Judging from Philip Greenspun’s weblog, it doesn’t sound as if Germans are very welcome in some parts of Oklahoma.
Bei dieser Gelegenheit wiederhole ich das Link zu mindermeinung.de, “das Internetportal von und für Leipziger Jurastudenten”.
Above are links to two new German law weblogs and one portal for Leipzig law students. (The word Winkelschreiber was briefly discussed in an earlier entry of mine).
Artikeln aus The Barrister (Zeitschrift) bilden einen Weblog. Die Erfolge im US-amerikanischen Rechtssystem und dem in Großbritannien bei Gruppenklagen in den USA und in Großbritannien werden z.B. in einem Artikel verglichen (Datum 24.03.04, Permalink funktioniert bei mir nicht).
The most recent entry (24.03.04) is by Toby Duthie, of Forensic Risk Alliance, an Anglo-American company that works with plaintiffs in multi-party litigation.
It discusses the difference between the US and the UK in litigation. Nowadays one of the comments made about litigation that seems to recur in the UK is that Britain is a worse place to live in since it took over the US litigation culture. This is stated by those with no knowledge of the American system or understanding of the difference between that and the UK system. The entry tries to show why the American system is not so bad and the UK system is unsatisfactory.
It compares results in the DEM10 billion German Slave Labour Holocaust settlement; and the USD1.25 billion Swiss Bank settlement.
bq. Few people have argued that this US compensation culture is positive and should be viewed as a sign of a healthy society whose citizens are knowledgeable about their rights and are sufficiently empowered in the majority of instances to ensure that they are not breached. This is certainly a view that we hold and tire of instances both here and in the US of people arguing against this armed with a list of well-publicised exceptions. …
bq. There is no question in my mind, as someone who works on both sides of the Atlantic on complex mass claims, that US citizens have far better access to justice than their UK counterparts and that US companies, accordingly, are better at handling their liabilities (both after the event and pre-emptively) – which must be a good thing.
Actually, this is an article from The Barrister magazine, as are most of the entries, so this is not quite the usual web log.
(Via Delia Venables) Criminal Solicitor Dot Net is a criminal law portal run by Gavin Burrell, who has been a criminal solicitor (this means a solicitor dealing with criminal law) for six years in East London.
There are forums (you have to register if you want to contribute) and there is a newsfeed which is just taken (with permission) from the UK Criminal Justice Weblog.
Diary of a Criminal Solicitor is accessible without registration and it is a day-to-day account of Gavin’s working life. I’m posting a small example:
bq. Wednesday 24th March 2004
I went to an Magistrates Court in Essex today to deal with a failing to provide case. After I identified that the case was a possible malfunctioning intoximeter case I went in to Court where my Client pleaded not guilty and I explained that the case was not straightforward as there would be lengthy disputes regarding disclosure between the Prosecution and myself. The Court Clerk got rather excited that there was a complex case in his Court room and asked if I could write to the Court explaining that the case would involve complicated disclosure issues so that he could arrange for a District Judge to be brought in for the hearings. I was amused how the thought of a District Judge working in his Court made the Court Clerk visibly excited. After yesterday’s long day I was glad to spend my afternoon in my office.
This district judge is the one that used to be a stipendiary magistrate, a barrister or solicitor working alone, rather like an Einzelrichter, and not needing a court clerk to advise him or her on the law. Could it be that the court clerk (I think this means the magistrates’ clerk, who is a lawyer too and advises the lay magistrates) was looking forward to a day watching?
Gail at Open Brackets has an entry on the exchanges between authors and their translators:
bq. So Ive decided that, even if nobody else would want to read it, a collection of the correspondence between authors and their translators would make for a fine and fascinating book.
My eye was caught by a series of questions sent to Alan Bennett by the German translator of his possibly not immortal play ‘Kafkas Dick’ and contained in Bennett’s diaries:
bq. Q. Who is Nurse Cavell, a figure from a movie or a play? I think I know her, but I cannot remember from where.
A. You shot her
bq. Other questions:
For a long time I used to go to bed early. This Proust quote, where?
Ivy-Compton-Burnett: who or what is that?
Gas oven: do you mean the gas chamber of the Nazis or the kitchen stove which is used for suicide?
Altar: do you mean marriage or sacrifice?
