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class="post-2709 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-2-weblogs tag-2-weblogs">

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Break / Blog pause


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This blog is closing down for a couple of weeks. All comments have been closed to avoid comment spam.

So yet again I will be missing out Talk like a pirate day on September 19 (later note: no, I didn’t), and probably even St. Jerome’s Day on September 30.


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Posted in weblogs
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class="post-2708 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-7-furth category-4-photos tag-7-furth tag-4-photos">

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Flabeg pillar / Flabegsäule


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20070830fue070w.jpg

Not much good news today, me hearties, but at least this:

Die von Ingo Klöcker zum Jubiläumsjahr gestaltete Flabeg-Spiegelglasstele in der Adenaueranlage bleibt auch während der Fürther Kirchweih stehen. Das hat OB Thomas Jung angesichts der Kosten von 10 000 Euro für die geplante Versetzung beschlossen. Die Kirchweihbuden müssen nun um das Kunstwerk herum gruppiert werden.

Thank goodness for that, though it’s not for the right reason. I had no idea this nice column commemorating the mirror industry in Fürth was only a temporary amusement.


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Posted in Fürth, photos
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Forthright and candid feedback / Das ist Unsinn


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There’s a translation help section in the forums of Toytown Germany, a site for English-speaking residents. Dafydd wanted to know a German equivalent for ‘I’m sorry but that’s simply bollocks’:

Back in Blighty, amongst colleagues that I know pretty well I would have no qualms about using the above phrase in a light hearted manner but with the clear message that I will not accept what they are saying and they need to go back and think again.

I do think the suggestion ‘Es tut mir leid, aber das ist Unsinn’ is more appropriate than ‘Gequirlte Scheiße’.


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Posted in translation
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class="post-2706 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-11-germanlang tag-11-germanlang">

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Head massager / Kopfkrauler


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Deutsche Sprache schwere Sprache:

Falls Sie der- oder diejenige sind, der die Kopfmassage erhalten möchte, ist das Wichtigste, sich jemanden zu suchen, der Dich krault!
Und vielleicht möchte er oder sie ja auch „kopfgekrault“ werden…
Sitzen Sie sich hierzu aufrecht mit dem Kinn nach unten gerichtet hin.
Der „Masseur“ setzt den Kopfkrauler an Ihrem Hinterkopf an und bewegt ihn (unter Drehen) bis zum Nacken und dann wieder zurück. Mit ein bisschen Übung lässt sich die Massage durch Variieren des Drucks, fließendere Bewegung und Einbeziehen des ganzen Kopfs intensivieren. Für jeden, der „kopfgekrault“ wird, ist es wichtig, die Augen zu schließen und sich zu entspannen.

You can get them to use as a freebie, with your business name on a plaque:

werbung.gif

Vorteile des Kopfkraulers:
• gut gegen Migräne etc.
• entspannende Wirkung bei Parkinson-Patienten
• überwiegend positives Feedback bei geistig behinderten Menschen
• gut bei Kindern vor den Schularbeiten oder vor dem Schlafengehen
• begeisterte Frisör- und Kosmetik-Kundinnen
• Ideal zur Entspannung z.B. auf Arbeit bei Streß
• Anwendung als ergänzende Elemente zu herkömmlichen Massagen
• Ideal zum Verschenken, Partygag, Werbegeschenk etc.

Perhaps I should add that I am not thinking of getting one.


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Posted in Germanlang
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class="post-2705 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-16-animals category-19-eu tag-16-animals tag-19-eu">

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Pied piper of Hamelin / Rattenfänger in Spanien


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The plague of the common vole (Microtus arvalis, Feldmaus) in Spain this year has led to desperate measures such as burning.

Such drastic measures are only permitted by European Union officials in exceptional circumstances and many observers are questioning why the EU has wasted so much time and money in dragging voles through the courts on previous occasions when burning them to death is so much quicker, cheaper and effective.

This precept could be applied to many court cases.

It’s a shame they are not the right food for the vultures that have now emigrated to the Netherlands after carcasses were no longer left out on the hills.

I’m not sure that driving the voles with ultrasound to where they can be burned or drowned is quite the same as the Pied Piper of Hamelin luring them away with music. But perhaps the playing of various instruments in Villotilla is?

According to my book on European mammals, the common vole is breeds faster than any other mammal. One vole lives for 4 – 5 months and can produce 500 descendants in that time. If the population is too dense, they attack each other and may even eat weaker ones. The situation improves when there is mass death, usually at the beginning of the cold weather.

Thanks to Trevor, who is taking the vole plague with equanimity.


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Posted in animals, EU
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Stumbling blocks / Stolpersteine


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For years, Günter Demnig, a Cologne artist, has been creating bronze stones embedded in the pavement outside the former homes of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
They are called Stolpersteine – stumbling blocks.

On September 14th the first stone was laid in Berlin for an African, Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed. So the Observer reports today, under the heading first memorial to black victims of Nazi genocide. Here’s a picture of one from Wikipedia (German, English):

634px-Berlin_Stolperstein_Caspary.jpg

It’s a sad story, but there’s more to it than the Observer spotted from Vienna.
Husen, as he was later called (a Germanized form of Hussein), was born in Dar-es-Salaam in German East Africa in 1904 and was an Askari – sort of East African Gurkhas. He fought for Germany in the First World War, although he was a child. He later made a living in Germany, was given a German passport (later taken away), married a German woman, had three children. Before and during the war he worked teaching Swahili at the Seminar für Orientalische Sprachen in Berlin and playing the ‘good African’ in German films.

