Legal translation seminar in London

I am taking the liberty of posting this announcement which I got from the legaltranslators group at Yahoo:

bq. City University, Centre for Language Studies is offering a one day
Legal Translation Seminar on Monday 27th June from 9am to 5pm, at our
main campus in Northampton Square. The morning session will be a
series of talks about various related topics as well as a comparative
study of the French and English legal systems and the German and
English legal systems. The afternoon session will be a 2 hour
interactive workshop based around the translation of a legal text.
The document will be translated, and the main traps and pitfalls
discussed. We offer 4 language combinations as follows: English into
French, French into English, German into English, English into German.

bq. The cost of the seminar is £110 (£95 concessions). The
deadline for registration is 12 June 2005. Further information
including a detailed programme of the day as well as the application
form can be found on our website
Alternatively you can email Erin Faulkner or
telephone +44 20 7040 3265

Actually there are seminars on June 3 and 4 too, on commercial and corporate law. I see that a City University centre for legal translation is planned and wonder what form that would take.

Angela Sigee, who is comparing English and German law and talking about EN>DE translation, is excellent. I don’t know the others, but have heard good reports of the seminars.

Terminology Management and Terminology Extraction survey, Saarbrücken

The Department of Applied Linguistics at Saarland University at Saarbrücken is doing an online survey of translators’ and interpreters’ use of terminology management and terminology extraction tools. It can be done here and is supposed to take about ten minutes. It is all in English.

Some of the questions are accompanied by an explanation. The terminology extraction tools mentioned were these:

TermExtract (Trados)
TermFinder (Xerox)
TermFinder (Acrolinx)
Term Finder (SDL)
Autoterm (IAI)

I felt a bit odd answering in English because I felt it was being asked by non-native speakers. So I wrote ‘studentische Hilfskraft’ once rather than trying to explain it in English.

After I had done the test I got a message saying I would be taken back to the home page:

bq. Sie werden in wenigen Sekunden zur Startseite der Fachrichtung 4.6 weitergeleitet…You will be redirec

But I wasn’t, so I hope they got the answers. 77 people have answered so far. The results will be sent to me by email.

PS Does anyone know why the main page of the applied languages department at Saarbrücken is ‘sticky’? I kept entering the Transblawg URL and returning there, but after a few seconds Saarbrücken reinstituted itself. The trouble with those people is that they know too much about software.
LATER NOTE: I have edited my links and removed the problem.

German politics in English

Wortfeld, usually a German-language blog, has an entry in English describing the background to Schröder’s announcement of autumn elections. There are a large number of links.

As Alexander rightly says, the coverage of German matters in the English-language press is often not very good (and vice versa of course).

bq. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and SPD chairman Franz Müntefering have announced their intention to hold early elections. However, German constitutional law doesn’t make that as easy as in many other countries. Article 68 of Germany’s Basic Laws allows the (otherwise relatively powerless) President to dissolve the Bundestag if the Chancellor loses a vote of confidence. However, Schröder’s coalition holds 306 of currently 603 seats, so Schröder’s troops would have to lose deliberately. Helmut Kohl did that in 1982, with early elections in early 1983 instead of late 1984. The Constitutional Court wasn’t too happy with this creative approach (full decision in German), but ultimately didn’t stop it (and will not do so this time), since all Bundestag parties agreed.

Learning English via transplant

The Mail on Sunday reports that a French woman received a kidney of Princess Diana’s in Toulouse in 1997 and is now peppering her conversation with fragments of English. There are a number of suspicious elements to the story, however.

bq. “I found myself speaking English to my friends, something I don’t normally do because I have no reason to,” she says. “I cannot explain why I did this.”

bq. Is this evidence of a fanciful nature, or an indication she had indeed received an organ from an English-speaker? Improbable though it sounds, there are many documented accounts of organ recipients taking on characteristics of their donors. …

bq. Scientists have termed this phenomenon ‘cellular memory’. Professor Candice Pert, a molecular biologist, believes every cell has its own mind and, if transplanted, the cells of the first body carry messages into the second body.

I think Stephen King must have done something on this.

EC Asparagus Directive/EG Spargel-Richtlinie

Here it is in German, with links to all other languages.

We don’t talk of translation here – all versions of the EU directives are original legal texts. But this is odd:

in Erwägung nachstehender Gründe:
(1) Spargel ist in Anhang I der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 2200/96 als eines der Erzeugnisse aufgeführt, für die Normen festzulegen sind.

(1) asparagus are among the products listed in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 2200/96 for which standards must be adopted.

And again later:

The condition of the asparagus must be such as to enable them:

Asparagus is treated as a plural! But what about this?

