Wherein hereinafter, hereinbefore and therethroughout are considered

I can’t pass by Trebots’ brief entry on The sad decline of hereinbefore. I have to say I have little use for hereinbefore, but quite a lot for hereinafter. I will counter his with another
Google chart which makes me wonder why aforementioned should be on the rise.

English Language & Usage Stack Exchange calls these pronominal adverbs and links to a list in wiktionary. I have not heard of therethroughout but remember the confusion caused to students when they mistook wherefor for wherefore.

On the same subject, it seems that not everyone regards whereby and wobei as false friends.

I used to use an exercise with students where they had to enter the right form of, for instance, hereof, thereof and whereof. They found it surprisingly difficult – surprising to me because German does exactly the same thing.

There’s some good stuff on this and many other aspects of legal English in Rupert Haigh’s book Legal English. There is a website for the book where there are some exercises, although I could not understand the structure of the one on these words. The website is for the fourth edition of the book, whereas I only have the third edition.

Welcome to the online resource bank to support the fourth edition of Rupert Haigh’s Legal English.

If you are a student you will find a bank of activities and exercises corresponding to the chapters in the book designed to give you additional practice opportunities in using Legal English in a range of scenarios. These will range from simple gap-fill exercises, to multiple choice questions, to written activities, to comprehension exercises based on video simulations of real-life legal situations. An automatic grading facility will help you assess your own progress and identify areas for improvement. You can also email your results to your class tutor if required.

In the video section, you can find four instructional videos, based on the book and recorded by the author, to illustrate concepts discussed in the book.

If you are a lecturer you will find a bank of customisable activities which can be used with small groups in seminars or tutorials to help practice their use of oral Legal English.

Matching exercises
Question 3
The extract below is from an Indian deed of partition. It contains various old-fashioned terms beginning with here-, there-, or where- (e.g. hereof, whereof, thereof, hereby, hereinafter etc), which are still commonly found in documents relating to land purchases. For each numbered gap in the extract, select the correct word from the choices below.

Lord Chancellor’s advice on language

From The Independent: Michael Gove instructing his civil servants on grammar

Mr Gove, who studied English at Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall, is notorious for his obsession with correct language. While secretary of state for education, he changed the curriculum so that schoolchildren studied more classical literature. “It’s slightly patronising,” said a Whitehall source. “It does feel like the sort of thing someone would do when they have too much time on their hands.”

It appears there are a lot of style guides for civil servants, most probably not available online, and for a minister to request this kind of thing is not unusual. Apparently William Hague requested all correspondence to be written in the Ariel font, except correspondence to himself, which was to be in Georgia. However (to start a sentence in a way he bans), The Independent is keeping an eye on Michael Gove. He was unpopular with teachers but does have more brain cells than the last Lord Chancellor. But how will he use them?

On the subject of civil servants’ language, here is a PDF on Mandarin English

You will recall that
No you won’t.
You will wish to be aware
No you won’t, it’s bad news I’m afraid.
You may wish to consider [doing this]
Do this or else!
You Should Be Aware
Even worse news – not my fault, honest.


I’ve been away for a week and not posted for a month, so while I gear myself up for more, here are a few things:

1. Der Berg kreißt und gebiert eine Maus: a translator had to render this in English and of course the equivalent The mountain has laboured and brought forth a mouse (from Horace: Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus) is even less used in English than the former in German. It depends on the context whether you might use it.
One suggestion was to look at this discussion at English Language & Usage Stack Exchange (‘a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts’). The discussion is interesting. The questioner thinks the expression is Japanese. ‘Without much to show for it’ might work; I have my doubts about ‘I tried to shit but only farted’.

2. It’s probably just as well that I haven’t got time to read this: Pseudo-English: Studies on False Anglicisms in Europe, edited by Cristiano Furiassi, edited by Henrik Gottlieb

3. It was the Naked Bike Ride on Saturday, though I didn’t make it with my camers. On this occasion a tweet by Matthew Scott:

Naked tourists pissing on sacred site, causing earthquake: 3 days jail.

Harmless eccentric breaching ASBO: 30 mths jail.


Scott wrote an article in the Telegraph: Naked rambler: why have we spent £300,000 imprisoning this harmless eccentric?

