Police blogger may not be anonymous/Englische Entscheidung zur Anonymität eines bloggenden Polizisten

High Court decision on the right to anonymity of a blogging police officer (relating to an application for an interim injunction). The blog – Nightjack – has been deleted by the authors.

The case is about whether a blogger (policeman or journalist) has the right to preserve his or her anonymity if someone finds out the blogger’s identity. It was Mr Justice Eady who made the decision in favour of privacy on Max Mosley.

What seems wrong to me is not so much the decision as the conduct of Patrick Foster, the journalist who outed the blogger. Charon QC links to two rather negative entries on him, which suggest he specializes in unmasking identities.

Neutral Citation Number: [2009] EWHC 1358 (QB)
Case No: HQ09X02293


Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
16 June 2009

B e f o r e :


– and –



Hugh Tomlinson QC (instructed by Olswang) for the Claimant
Antony White QC and Jonathan Barnes (instructed by Times Newspapers Ltd) for the Defendant
Hearing date: 4 June 2009

Mr Tomlinson submitted that the thousands of regular bloggers who communicate nowadays via the Internet, under a cloak of anonymity, would be horrified to think that the law would do nothing to protect their anonymity if someone carried out the necessary detective work and sought to unmask them. That may be true. I suspect that some would be very concerned and others less so. Be that as it may, Mr Tomlinson needs to demonstrate that there would be a legally enforceable right to maintain anonymity, in the absence of a genuine breach of confidence, by suppressing the fruits of detective work such as that carried out by Mr Foster.

It’s a problem for translation blogs too, of course. I don’t intend to attempt to unmask the Masked Translator – not that that blog goes out of its way to anonymously chastise real translation companies – but most translation blogs are cheery and positive, for good reason: potential clients might prefer that – and it’s refreshing to read something different. Then again, it would be unprofessional to publish traceable information about one’s translation work, except where and when that work is published.

The police blogger has been given a warning and will not be further punished:

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Constabulary said that Det Con Horton, who is understood to be an officer with the force’s Eastern and Pennine divisions, had been spoken to and received a written warning but would not be disciplined further “unless anything else was to come out”.

She added: “We have conducted a full internal investigation and the officer accepts that parts of his public commentary have fallen short of the standards of professional behaviour we expect of our police officers.”

Meanwhile, The Independent reports on the unmasking of a pro-life blogger whose blog about being pregnant with a terminally ill baby was invented.

LATER NOTE: See Head of Legal on NightJack: the Times should be ashamed

Article by the legal editor of The Times, Frances Gibb – with photo of the blogger, now permitted.

Article by Patrick Foster himself with details of blog entries that could be traced to real cases.

Blog entry from Pupillage and How to Get it.

Spreading Germanisms in the USA/Germanismen in den USA verbreiten

Chris Haller from Stuttgart has been in the USA for five years and on his website www.spreadgermanisms.com he is campaigning for an increase in Germanisms in the English language.

There are a number of German terms for which there are no useful English equivalents. Because of their usefulness and beauty, these terms called loan words have entered the English lexicon. While there are large amounts of useful and plenty more ridiculous English loan words in the German language, barely any made it the other way over the big pont.

When Chris Haller moved to the United States in 2004, he knew the obvious Kindergarten and Bratwurst and over the years discovered lesser known Germanisms like Kitsch, Doppelgänger or Schmutz. If only folks in the US would learn about them, he thought, and what about all the other fun German words? The ones daisy-chaining multiple Nouns to build fun words like Fussballgott?

I’m not sure what the purpose of this is: whether to take revenge on the English language for the excess of anglicisms in German, or whether to fill in these putative gaps in our ability to express things.

I’m separated from my OED at the moment or I would show that some of these actually started in British English, i.e. this side of ‘the big pond’.

Via Nürnberger Nachrichten.

Experten kratzen sich angesichts dieses Trends zu Germanismen den Kopf. Auch Stefan Brunner, Leiter der Sprachabteilung des Goethe-Instituts in Washington, hat keine Erklärung für das Phänomen gefunden. Ein Grund könnte in der Herkunft mancher US-Bürger liegen. Immerhin behaupten 17 Prozent von ihnen – also rund 50 Millionen -, deutsche Vorfahren zu haben. Und Deutsch rangiert nach Spanisch und Französisch an dritter Stelle der Popularitätsskala.

LATER NOTE: The Bremer Sprachblog has taken up this very article (Nürnberger Nachrichten) and had great fun with it.


Rory MacLean (who grew up in Canada) writes in a Goethe Institut weblog, Meet the Germans – his Rory’s Berlin-Blog is apparently only part of it -, in which he currently sits on the fence about sausages in Germany and Britain, with many quotes.

