The Journal of Specialised Translation

There is a new issue of The Journal of Specialised Translation out (link to full table of contents).

Individual items can be accessed in HTML or as PDFs.

I was interested in Marian Flanagan: Cause for concern? Attitudes towards translation crowdsourcing in professional translators’ blogs. Here is the abstract:

This paper seeks to identify professional translators’ attitudes towards the practice of translation crowdsourcing. The data consist of 48 professional translator blogs. A thematic analysis of their blog posts highlights three main findings: translation crowdsourcing can enhance visibility of the translation profession, but fails to enhance visibility of the professional translator; ethical concerns are raised regarding translator participation in non-profit translation crowdsourcing, and the shifting of responsibility from the professional to the non-professional translator; professional translators do not openly discuss their motives for differentiating between the various non-profit initiatives, and while there is much discussion on translation crowdsourcing for humanitarian causes, little or no attention is paid to free and open source software projects.

The list of blogs at the end indicates that many did not discuss crowdsourcing at all, whereas others had several entries on it – not surprising in view of the variety of approaches in translators’ blogs.

There is some discussion (I’ve only skimmed the article) of the ethics of translation crowdsourcing, whether the translation is for a for-profit organization like LinkedIn or for a non-profit organization, where there appears to be a confict between its involvement in projects that could benefit others financially, while hiring professional translators who work for free. What do translators think about this? And are non-professionals taking responsibility for the translations, taking it out of the hands of translators?

I’ve only skimmed the article though. I am wondering about the status of Translators without Borders – I think Médecins sans frontières actually pays its doctors, whereas I assume TwB doesn’t pay translators, but it is getting a lot of free advertising – who supervises its finances, which must be considerable? This is not dealt with specifically in the article.

There is also a review by Łucja Biel of the University of Warsaw of a book on legal lexicography:
Mac Aodha, Máirtín (ed.) (2014). Legal Lexicography. A Comparative Perspective. Law, Language and Communication (series editors Anne Wagner and Vijay Kumar Bhatia). Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 339, £75.00. ISBN: 978-1-4094-5441-0.

I may report on this myself depending on time and energy. Łucja Biel’s own book:
Lost in the Eurofog: The Textual Fit of Translated Law (2014) is also reviewed and sounds interesting.

The first public corpus of alcoholized German speech

The first public corpus of alcoholized German speech appears to be a product of the Institut für Phonetik und Sprachverarbeitung/ Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing at Munich University.

There’s more information here: Speech of Intoxicated Speakers.

Professor Jonathan Harrington has published widely, including the following:

Harrington, J. (2006). An acoustic analysis of ‘happy-tensing’ in the Queen’s Christmas broadcasts,
Journal of Phonetics. 34 439–457.
Harrington, J., Palethorpe, S., and Watson, C. (2000). Does the Queen speak the Queen’s English?
Nature, 408, 927-928.

Thanks as usual to the organ grinder.

Votes for Life Bill petition for UK citizens living abroad

The Votes for Life Bill is to allow UK citizens living outside the UK to vote in parliamentary and EU elections, even if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years. The government currently intends that even if this bill is passed before the EU referendum, it should not apply to that referendum.

There is a petition for UK citizens to sign if they want to be able to vote in the referendum. Here is the link:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/111271

The petition must have been started in October as it ends in April. Apparently there are about 2 million UK citizens living abroad, but some of them have been abroad for less than 15 years so they are entitled to vote here.

Some sources: Votes for Expat Brits blog
a BBC Radio 4 podcast: Carolyn Quinn explores the practical process by which Britain would exit the EU if UK voters opt to leave, and looks at the experience of Greenland, which quit the EEC in 1985.

Volkswagen CEO speaks English

It seems that Matthias Müller was speaking in acoustically confusing surroundings at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit:

Frankly spoken, it was a technical problem. We made a default, we had a … not the right interpretation of the American law. And we had some targets for our technical engineers, and they solved this problem and reached targets with some software solutions which haven’t been compatible to the American law. That is the thing. And the other question you mentioned — it was an ethical problem? I cannot understand why you say that.

(I have the impression that the word ‘default’ is popular with Germans speaking bad English). Colleagues wonder why he was not accompanied by an interpreter. The interview can be heard here. Müller was allowed a ‘do-over’ later:

Mueller: I have to apologize for yesterday evening because the situation was a little bit difficult for me to handle in front of all these colleagues of yours and everybody shouting. OK. Thank you very much for coming again and giving me the opportunity to say some words.

NPR: When we talked yesterday, the key line seemed to be that this was a technical error. Which sounds to us in English, like, “Oops.” When it wasn’t an oops. It was more than a technical error. It seemed to be intentional.

Mueller: Yeah, the situation is, first of all we fully accept the violation. There is no doubt about it. Second, we have to apologize on behalf of Volkswagen for that situation we have created in front of customers, in front of dealers and, of course, to the authorities. …

I don’t quite understand what Müller means by ‘I cannot understand whether you say that'(corrected in this second transcript to ‘why you say that’).

Details of the lawsuit against Volkswagen here.

LATER NOTE: Richard Schneider reports that Müller intends always to use an interpreter in future appearances in the USA. He apparently understood ‘ethical’ as ‘technical’ in the above story.

David Bowie as a paralegal

It’s been reported that David Bowie used to work as a paralegal at Legastat, the legal copying service in Carey Street.

