Emac website now in comprehensible English

In Baden-Württemberg heißt es, “Wir können alles, nur kein Hochdeutsch”. Aber Englisch können sie auch nicht alle, und manche von ihnen haben vielleicht Schwierigkeiten, eine gute Übersetzung zu finden – da muss man sich aber nicht schämen, sondern bereit sein, Korrekturen zu machen.

In September, I reported on the Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg and the quality of the English on its website. From the Impressum:

bq. All rights lie with the Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg. As far as in the individual case in a different way regulated and untill foreign laws are not concerned, the spreading of the documents lying on this server is desired as a whole or in parts of it in electronic and printed form under the condition that the source (Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg) and the URL are named. Without previous written approval by the LMZ a commercial spreading of the documents lying on this server is strictly prohibited.

This now reads:

bq. All rights are owned by the Baden-Württemberg State Media Center. Unless otherwise agreed in individual cases, and provided that the rights of third parties are not affected, the distribution of the documents on this server is desired, in whole or in part, in electronic and printed form under the condition that the source (Baden-Württemberg State Media Center) and the URL are specified. Commercial distribution of the documents on this server is expressly prohibited without prior permission from the State Media Center.

How did this change come about? Well, for one thing, Sabine Lockner-Schadek, a professional translator on the pt mailing list at Yahoo groups, wrote an email to the Landesmedienzentrum pointing out the poor quality. She received a rather unfriendly email reply ans was asked not to bother the Director with this information. The site remained unchanged. Then Sabine wrote to the minister Frau Dr. Schavan, who was in charge of a ministry that provided some funding for the project. She was then informed that after her first approach, the LMZ had engaged an expert translation dcompany to do the corrections. The quality was described as being the result of text passages from drafts being wrongly put online. And the LMZ told the ministry it had informed Sabine of this change, which is apparently not true.

There has recently been a meeting of the European Broadcasting Union in Basle, and the LMZ would have made quite a fool of itself without Sabine Lockner-Schadek’s helpful comments. So let’s thank her here on behalf of the taxpayers of Baden-Württemberg at least.

2 thoughts on “Emac website now in comprehensible English

  1. Wir können alles ausser Hochdeutsch. Quite…

    Obviously I have no connections with the firm that came up with that slogan. None. And I certainly never translate anything for the Landesministerium für Forschung, Kunst und Wissenschaft (great combination). I might have heard, however, of native English speakers who have written advertising text in English for them who then received phone calls from the ministerial staff because of changes made to the text, “do you know what my Note in my Arbitur English was? One point 2!” – one can only reply “Yes, and as you’re speaking English now, do you know that we say mark or score, instead of Note?”
    The ministry paid (an expensive) PR Firm – who employ a native English speaker – to edit the English copy, and when they received the corrected text, they changed it. They didn’t change it back to how it originally was, but they “embellished” it. I don’t know if it’s a BW thing (VHS Stuttgart were just the same), but it makes one wonder “why bother paying a native English speaker at all”……?

  2. I remember a German colleague of mine doing something for a Nuremberg museum. She consulted a number of native speakers and produced a good text. The German who commissioned her altered things back to Germanisms before her very eyes!
    It must have something to do with the fact that anyone who speaks a few words of a foreign language knows what translation is. It’s often held in low esteem. What happened in the present case is ridiculous – a text that bad can’t be ‘edited’. You have to start from scratch. I have a rather pessimistic view on the education of (many) clients.
    Am closing comments as I’m going away for a few days and want to avoid comment spam.

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