I can understand people enthusing about Nuremberg Bratwürste (found the WPA password here), although I often wonder how they get by without rusk to carry the flavour in the fat, and I find Nürnberger and Fränkische – a larger version – can be too salty to be versatile. But calling Currywurst glorious seems to me inappropriate as a comparison.

Translation Technology course/Terminologiekurs

I am away from the office and I can’t get my laptop on the internet because some people have forgotten their WPA password. Hence slow or non-existent blogging.

On Saturday June 6, I went to a one-day course on term extraction and terminology management at Imperial College. It was actually a well-paced introduction to two programs, Lexterm (which is free) and Lingo (which is cheap).

Ah – Lexterm – a Catalan program! and Lingo by Lexicool.

I must say that looking at the results of term extraction of bilingual files immediately reminded me of Linguee, which is obviously the same technology at work, hence the occasional bolded words.

There were thick handouts with deliberately redundant information. I was happy with what I learned, although I would like to meet someone else who has ideas about recording legal vocabulary in a terminology program. It would be easy enough to disambiguate in a monolingual database, but not in a bilingual one. Perhaps one should have a German database, an English database, maybe even more to distinguish England and Wales, the USA, Germany, Austria, Switzerland etc., and then a messy and unscholarly bilingual database cross-referencing it. I mean, it’s all very well to say you need one entry for bank meaning a financial institution and another one for bank meaning a river bank, but that assumes they have equivalents in the other language.

I was able to complete the day with a visit to the British Film Institute to see Ukulelescope with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Eurozone translations

Via the pt translators’ list at Yahoogroups, Eurozone Translations tell it like it is.

They refer those who require less to their subsidiaries, Rumpelstiltskin Translations and Vindaloo Translations.

Eurozone Translations bases its success on a very simple premise:
We know more about translating than the customer does.

We don’t tell our customers how to make their widgets and we’ll be damned if we’ll let our customers tell us how to translate.

We don’t hesitate to reject documents that don’t meet normal standards of coherence, grammar and common sense. If the source document is crap, why should we break our necks to turn out something better than the original? If you want that type of work, please contact our subsidiary, Rumpelstiltskin Translations.

But Eurozone Translations are in the USA, I suspect, and don’t actually exist as a translation company. Are they just trying to run Indian agencies down? Whois didn’t help much.

I’m not sure what good this site does anybody except to create cheap laughs about translators and increase the justified suspicion that an awful lot of them are no good.

Translators at Federal Court of Justice/Uebersetzer beim BGH

On 18 June, five lawsuits by literary translators relating to appropriate payment will be heard by the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof).

beck-blog reports:

Die Honorare für Literaturübersetzer sind seit Jahrzehnten meist katastrophal: Bei der letzten, nicht repräsentativen Honorarumfrage ergab sich ein Durchschnittshonorar je Manuskript-Normseite mit 30 Zeilen zu maximal 60 Anschlägen (die also keineswegs mit l 800 Zeichen gleichzusetzen ist) in Höhe von 17,83 Euro; allerdings sind für „einfache” Übersetzungen Normseitenhonorare von unter 10 Euro im Taschenbuch keine Seltenheit. Das Paradox bei den Seitenhonoraren ist, dass Qualität „bestraft” wird: Je mehr Aufwand der Übersetzer betreibt, desto weniger zahlt sich die Arbeit für ihn aus.

The concept of ‘appropriate/adequate compensation’ has been contained in the German Copyright Act since 2002. The translators have not seen an improvement of their situation. The June 18 decision will be interesting.

For further information: http://verguetungsstreit.literaturuebersetzer.de/

Lidl Germany Britische Spezialitäten/British specialities at German Lidl

From Thursday June 4th, Lidl are offering what they call British specialities. You can see them at the website now, but only for a week or so. You may have to enter a postcode – 90762 works!

Yes, I too was surprised to read that British cooking had a higher reputation than French in the past. (In the Dark Ages?)

Here’s another surprise:

Fish and chips, individual pieces, in batter, with extra thick crunchy chips. But Alaska-Seelachsfiletstücke! I spend a lot of my time in Germany avoiding Seelachs. It’s probably coley, which we used to feed to the cats. Pollachius virens. Pollock sounds better, but still, I’ve never encountered that at a British fish and chip shop (cod, skate, rock eel/rock salmon, plaice, haddock).

Those are the first two of four pages. The others have mint sauce, mustard, brown sauce (Englische Würzsauce), caramel shortcakes, marmalade, jam, shortbread, salt and vinegar stick, Ribena substitute, and hand cooked chips (‘Our Lidl quality UK brand Hatherwood’ couldn’t manage to say ‘crisps’, so a bag of these, with a picture of Tower Bridge and some tartan on it, could be a curiosity.

Do they have a British week at Lidl in the Netherlands, commenters?