In lieu of a longer post, some links and comments that have come up this week:
1. A commenter on an earlier entry wondered how to translate Bereinigungsgesetz into English. There’s some discussion there, and also a mention of how to translate Gesetz into English: as part of the name of a statute, I always write Act. This works in BrE and AmE. Some prefer law, and as far as I remember the argument given for using law is that there is a difference in the way Gesetze are made in Germany and Acts in the UK and USA. One aspect that struck me only recently is that it’s quite common in BrE to do what I do, capitalize Act in running text (in this generic sense, one could also use statute). I think it tends to be done by lawyers and it only struck me when a colleague queried it.
Help! What can I do in my text?
This variety of terms in both languages means first of all that there is no absolute right answer for any terminology question. Perhaps I could suggest a provisional sub-division into primary, secondary and informal parts of the town or city, although some of the terms will overlap, and many distinctions are likely to be relative.
3. Another blog I enjoy reading, False friends, good and bad translation, has a post on Mahnverfahren auf Englisch. It’s a guest post, I think, by Laura Macdonald. She opts for dunning process. This is certainly OK. Process, because it includes court proceedings among other things. But I would have said debt collection procedure, I think. I wonder if dunning is more common in AmE than BrE? I have always felt it was a colloquial term, but maybe I’m wrong. I also feel it is not widely understood by English (British?) readers. Mind you, when I look in the legal dictionaries and find default action, I’m mystified.
LATER NOTE: In the comments, the patron saint of lawyers points out that the EU term is order for payment – as in European Order for Payment Procedure. So maybe that will take over.