Estate agents’ photos

Here’s a book that hasn’t yet been published, but the examples look promising:

Terrible Estate Agent Photos by Andy Donaldson.

Some nice captions too:

‘After days of waiting this agent’s patience is finally rewarded. Weak with thirst, a pair of wild mattresses appear at the watering hole.’

I wouldn’t have seen they were mattresses on a quick look.

There is also a blog called Terrible real estate agent photographs
. It is apparently the predecessor of the book.

Links, blogroll

This site is only two months old on WordPress, and I certainly intend to add more pages with links to useful material.

At the moment I’ve added a page with a partial blogroll, but it’s a work in progress and the work I put in to describe the blogs and give their language is not visible.

The link is in the right sidebar near the top.

‘Legal Language’, Economist article revisited

In November 2012 I referred to a new Economist article encouraging lawyers to translate (Economist on translation and the law). The article was recommending translation as a good career prospect for underworked lawyers. There was particular reference to TransPerfect.

At that time I don’t think there were any comments on the article, but there are twenty-one now. The article and my blog post were on November 10, and the comments – largely by translators – started on November 14. An interesting discussion.

Here’s part of a comment by NYCLanguageLawyer:

I am also a US qualified lawyer working in document review in Spanish and Portuguese. I have been steadily employeed in these temporary projects for quite some time, but inoalls is correct, these projects do not lead to permanent employment. I also agree that these law firms these law firms that hire people like us do not realize the full benefit of having someone who is not only fluent in the language, but able to act as a liasion between them and their foreign clients. I recently worked on a review in which the documents captured were clearly not what the firm had been looking for. I asked to see a list of the search terms and it was no wonder they got the result they did, they simply translated English legal terms into Portuguese, not taking into account the variations in the legal systems. I mentioned this to the supervising attornesy and gave them a list of more specialized terms to search for. This is an example of how firms are not making an investment in associates who bring languages to the table.

Books for translators

The Danish study I discussed in the last post mentioned one book written by translators: Found in Translation. How Language Shapes our Lives and Transforms the World (Kelly & Zetzsche 2012). The purpose of that book is to inform non-translators about the importance of translation and interpreting.

A book I have mentioned (with extracts) in the past is The Prosperous Translator, by Eugene Seidel and Chris Durban. That would be very useful for people starting out as translators.

Another recent book worth considering is 101 Things a Translator Needs to Know, by the WLF Think Tank. Here’s the book’s website, where you can find all about the book and the co-authors.

WLF Think Tank is an ad hoc organisation, a virtual body of experienced practising translators that has met as the WordLink Forum at frequent intervals since 1995 to discuss the state of the profession. Its members include keynote speakers at translation conferences, teachers of translation and prominent exponents of the profession on three continents.

On the book:

101 Things a Translator Needs to Know is a book for beginners.
It’s also a book for seasoned professionals, students and teachers.
For freelancers and staff translators.
For amateurs and experts, generalists and super-specialists – be they certified and sworn, recognised, authorised or simply tantalised by translation’s potential for a varied and enriching career.
It’s a compilation of insights from a broad spectrum of successful translation professionals with some 500 years of collective experience in fields ranging from highly technical to literary. No gripes, no grouses, just a selection of insights into what translation involves and practical tips about how a professional translator needs to think, work and act when dealing with clients and colleagues.

Although this isn’t a book by bloggers, it would probably be unthinkable without the internet. Surely some of the contributors have met each other at conferences over the years, but they and others are familiar to me from translators’ mailing lists, which are good sources of information about the profession (and were probably even better sources when they were a new idea).

Translator stars and heroes: a Danish study of translators’ weblogs

Helle V. Dam has written an article on translators’ weblogs. It appeared in a collection in 2013 – the whole 20-page article can be found as a PDF online: The Translator Approach in Translation Studies – reflections based on a study of translators’ weblogs. . It’s part of a number of research projects in translation studies that are focused on the translator and possibly to be called ‘translator studies’.