From about 1936 on, the German Ministry of the Interior secretly had policemen taught Swahili, to be ready to take back the former German colonies. Husen taught these policeman from 1937, in great secrecy.

He was arrested for miscegenation in 1941 and died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

You can order handcarved British East Africa Askari soldiers here.

askari-f.jpg

Here, from a page about foreign language assistants at the Oriental Languages school in Berlin, an earlier Swahili teacher from Africa encounters German bureaucracy for the first time:

An einem anderen Tag standen wir auf und gingen, bis wir an einen Platz kamen, und an diesem Platz waren viele Menschen, und ich fragte: Was sind das für Menschen? Und man sagte mir: Diese Leute sind deshalb hingesetzt, wenn jemand geboren wird oder stirbt, oder wenn ein Fremder kommt, so ist ihr Geschäft (solcher Leute sind siebentausend): wenn ein Fremder kommt, so fragen sie ihn: Wann bist du geboren, an welchem Tage oder Monat, aus welchem Lande kommst du, und was ist dein Geschäft. Und dann musst du alles sagen. Und wenn du sagst: Ich habe keine Beschäftigung, dann wirst du sogleich auf die Reise gebracht werden; und wenn du nicht weißt, an welchem Tag du geboren bist, so wirst du sogleich auf die Reise gebracht werden. Das ist die Nachricht von diesen Leuten, die dort sind. Und wir gingen heraus und gingen nach Hause.“

(Thanks to Trevor)


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Posted in Germany
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class="post-2703 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-1-law category-10-translation tag-1-law tag-10-translation tag-2-weblogs">

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Translating general terms of business / AGB Übersetzen


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An interesting entry in the German law blog Obiter Dictum (a famous old German Latinism) on German lawyers translating general terms of business into German, and the weaknesses of the dictionaries: AGB from Germany.

Klagt der ausländische Vertragspartner dagegen in Deutschland, wird es auf die Übersetzung kaum ankommen, da bekanntlich die Gerichtssprache (wenn nicht sorbisch) deutsch ist und die Version in der fremden Sprache zu bloßen Informationszwecken ohne verbindlichen Inhalt deklariert ist.
Trotzdem möchte ein ausländischer Geschäftspartner natürlich wissen, welchen Regeln er sich unterwerfen soll. Deshalb werden viele AGBs ins Englische übersetzt – und um dem Handelspartner in den USA, in China oder Indien zu demonstrieren, mit welch deutscher Gründlichkeit hierzulande gearbeitet wird. Und weil manchmal das Geld (oder die Einsicht der Geschäftsleitung in die Schwierigkeit der Materie) fehlt, übersetzt nicht ein vereidigter Übersetzer, der sein Handwerk gelernt hat, sondern die eigene Rechtsabteilung, das Sekretariat oder – im schlimmsten Fall – der Praktikant. Das bißchen Vertrags- und Gewährleistungsrecht wird es in Brüssel, Baku oder Bogotá schließlich auch geben.

This blog will shortly be closing for a couple of weeks, so just a few brief remarks.

I like the thought of the certified translator knowing his or her stuff. Say no more.

Of course, a translator may not practise law. A lot of adaptation to other legal systems amounts to that, and presumably the lawyer may attempt it.

I normally translate contracts where the German courts have jurisdiction and the German-language version takes precedence. I would therefore think that ‘rescission’ or ‘withdrawal’ would not be such a problem if the clause in question becomes relevant.

There is some discussion of the difficulty of translating Nacherfüllung, Unternehmer or Niederlassung.

Oder er rätselt darüber, wie man ein dem common law in dieser Form nicht bekanntes Institut wie die Nacherfüllung so in Worte faßt, daß der Anwalt der Gegenseite sich nicht den Bauch vor Lachen hält oder das übersetzte Papier entnervt in den Papierkorb wirft. Die von deutscher Seite vorgeschlagene Übersetzung supplementary performance für die Nacherfüllung wird doch nicht tatsächlich identisch sein mit der ganz anderen Formulierung des Uniform Commercial Code, der ein Right to Cure a Breach of Contract kennt?

I would think Nacherfüllung is law in the EU and is called cure, which conveniently matches the US term. I don’t mind supplementary performance, though – I’ve got used to it.


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Posted in law, translation
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What, me worry? / Alfred E. Neuman


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I remember Mad Magazine – it looks as if it is still running – and Alfred E. Neuman.

Since his debut in Mad, Neuman’s likeness, distinguished by jug ears, a missing front tooth, and one eye disquietingly lower than the other, has graced the cover of all but a handful of the magazine’s 450+ issues. His face does not translate well to profile, and thus he has almost always been shown in full frontal view or in silhouette.

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Why does his face keep passing through my mind now?

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Posted in Germany
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Buses and coaches / Busse


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Large numbers of trains and buses are gathered in Fürth for a railway festival this weekend. Some of the buses are on the local routes too. The highlight was the christening of an ICE train with the name Fürth, which is ironic as they no longer condescend to stop here. Here is a Düsseldorf bus and some other impressions.

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Posted in Fürth, photos
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class="post-2700 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-1-law">

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Dear postman / Liebe(r) BriefträgerIn


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Well, I couldn’t see the slot for letters either. Doesn’t look very friendly to me.


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