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:

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.


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:
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:–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.

Et seq. etc. pp.

Warning: this post is both too long and not exhaustive!

Query in a translators’ mailing list: is it OK to translate German ‘ff.’ as ‘et seq.’?

I would say: probably leave ff., which is less stuffy, but if it’s in a list of statute sections, you can use et seq.

In my usage, one might quote a statute writing ‘Article 31 et seq.’, this being a specifically legal context. But in quoting pages from a book, even a law book, the choice would be ‘pp. 60 ff.’

Here’s a Google search of the UK statute law database:
“et seq”
It gets 237 ghits.
This at least shows that the term is used in the UK (one colleague thought it might be mainly US).

Notes on this:

ff. in German stands for folgende.
ff. in English stands for and the following.
Germans often think ‘ff.’ is a Germanism and the translator doesn’t know what they are doing.

et seq. stands for et sequens
et seqq. seems sometimes to be used in US English for et sequentes (no ghits at UK statute database)

There are some variations here depending on what style guide you use.
You may omit the full stop (period) consistently.
For example, is there a leading space before ff.? Always, in my opinion, but the Chicago Style Manual says never, and so does Judith Butcher, and this is repeated by some sources on the Web.
‘Et seq.’ is used in strictly legal texts but is getting a bit old-fashioned.

The following is a collection of random remarks:

If you translate a lot of bibliographies, you will have to decide how to write page references in English.
DE S. 41 f. EN pp. 41 f. / pp. 41-42 / 41-42
DE S. 41 ff. EN pp. 41 ff. / 41 ff.
all with or without leading space or full stop or ‘p.’ or ‘pp.’

In citing statutes, whether using ff. or et seq., you can decide what to do with the German §§
US English uses § for section. If German uses two §§, do you use singular or plural in English?
DE §§ 3-4 Br EN section 3 – 4 / sections 3 – 4 US EN § 3 – 4 /§§ 3 – 4
Both are encountered.

What style guides are there, especially for legal English?

For British usage, OSCOLA (the Oxford Standard for Citation Of Legal Authorities) is the way to go. The website also has a section on the 2006 materials on citing international law (not foreign law), which was not dealt with in the 2012 edition. You can download the whole 2012 and 2006 editions, or order the book in spiral binding – may even be available second-hand. However, OSCOLA does not answer the current questions!

Past entries on guides Style guides and law review, The Times Online Style Guide now no longer online but a Google search leads to the wayback machine (, and more.

General English style guides vary in their approach. For the UK, New Hart’s Rules (OUP) and the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors are commonly used. New Hart’s Rules contains a section on Law and legal references that is welcome, but does not deal with et seq. Another useful reference is Copy Editing by Judith Butcher (who died this year). I have not got the latest edition. She writes:

f., ff., et seq.: ‘pp. 95f.’ means p. 95 and the following page; ‘pp. 95 ff.’ or ‘pp. 95 et seq.’ means p. 05 and an unspecified number of following pages; so do not make f. and ff. ‘consistent’. ff. is preferable to et seq., but a pair of page numbers is better. Remember that in all these cases one should use pp., not. p.

Et seq. is italicized here. Of course, translators can’t give a pair of page numbers if the original doesn’t, except in the case of ‘p. 95 f.’ where it must be ‘ pp. 95-96’.

I won’t have exhausted the UK resources, as a number of newspapers and journals have style guides. Nor have I had the MRA style guide since I wrote my thesis.

One US resource is The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. I think this varies from edition to edition; I have the seventeen
th. It merely prohibits the use of ‘et seq.’, preferring precise page numbers. Not much help to us translators. Then there is the ALWD Citation Manual. A Professional System of Citation, of which I have the second edition. This leads to the same result: if you look up et seq. in the index, it refers to a paragraph citing specific page numbers. Garner’s Dictionary of Usage says the same, althogh it adds, unhelpfully:

Hence the phrase et seq. (short for et sequentes = the following ones) should be used sparingly if at all. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that et seq. serves also as the abbreviation for the singular et sequens (= and the following one), though presumably few users of the phrase know that.

Black’s Law Dictionary adds nothing.

There is quite a useful discussion of the translator’s dilemma here on LEO.

Finally, there is an interesting New Zealand Law Style Guide online, worth looking at for ideas, and it has an accompanying blog.