I saw it on Richard Schneider’s blog at Selbstbeweihräucherung oder PR für die Übersetzerbranche? (German article with several extracts from the article, in English).

The study is based on the front pages of 20 weblogs on 8 October 2012, including the translators’ self-presentations where present.

The 20 weblogs studied are ‘drawn from the blog trekker page of the American Translators Association’ on 8 October 2012. Here is the blog trekker page at the date of this post. There are well over 100 blogs there – 168 on the day it was consulted for the study (not all translators’ blogs though – but why is Fucked Translation missing?), so the selection is not random. There’s quite an emphasis on self-promotion in the blogs, so one wonders whether the selection was made after the focus was chosen. Perhaps so. But since Transblawg, one of the first translation blogs, started in 2003 there has been a huge blooming of the translator weblog worlds, and self-promotion and promotion of other translators is certainly a feature that has often struck me. Here’s something on the choice of bloggers:

In the selection of respondents, every effort was made to ensure a sample of translators with a strong professional profile, thus presumably at the high end of the translatorstatus continuum.

Statements like the following seem based on the particular selection:

Translators blog, they blog extensively and enthusiastically, and as we shall see, they quite learly blog for empowerment. They also blog to boost their businesses (cf. Dam in progress), but the focus and aim of the present study is to investigate what blogging translators say to enhance their own and their profession’s status. … Applied to the present study, I assume that blogging translators contribute to changing (or perpetuating) existing perceptions of themselves and their profession – including their occupational status – by talking or writing about these issues in a certain way.

I wonder how far translator blogs can change the perceptions of translation – it depends on who reads the blogs.

There are paragraphs on income and pay rates, skills and expertise, and visibility/fame:

The translators in the sample, however, are clearly networkers and use their blogs to create an authentic community of blogging translators. They link to each other’s blogs, they comment on each other’s blog posts, they write guest posts on each other’s blogs, they share jokes, experiences and knowledge, and they also refer very explicitly to each other in their blog posts …

I won’t summarize the whole thing but I was particularly interested in the topic of self-promotion and the way translators create ‘translator heroes’.

The bloggers in the sample also mention and promote translators outside the blog community.
For example, in a report from an ATA conference, one blog author refers to a non-blogging translator as follows: “star translator and international speaker Chris Durban” (15, 3). This leads us to a different, but related, feature of the blogs: the construction of professional ‘stars’. … Not only do they emphasize the star qualities of some translators, such as the “star translator” Chris Durban in the above quote, they also cite interviews with translators whom they consider important and write glowing, obituary-like blog posts in which fellow translators are raised to stardom.

Dam mentions what is known as BIRGing (basking in reflected glory).

It does tend to irritate me that there are certain people and books that one feels a certain community of translators regards as sacrosanct so that criticism of them would appear petty and peevish. I’m not sure how far this kind of thing originates in American blogs – but not all the blogs in the sample are U.S. ones.

And then there are those blogs or sites that appear from nowhere offering a prize for the best language blog and inviting everyone to vote in order to increase their own traffic by buttering up translation bloggers.

The wider societal impact of translation is also often commented on. For example, several of the translators-cum-bloggers devote entire blog posts to describing a recently published book with the suggestive title Found in Translation. How Language Shapes our Lives and Transforms the World (Kelly & Zetzsche 2012). As one blogger says:

“It’s absolutely delightful that we finally have a mainstream book about our profession that’s accessible and interesting to those who are not in the profession. Ultimately, as a profession, we want the general public to know that what we do matters, and this book will leave little doubt that what we do matters a great deal.” (11, 2)

There is a final caveat, along the lines of the oozlum bird:

A discipline that studies its own practitioners is, however, neither very common nor unproblematic. Law scholars, for example, do not study lawyers but stick to studying the law. The reasons are obvious. By studying the law, legal scholars increase the body of knowledge in their discipline and thus enable its practitioners, and their own students, to become increasingly skilled and knowledgeable. Should translation scholars not be doing the same, studying translation (including translation tools, the development of translation competence, etc.) rather than translators? Are translation scholars not letting down translation students and practitioners if they study translators rather than increase the existing knowledge about translation? As we have seen, translators suffer from a low-skill image even as it is; if translation scholars do not focus on increasing the knowledge base of translation, they may in fact do more harm than good to the profession.