An Asbo was deliberately imposed so that if Gough breached it, he could be imprisoned:

It can be an offence to cause a public nuisance and to “harm the morals of the public or their comfort, or obstruct the public in the enjoyment of their rights”. But as an earlier and more successful nudist, Vincent Bethell, showed in 2001, juries are reluctant to find that merely being naked in the street does anything of the sort.

Mr Gough could have been charged with the same offence but, as Hampshire prosecutors no doubt realised, that would have required them to persuade a jury that his nakedness had “harmed the morals of the public.” Since there was no evidence that it had done so – although some people objected to the sight of him wandering around the streets of Eastleigh – a jury would have been likely to acquit. They could have achieved and did secure a few convictions in the Magistrates’ Courts for minor public order offences, but these were too trivial in themselves to put him behind bars.

4. Gamsbart

This was a word that Obama’s interpreter had to contend with off the cuff last week.

Wikipedia says:

The Gamsbart (German pronunciation [‘gamsbɑːʁt], literally chamois beard, plural Gamsbärte) is a tuft of hair traditionally worn as a decoration on trachten-hats in the alpine regions of Austria and Bavaria.

Originally worn as a hunting trophy and made exclusively from hair from the chamois’ lower neck, Gamsbärte are today manufactured on a large scale from various animals’ hair and are commonly sold by specialized dealers and also at souvenir shops.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on 7 June (article no longer online):

Die wirkliche Herausforderung steht der deutschen Übersetzerin, die Obama begleitet, aber noch bevor. Merkel führt ihn zu einigen Männern, auf deren Hüten eine Art Staubwedel in die Luft steht. Es gibt kein englisches Wort für Gamsbart, aber die Übersetzerin findet offenkundig eine brauchbare Umschreibung und deutet dazu auf ihren Rücken, was an der Stelle sein dürfte, wo sie erklärt, dass die Haare für den Bart vom Rücken der Gams stammen. Obama guckt interessiert und schließlich zufrieden, auch wenn man nicht sicher sein kann, wie er Michelle in Washington erklären wird, dass es in Deutschland Tiere gibt, denen ein Bart auf dem Rücken wächst.

Well, all she had to know was what it is, and she must have realized she was going to be faced with a raft of Bavariana.

(Thanks to Übersetzer-Blog)

The importance of learning German

It seems we in Britain still expect important events to be conducted in English. Thus the experience of the Telegraph’s ‘live blogger’ Ben Bloom yesterday:

Jürgen Klopp to quite Borussia Dortmund on July 1 – as it happened


And with that I bid you farewell. Again, many apologies for a hopeless lack of German knowledge. You’d think it would have been a prerequisite to live blog a Borussia Dortmund press conference but perhaps not. Only time will tell if the person who tweeted me suggesting I am getting “sacked in the morning” is correct.

I also apologise for this live blog becoming far too much about me. I can assure you it will not happen again. Let us end on what we came here for: Jurgen Klopp. It isn’t often that one of the world’s leading managers becomes available so expect the speculation to run, run and run some more until he gets another job. It’ll be interesting.

Thanks for joining me. Cheerio.

We like Jürgen Klopp and second that. And doubt whether it was his fault that he was given an assignment he could not understand.


Sadly, Ben Bloom has now gone home to start his German lessons. But he appears to have become something of a web sensation in the meantime, so here are some of the funniest tweets about his ridiculous press conference coverage.

(PS. We haven’t fired him. Yet.)

Palace, hall, Schloß, Palais, manor, castle

My career as a translator of guides to buildings in Central Europe started ignominiously when I gave in to the resident of Schloß Leitheim, who insisted it was Leitheim Castle.

Others calls it Leitheim Palace, but are they right? Would Chateau Leitheim work? Schloss works, but I think of the American who asked the way to the Schlob in Heidelberg (surely a castle). The spelling reform has put an end to that for future purposes.

At all events, the French baron, sometime member of the Upper House of the Parliament of China and breeder of hounds and academic, Professor Jean Christophe Iseux von Pfetten has spent millions on buying and restoring Apethorpe Hall, a building with a past as varied as his, but some are a bit sniffy about his renaming it Apethorpe Palace.

