Year-end notes

This blog is still alive, despite appearances.

At the moment I am aspiring to downsize, and I am looking through masses of old papers that I either throw away, keep or scan and save (the tidier way to forget about them). Unfortunately I really need to look at everything to make sure I don’t overlook something important.

So here is the beginning of a miscellany:

  1. This typewritten notice was in a folder marked ‘Personal’.

Sehr geehrter Kraftfahrer,

Sie parken o h n e B e r e c h t i g u n g auf einem PRIVATPARKPLATZ.

Wir teilen Ihnen mit, daß wir beim nächsten Verstoß den Halter des Fahrzeuges wegen HAUSFRIEDENSBRUCH bei der Staatsanwaltschaft anzeigen werden und weiterhin UNTERLASSUNGSKLAGE beim Amtsgericht Nürnberg wegen vorsätzlicher EIGENTUMSSTÖRUNG erheben werden.


i.A. (signature)
für den Eigentümer

Nürnberg, den 9.9.88

Goodness, I thought to myself, this German behaviour would shock some of the residents of Cranham and Upminster who are always discussing parking tickets on Facebook.

But then I remembered: I went with students to watch a trial at the Landgericht in Nuremberg (that’s the building where the war crimes trials took place) and one of them could only find a parking place a bit outside the others. He saw no signs indicating parking was forbidden, but when he went back to his car he found this notice on it. I think it was only the next day that he went to complain at the court and explain how careful he’d been. It turned out that there was a running gag between public prosecutors and lawyers and the former had thought my student was a lawyer. As soon as they realized their mistake, the ticket was withdrawn.

2. An old ad for accounting software called Account-Ability. Picture of Reagan, as a puppet. US heading: ‘With Account-Ability anyone can do your accounts.’ German heading: ‘Wir wissen nicht, was dieser freundliche Politiker empfiehlt…’

Machine Translation and legal texts

Fabio Said has a good summary of the BDÜ conference last week – which I did not attend. – with an emphasis on the presentations dealing with legal translation.

Patrik Mustu, he reports, presented on English-to-German machine translation of legal texts, giving examples of places where DeepL was not precise enough. On the screen behind Mustu one can see the parties hereto rendered in various ways, for example die Parteien hierzu, and the best solution, die Vertragsparteien, which DeepL presumably did not deliver.

Translators are increasingly using DeepL – it’s possible to use the Pro version, which means your private texts are not imported by DeepL – but they need post-editing. This is all a bit outside my current experience but needs keeping an eye on.

In the old days, when MT was rule-based and not statistical, it was recommended to use an MT program in-house and adapt it to one’s texts. Can this be done now with problem terms mentioned (damages, equity, quantum meruit)? Just wondering.