I think the last two questions are OK, or at least the last one is, depending on the context. But the others seem to be ones a translator would research rather than ask the author, and the Proust one is the most famous Proust sentence of all.
So I asked myself: I wonder if I know this translator? Google helps out – the play was translated as ‘Kafkas Franz’ and the perpetrator was Max Goldt, who is rather well known as a writer in his own right, although I haven’t been able to get on with his stuff. Here is an article on Goldt from the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
bq. Zu Max-Goldt-Lesungen geht man mitunter wie zu einer besonders schicken Party. Lieber als an irgendwelchen Szenetreffpunkten würde der Dichter deshalb im Theater vorlesen – “aber das kommt wohl ohnehin irgendwann, wenn ich älter werde”. Fürs ganz reale Theater hat Max Goldt übrigens im Vorjahr das ziemlich anstößige Stück “Kafkas Dick” von Alan Bennett übersetzt, die deutschsprachige Erstaufführung wurde im Vorjahr irgendwo in Wien auf die Bretter gewuchtet. “Aber Theater fände ich eigentlich nur interessant”, sagt der Künstler wiederum ganz ohne Ironie, “wenn ich das Geschriebene selber spielen und inszenieren könnte. Ich würde das sicher besser auf die Bühne bringen als jeder Berufsregisseur oder Schauspieler.”
Goldt would only find theatre interesting if he could act and direct everything.
The top mark goes to The Gambia flag:
bq. Great design and colour choice. Also represents the geography of the country (without being a map).
Investigation elsewhere reveals that red represents the savanna grasslands, blue the River Gambia and green the country’s forests.
TRANSLATED LIVES: AUTOBIOGRAPHY BETWEEN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES
TRADUIRE LE VECU : L’AUTOBIOGRAPHIE ENTRE LANGUES ET CULTURES (with some web links at the bottom of the page, mainly French but some English).
Alice Kaplan describes the horrific experience of having a novel translated by a translator convinced of his own godhood:
bq. I’ll call my translator, in the interests of privacy, “Mr. X.” Mr. X was hired by a French publisher to translate my book, French Lessons, an autobiographical essay about an American who falls in love with the French language.
It was a problem writing in French about an American’s experience of the French language, but it did not require quite the acrobatics of this man.
bq. Mr. X’s first response to the book was wild enthusiasm. He was excited to be doing his first literary translation. He fantasized an enormous commercial success for my book, and media stardom for me thanks to him complete with an appearance on Bernard Pivot’s literary talk show, with his expert coaching to prepare me. From these ambitious and enthusiastic beginnings, things went quickly downhill. In order for my book to achieve this status, Mr. X was convinced it needed serious adaptation. It would not work as it was for a French public. He therefore set out to rewrite it, according to his idea of the image a French reader would want to have of an American learning French.
This is followed by some examples of cases, including this one, where translators were taken to court. There is also some discussion of Kaplan’s own experiences as a translator.
I’ve uploaded another article by Geoffrey Perrin on DE>EN legal translation. It appeared in Lebende Sprachen in 1989.
There have been changes in the juvenile criminal law since then, but the basic contrast between the German and English systems is still valid. This is illustrated by diagrams. The article is folowed by a glossary. The glossary contains terms actually in use and also coinings, marked *: suggested translations rather than terms actually in use.
The article is a first-class illustration of the practical problems in collating terminology for a field.
Some of the points discussed:
In legal translation we are not comparing like with like, so the principles of terminology work cannot be fully adhered to – it’s better to use terms that are not identical, in order to avoid misconceptions.
Where do we take our language from – does it have to be one specific target legal system?
bq. One or two further observations on the approach I have adopted in compiling my list: in a number of instances, I have provided glosses or explanations in brackets – the translator will decide himself, of course, whether the circumstances call for them to be included, either by building them into the text he is producing, or in the form of footnotes. In some cases, I have not hesitated to use terms which are now obsolete as regards official use in Britain where I feel these are suitable for conveying a German concept (e.g. “misdemeanour” for “Verfehlung”). The soft sciences are particularly prone to rapid obsolescence in the terminological field, since they are precisely those spheres of life which are most at the mercy of the whims of governments as they come and go. If one were to reject a term simply because it ceased to be employed officially a year or two previously, the terminologist’s job would become even more difficult!
This reminds me of how many words have been changed in English law in recent years. I usually still use plaintiff, custody, access.