrakt der Untersuchungshaftanstalt berichtete mir der Dolmetscher freimütig einige Details aus den Gesprächen der anderen Verteidiger mit ihren jeweiligen Mandanten. Es war nicht Wildes dabei; aber allein der Umstand, daß der Dolmetscher überhaupt solche Geheimnisse mit Dritten – also mit mir – teilte, war für mich – und dann auch für die Berliner Strafverteidiger – Anlaß genug, uns für die weiteren Mandanten-Gespräche nach anderen professionell arbeitenden Dolmetschern umzuschauen.

Hoenig adds an account to show that nearly all interpreters are reliable.

3. Here’s a report from Austria – in German – on a situation similar to the ALS problem in the UK: Dolmetsch-Misere in Traiskirchen (thanks to Brigitte for that).

Leading decision/Grundsatzentscheidung

It’s been widely reported today that Haribo (which markets a sweet called Goldbär – gold bear) won in a case against Lindt Sprüngli, which has been introducing a gold-foil-wrapped bear for Christmas. The court in Cologne held that people would refer to the Lindt product as ‘gold bear’, thus diluting the mark into which Haribo has pumped huge amounts of money in advertising. (No, commenters, the court did not say that people could not tell the difference between a ‘gummy bear’ and a chocolate bear). Die Welt (German):

Denn die meisten Verbraucher werden laut Gericht den “Lindt Teddy” naheliegenderweise und ungezwungen als “Goldbären” bezeichnen – und eben nicht als Teddy”, “goldene Bärenfigur”, “goldfoliierten Bär” oder als “goldfarbenen Schokoladenteddybär”.

Haribo konnte auf die Umfrage eines unabhängigen Meinungsforschungsinstituts verweisen: 95 Prozent der Verbraucher würden die traditionsreiche Wort-Bildmarke “Goldbär” kennen.

The Local (English):

But the judges said that shoppers were likely to refer to the Lindt product as a “Gold Bear” because of its appearance and thus dilute the Haribo brand.

“Most consumers would not use descriptions such as ‘golden bear figure’, ‘gold foil-wrapped bear’ or ‘gold-coloured chocolate teddy bear’… but rather the closest description, particularly considering how well-known the other brand is: Gold Bear,” it said in a statement.

The decision isn’t final – Lindt will be appealing. It was commented that this particular point of law – whether a word mark can be diluted by the appearance of another mark – has not been decided by the highest courts (höchstrichterlich), or that there has not been a fundamental decision (Grundsatzentscheidung).

Die Welt:

Eine höchstrichterliche Rechtssprechung gebe es zu einer solchen Kollision nämlich noch nicht, erklärte das Kölner Landgericht.

The Local:

“What is special about the case is that there has been no high court ruling on the issue of a collision between a brand name and a three-dimensional product design,” it said.

That is very American. It’s common in the USA to refer to the Supreme Court as the ‘high court’.

I’m not sure if the highest court here would be the Bundesgerichtshof or the Bundespatentgericht. At all events, to call such a decision a ‘landmark decision’ would not be correct. What is meant is a binding decision – not that Germany has an official system of precedent, but in practice it seems like that. A landmark decision is one that makes the news in a big way.

LATER NOTE: Guardian article – with mug shots of the two bears.

Advent – photos/Fotos

Glassblower at Fürth Altstadtweihnachtsmarkt:

Traditionally, the golden arches change to green during advent:

Some of the locals having a sing-song outside Drogerie Müller:

A Fortuna Düsseldorf fan risking her life in Fürth:

View of the Christkindlsmarkt in Nuremberg – from Fleischbrücke- possibly with more snow than they reckoned with:

What they do in Nuremmberg with the annual surplus of prunes:

The representative of Bar in Montenegro in a nice hat:

Katharina das Große

On my walk yesterday I saw Katharina das Große in the window of a health care shop:

Amazon reviews are very harsh on this mobile phone. The main objection seems to be that it isn’t mobile – it won’t fit in a jacket pocket or handbag, so it gets left at home. People also feel they are being treated as if they were disabled. In addition, there may be some functioning problems.

If you scroll down here, you can see it’s at least four times the size of a normal cell phone.

Some reading/Etwas zum Lesen

Hamish Hamilton’s Five Dials no. 26 has just come out. It is an elegant PDF and this edition is full of translations of German literature, although the main thing that has caught my eye so far is an article about secret ways to walk through London. 64 pages of good stuff. They apparently expect us to print it out.

For walks from Gatwick, see kalebeul.

Thanks to Ekkehard for reminding me of the free sampler of the new language magazine Babel. I honestly can’t see myself having time to read it, but there is some good stuff in there, for example an article on forensic linguistics by Peter French et al., and everything has suggestions for further reading.

There are good language reads out there already free of charge, of course: but I suppose everyone knows the Translation Journal and the Journal of Specialised Translation.

Many translators have been writing books but I have not had time to read them. I’ve already recommended Fire Ant and Worker Bee’s compilation. At a very very superficial glance I had a good impression of Corinne McKay’s How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator and Nataly Kelly/Jost Zetzsche’s Found in Translation (despite the hype, and despite the fact that I can’t think of anyone I would give it to for Christmas).

And here is an interpreter’s microblog, as Céline describes it. I actually saw this last week without understanding what it was: A good speech a day keeps the doctor away.