As for myself, my blog is not part of a blogging network, but I admit to wishing to appear knowledgeable about legal translation. I started it in 2003 after I had stopped teaching, and my original idea was to include a lot of the information I’d collected as a teacher of law and legal translation in a more permanent form than in a mailing list, together with trivial information about my life in Fürth. At the time when I started blogging, other translators often had more diary-like forms. Blogs vary from the ones analysed here. For instance, Richard Schneider’s blog I regard as a source of translation news rather than a record of the blogger’s own translation life. Or Martin Crellin’s German blog, False Friends, Good and Bad Translation discusses translation problems and errors.

Finally, here are the blogs referenced and links to them:

About Translation, by Riccardo Schiaffino
Catherine Translates, by Catherine Jan (author now an in-house copywriter)
Financial Translation Blog, by Miguel I. Llorens (author died in September 2012 but blog still there)
Musings from an overworked translator, by Jill R. Sommer
Naked Translations, by Céline Graciet
On Language and Translation, by Barabara Jungwirth
Patenttranslator’s Blog, by Steve Vitek
Thoughts On Translation, by Corinne McKay
Translate This, by Michael Wahlster
Translating is an Art, by Percy Balemans
Translation Times, by Judy and Dagmar jenner
Translation Tribulations, by Kevin Lossner
Translationista, by Susan Bernofsky (note change of address)
The Translator’s Teacup, by Rose Newell
Fidus Interpres, by Fabio Said (I htink this one is dead – was very prolific and has gone into book form)
The Greener Word, by Abigail Dahlberg (I fear this is dead – I liked it as a subject-specific translation blog)
The Interpreter Diaries, by Michelle Hof
Mox’s Blog, by Alejandro Moreno-Romos
Say What? by Alexander C. Totz (Apparently dead – author has started two non-translation blogs)
Words to good effect, by Marian Dougan

Football – Lokalderby

On Monday, there was a match between FC Nürnberg and Greuther Fürth. Both are in the 2. Liga at the moment.

Lisa Neun, one of the earliest bloggers I remember, who blogs cartoons from Fürth, also belongs to a group of Fürth supporters in Erlangen. See the cartoon Warum ich Frankenderbys liebe.

The reason why Greuther Fürth’s symbol is a green cloverleaf has nothing to do with the Germans’ love of Irish pubs. The cloverleaf is a symbol found all over Fürth architecture – for reasons unknown – and green is the club’s colour.



Fürth won by 5 to 1 and the Nuremberg fans contributed some real fireworks.

Transius conference on law, translation and culture

Transius conference on law, translation and culture, in Geneva, 24-17 June 2015.

Transius is the Centre for Legal and Institutional Translation Studies at the University of Geneva. The only one of its members I’ve heard of (which means nothing, as they specialize in a variety of languages) is Suzanne Balansat-Aebi, who wrote a paper (2007) Probleme beim Übersetzen englischer Vertragstexte (PDF) which is rather good. I see she actually translates, which cannot be said of all those who write about the theory of legal translation. With these conferences, you have to be careful to distinguish between language in the EU (all languages of legislation regarded as originals, not translations; some legislation drafted by non-native non-lawyers), in Canada (lots of FR>EN translation using terminology of its own) and other areas of legal translation.