Asparagus is graded into three classes defined below:

In fact, plural and singular use are mixed. This means that a number of lawyers drafting legislation for the EU are capable of writing a text without being consistent as to whether the main term is singular or plural. Why am I not surprised?

The OED has no illustrations of this, although others seem to want to count.

I see asparagus as a mass noun/uncountable. German has Spargel, but counts as Spargelstangen and Spargelköpfe.

And here’s some of the important bit:

Die Spargelstangen werden nach ihrer Färbung in vier Gruppen eingeteilt:
1. weißer Spargel;
2. violetter Spargel: der Spargelkopf muß eine rosa bis violettpurpurne und ein Teil der Spargelstange muß eine weiße Färbung aufweisen;
3. violett-grüner Spargel: Spargel mit teilweise violetter und grüner Färbung;
4. Grünspargel: der Spargelkopf und der größte Teil der Spargelstange müssen eine grüne Färbung aufweisen.
Diese Norm gilt nicht für Grünspargel und violett-grünen Spargel mit einem Durchmesser von weniger als 3 mm und für weißen und violetten Spargel mit einem Durchmesser von weniger als 8 mm, der in einheitlichen Bündeln oder Packstücken abgepackt ist.

Asparagus shoots are classified into four groups according to colour:
1. white asparagus;
2. violet asparagus, having tips of a colour between pink and violet or purple and a part of the shoot white;
3. violet/green asparagus, part of which is of violet and green colouring;
4. green asparagus having tips and most of the shoot green.
This standard does not apply to green and violet/green asparagus of less than 3 mm diameter and white and violet asparagus of less than 8 mm diameter, packed in uniform bundles or unit packages.

Mr Honey’s Dictionary/Winfried Honigs Wörterbuch

Sometimes, in bookshops in Erlangen and Nuremberg, I’ve seen CD-ROMs with a German-English economics dictionary by one Winfried Honig, who calls himself Mr Honey. He can be found by Google and investigated further.

One of his dictionaries is online as part of Project Gutenberg: Mr Honey’s First Business Dictionary (2001, 2002). Apparently his work has been fed into LEO too, so maybe this is superfluous. Apparently he taught at the Fachhochschule Nürnberg for 25 years.

In the 1970s Winfried Honig, known as Mr Honey, started compiling and
computerizing English/German dictionaries, partly to provide his
colleagues and students with samples of the language of business,
partly to collect convincing material for his State Department of
Education to illustrate the need for special dictionaries covering
the special language used in different branches of the industry.

In 1997 Mr Honey began to feed his wordlists into the LEO Online
Dictionary of the Technische Universität München,
and in 2000 into the DicData Online Dictionary

While more than 500.000 daily visitors use the online versions,
CD-ROM versions are available, see:
Mr. Honey would be pleased to answer questions sent to
Permission granted to use the word-lists, on condition that links to
the sites of LEO, DICDATA and MR HONEY are maintained.
Mr Honey’s services are non-commercial to promote the language of
business both in English and in German.

Here’s a sample:
gezeichnetes Kapital subscribed capital
gezogene auf die eröffnende Bank drawn on the issuing bank
gilt als is deemed to be
girieren endorse
Girogläubiger creditor by endorsement
Girokonto (US) checking account
Girosystem cheque system
Gläubiger creditor
Gläubigerausschuss board of creditors
Gläubigerausschuss committee of creditors
gleich equal
gleichartig similar
gleiches Akkreditiv similar credit
gleichlautend in conformity
gleichlautende Abschrift true copy
Gliederung der Ausgaben classification of expenditures
Glücksspiel gambling
Glücksspiel game of chance

Asparagus season/Spargelzeit

I’ve mentioned before that the Germans are so fixated on asparagus that they claw it out of the naked earth before it is even ready to eat.

In Expatica, David Gordon Smith tells it like it is. Supposing you didn’t know the word Spargel and saw the excitement of the Germans, what would you expect?

bq. In the absence of your dictionary you are reduced to speculation. Is it caviar? Truffles? Puffer fish? Whatever it is, it must be exotic and exciting and well worth the extravagant sums the restaurant is demanding. …

bq. On the edge of your seat, you watch your plate approach across the room. As it is tantalisingly lowered onto your table, you spot some boiled potatoes, a slice of ham, and then, immersed in a golden lake of Hollandaise sauce, a few sprigs of … asparagus? Your slavering jaw drops. This is what all the excitement is about? This is what they are charging EUR 13.90 for?

The season ends on June 24th (is there a Spargelgesetz?), but other things have short seasons too. I like fresh peas, and many people like strawberries, but the excitement is no comparison. I wonder if there is some genetic reason why asparagus is so popular here?

Here is a site with photos showing the obligatory Eastern European asparagus picker (there was a scare this year that the government might make unemployed German persons help out) and the rape of the asparagus bed.