Legastat

From the Jack of Kent blog:

Of course, a co-worker will have then dismissed Bowie’s dream with “there is no future in dressing funny”.

And outside, a judge and barrister would walk past…

I knew Legastat specialized in big photocopies – some old legal documents are bigger than foolscap – but they obviously do more. They describe their work as ‘paralegal services’, and they also do digital archiving:

If you don’t have the time and resources to prepare your bundles or hire paralegals in-house we can help.

Use our paralegal and document review services for:

ordering documents chronologically
creating disclosure lists and indexes
paginating and cross referencing
first stage privilege review

That just leaves the question of what exactly a paralegal is, in the UK. I thought of it as a broad term covering people who help lawyers in their work but are not fully qualified in any particular way. But actually there are qualifications. In fact the situation of paralegals seems to be in the process of changing. When I trained in a firm of solicitors in the late 1970s, the employees were mainly solicitors and articled clerks, legal executives and trainee legal executives and legal secretaries. There were ‘boys’ of a range of ages delivering and sorting post and files too. But nowadays the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, CILEx, does give paralegals some training:

What is a paralegal?

A member of staff who has completed some legal training, but is not qualified as a solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive, is usually referred to as a paralegal. The term applies to any member of staff progressing files under supervision – from legal secretaries who have gained the necessary knowledge to carry out specific practical tasks, to law graduates who progress a heavy caseload of files from start to finish.

Paralegals are very commonly employed in the fields of residential conveyancing, personal injury or debt recovery where roles might be advertised as ‘Conveyancing Assistant’, ‘Claims Handler’ or ‘Litigation Assistant’ respectively. A paralegal might be known as a ‘Legal Assistant’ in family or employment law departments.

As the role of the paralegal varies greatly between organisation and different areas of legal practice, so do our courses. Courses start at Level 2 (GCSE-level) training for legal secretaries who wish to move into paralegal work and have not studied for a long time, through to Level 6 (honours-degree level) courses for law graduates to acquire high-level legal practice skills.

There is also an Institute of Paralegals and a National Association of Licensed Paralegals. The Wikipedia article on Paralegal also has a UK section.

Kater Verlag subscription for online dictionaries

Kater Verlag is selling an online dictionary subscription covering all the dictionaries using Unilex software.

Unter folgendem Link finden Sie das gesamte Angebot der rund 50 Abonnement-Wörterbücher in den Sprachen Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, Italienisch, Spanisch, Portugiesisch, Niederländisch und andere:
http://www.kater-verlag.de/Abonnement-Woerterbuecher/
Aus diesem Angebot können Sie Ihre gesuchten Wörterbücher sprachenweise oder themenweise heraus filtern.

Die Inhalte der Online-Wörterbücher sind mit denen der angebotenen Download-Wörterbüchern identisch, sind aber mit denselben nicht kompatibel.

Die Abo-Lösung stellt eine andere Form der Darreichung dar. Zu jedem Wörterbuch gibt einen Kater-Scan (=Blick in das Wörterbuch).
Folgende Informationsseite bietet eine umfassende Übersicht über das neue Angebot:
http://www.kater-verlag.de/info/Online-Zugang–IDS.html

Keine Rose ohne Dornen: beim Erstabonnement wird eine Hostinggebühr von netto 2€ Euro / Monat zu den Abo-Kosten addiert.

I’m just ffering this as information to research further. There is a filter on the left of the page, where if you choose DE and EN you finish up with all dictionaries with those languages in them, including Potonnier, which is DE-FR, for example (although I find Potonnier interesting). The Dietl I have on CD is not there – perhaps they are waiting for the new one. I haven’t bothered to work out what the system costs and if it varies according to how many dictionaries you use.

I do use online dictionaries offered to BDÜ members sometimes, mainly for technological terminology.

The Bluebook and copyright

In ‘Bluebook’ Critics Incite Copyright Clash , The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that some ‘legal activists’ are planning to post online what they call a simpler, free alternative. This may or may not be called Baby Blue.

The activists (Carl Malamud and Christopher Jon Sprigman) have received a letter from the Harvard Law Review’s lawyers claiming copyright infringement if they use a title with ‘blue’ in it. But the copyright objections will apparently extend to the work itself.

The book is expected to be published in early 2016 in an editable form.

Messrs. Malamud and Sprigman’s effort could resonate with some in the legal community. The Bluebook has its critics, including Judge Richard Posner, who wrote an entire law journal essay** arguing that the 511-page manual exemplifies “hypertrophy,” a word “used mainly to denote a class of diseases in which an organ grows to an abnormal size.”

** Richard A. Posner, The Bluebook Blues (reviewing Harvard Law Review Association, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed., 2010)),” 120 Yale Law Journal 852 (2011). (PDF)

A quote from the Posner essay:

Many years ago I wrote a review of The Bluebook, then in its sixteenth edition. My review was naively entitled “Goodbye to the Bluebook.” The Bluebook was then a grotesque 255 pages long. It is now in its nineteenth
edition-which is 511 pages long.
I made a number of specific criticisms of The Bluebook in that piece, and I will not repeat them. I don’t believe that any of them have been heeded, but I am not certain, because, needless to say, I have not read the nineteenth edition. I have dipped into it, much as one might dip one’s toes in a pail of freezing water. I am put in mind of Mr. Kurtz’s dying words in Heart of Darkness – “The horror! The horror!” -and am tempted to end there.