Here’s the lowdown on the 2015 conference from the above link:

The 2015 conference will combine keynote lectures, parallel paper presentations, a poster session and several thematic roundtables, so that all participants, from high-level experts to translation trainees, can benefit from the exchange of experiences. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

problems and methods of legal translation in professional settings
terminological and lexicographical issues in legal translation
legal translation competence and professional profiles
sociological and deontological issues in legal translation
the use of corpora and computer tools for legal translation
the role of translation in multilingual lawmaking, law application and adjudication
interdisciplinarity of legal and institutional translation
economic and financial translation in institutional settings
scientific and technical translation in institutional settings
quality assurance and management practices in institutional settings

Roundtables with speakers from various organisations will focus on the last four topics.

German foodie treats

Nine German treats you’ll want to eat right now

says The Local. Well, I think they could learn a thing or two about food photography here.

I don’t think they could find a Frankfurter Kranz so they had to bake one quickly (from a packet mix perhaps?). It is a traditional German cake, but I would have thought not so common now.

But no! They took the photo from Wikipedia!


The plum tray bake is maybe not quite in season yet?

Much better photos on delicious:days, albeit the English is weird:

Tell me, what is the very first thing you think of, when you see or hear the word “woodruff”? Probably the same I connect it with, a pretty nasty green color. For sure if you grew up in the 70s and 80s.

Hmm. That might be what I think when I hear the German word Waldmeister.

FIT Congress in Berlin

The FIT Congress, which I am not at, is going on in Berlin at the moment.

This means that a lot of tweeting is going on (hashtags #fitcongress or #FITcongress, I gather – I am only seeing what comes direct from people I follow).

Thus I gather that there is a marketing block in which Chris Durban is calling for action (picture).

This was preceded by a talk by Martina Wieser on using a blog for marketing purposes. Here is the weblog of Martina Wieser and Norma Keßler. Their blog is integrated into their website and has occasional posts, all aimed at a marketing effect (but what isn’t?).

My blogroll has gone and I have only begun to put together separate pages with useful links, I’m afraid.

SMALL RANT: Two of three things I received in the post were wrong. Instead of sending me the latest edition of Corinna Schlüter-Ellner’s Juristendeutsch, the BDÜ Fachverlag sent a book by Renate Dockhorn on Trados, of all things. On my complaint by email, they replied as follows:

Vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht.
Wir sind ab sofort bis zum 06.08.2014 auf dem FIT-Weltkongress 2014.
Ab Donnerstag, den 07.08. 2014 sind wir wieder wie gewohnt für Sie zu erreichen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Ihre BDÜ Weiterbildungs- und Fachverlags GmbH


Thank you very much for your email.
The office is not occupied until August 6th, 2014, as we are celebrating the FIT Worldcongress in Berlin.
We will be back in the office from August 7th, 2014.

Kind regards

I’m not holding my breath, but wondered how one might understand ‘The office is not occupied until August 6th’.

I also received a repayment of tax from HMRC, sent to my German address which was not relevant to the tax return. Since Deutsche Post does not understand foreign postal codes when forwarding abroad – it is incapable of putting a gap in the middle – , I am not very happy with this. The letter took a month to reach me.

Beck’sches Formularbuch Deutsch-Englisch

Beck’sches Formularbuch Zivil-, Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensrecht (Buch + CD-ROM) Deutsch-Englisch DE-EN

The third edition of this quite useful tome came out in 2014. It has a CD-ROM. I have the 2007 edition and I must admit I’ve scarcely used it, but it appears a lot better than some other such works.

If you find a contract or form that you need, you will also find a bilingual list of vocabulary and notes. The notes are on the German law. There is no discussion of the choice of English terminology, although I can see I would not always use the same. My copy is over 1100 pages long. It might be worth getting hold of a second-hand copy, as there won’t have been massive changes, will there?

This recommendation came with the Kater Verlag newsletter. There, you can click through to the Kater-Scan, which gives a better impression of the contents. But Beck-Verlag also offers details plus Inhaltsverzeichnis and Leseprobe online (Harte Patronatserklärung: Hard Letter of Comfort!)