This and that

I have almost given up this blog, but here are a few legal/translation points while I am passing through.

Divorce vocabulary

This week English law at last provided a possibility of no-fault divorce. Previously the only way to get a divorce relatively promptly involved spouses accusing each other of behaviour of various kinds (‘unreasonable behaviour’, meaning behaviour the other spouse could not reasonably be expected to live with). (No-fault divorce is possible in Scotland though).

New divorce laws will come into force from 06 April 2022

So just to make things more interesting for translators, some of the vocabulary has changed. A divorce petition becomes an application, a petitioner an applicant, a decree nisi a conditional order and a divorce decree a divorce order.

Thanks to Laura Elvin for pointing that out.

Beziehungsweise / bzw.

I don’t think I’ve written much about this, but it is a problem to translate.

Without warming up the long discussion on translators’ forums, I would like to quote what a colleague read in a German Patent Office examination report:

“Das Bindewort beziehungsweise (bzw.) ist nicht zur Schaffung zweifelsfreier Rechte geeignet, da es als und, oder oder auch als und/oder verstanden werden kann.”

I love this. I like the bit where they say “… da es als und, oder oder auch als und/oder verstanden werden kann.”
So there is a difference between “und, oder” and “und/oder”.
They could have written “…da es als und, oder bzw. als und/oder verstanden werden kann”, couldn’t they?

Speeding fines based on income

Juliette Scott in her blog From Words to Deeds finds it odd that speeding fines in Finland are based on income.

But it isn’t so odd. In Germany too, and no doubt in other countries outside the UK, the amount of the fine varies between the rich and the poor. So you get a number of points, called Tagessätze, and what a point is worth depends on your income. It makes sense to me.

There used to be problems translating the word Tagessätze. It seemed poor grammar to call it daily rates. I now write daily units. This is because the term was used when the system was briefly introduced in the UK. The problem arises if you write in the papers the exact sum the rich person has to pay, rather than the number of units or the percentage of income used. I suppose that the average newspaper reader is not aware how much richer some people are than others.

This is all so long ago that I’ve forgotten the details. In fact I note that in 2021 and presumably 2022 too, the most egregious speeding fines were related to income. Speeding fines 2021.

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