The Independent article has a photo of Baron von Pfetten with his hounds. It’s a hall, not a palace: French baron defies etiquette by renaming his British stately home

Andrew Triggs, an amateur architectural historian and editor of the BISH (British & Irish Stately Homes) blog, said: “I am not convinced that Apethorpe’s history warrants it being named a palace just because it was visited once by Elizabeth I when she owned it. Osborne House, managed by English Heritage, was owned and built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who visited many more times, but is not called a palace, so it seems inconsistent.

Andrew Triggs also tweeted on the subject. He blogs at British and Irish Stately Homes.

Here’s the name change on the English Heritage site.

It seems a bit odd to me to call it a palace, but so does the article’s mention of ‘tacit agreement’. What does the OED say?

1 a. An official residence or former residence of an emperor, king, pope, or other ruler; (also) an official residence of a member of a ruler’s family.
c1300 (▸?c1225) King Horn (Cambr.) (1901) 1256 (MED), Horn him ȝede with his To þe kinges palais [v.r. paleyse].
a1375 William of Palerne (1867) 1390 (MED), Þemperour..to his palays come.
c1400 (▸a1376) Langland Piers Plowman (Trin. Cambr. R.3.14) (1960) A. ii. 18 (MED), In þe popis paleis heo is preuy as myselue.
1469 in E. W. W. Veale Great Red Bk. Bristol (1938) II. 133 (MED), Yeven vnder oure Signet at oure Palois of Westminster.
a1500 (▸?c1400) Sir Triamour (Cambr.) (1937) 488 The hounde..Ranne to the kyngys palays.
c1550 Complaynt Scotl. (1979) vi. 33 Lyik as plutois paleis hed been birnand.
1555 R. Eden tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria Decades of Newe Worlde f. 259v, The dukes pallaice.
1614 in Bannatyne Misc. (1855) III. 210 Efter the sight of the parke and palice..[they] came to Bruntiland.
a1678 A. Marvell Fleckno in Misc. Poems (1681) 57, I whom the Pallace never has deny’d Will make the way here.
1768 Acct. Denmark 94 The royal palace of Rosenburg..is a handsome structure in the semi Gothic taste.
1792 in Columbia Hist. Soc. Rec. (1913) 16 130 The President..with the Commissioners examined the several plans for the Capitol and the Palace.
1821 T. Jefferson Autobiogr. in Writings (1984) 92 The King..was conducted by a garde bourgeoise to his palace at Versailles.
1853 J. Ruskin Stones of Venice II. vii. 233 The Ducal Palace stands comparatively alone.
1910 Encycl. Brit. I. 172/2 The ruins of Diocletian’s palace at Spalato in Dalmatia.
1990 Voice of Arab World Dec. 25 11 The meetings took place in the bunker in the Presidential Palace on Habib Square, Baghdad.

It looks as if the residences of a Roman emperor and an Arab President have also been called palaces.

For a view from a translator with more backbone, see fucked translation.

Exclamation mark in Supreme Court judgment

Thank goodness the Supreme Court has ruled that Prince Charles’s ‘black spider memo’ letters to parliament can be disclosed:
full judgment and press summary as PDFs on the Supreme Court site.

Judgment read out on youtube:
R (on the application of Evans) and another v Attorney General

This relates to letters predating the coalition legislation under which the royal family are exempt from freedom of information law: see 37 here (PDF).

But attention quickly concentrated on the use of an exclamation mark in the judgment (fortunately in a dissenting opinion):

LORD WILSON: (dissenting)
168. I would have allowed the appeal. How tempting it must have been for the Court of Appeal (indeed how tempting it has proved even for the majority in this court) to seek to maintain the supremacy of the astonishingly detailed, and inevitably unappealed, decision of the Upper Tribunal in favour of disclosure of the Prince’s correspondence!

Jack of Kent on Twitter:

Jack of Kent @JackofKent

So Lord Wilson has brought a long distinguished judicial career to an end by using an exclamation mark in a judgment pic.twitter.com/s8KF8QgMEJ

Die augenärztliche Untersuchung der Sehschärfe soll einäugig und beidäugig erfolgen

This expression is mentioned here as an example of legalese that needs improving, but I have no evidence of any improvement.
And a colleague was taken aback by the 41 characters in Bundeswehrattraktivitätssteigerungsgesetz. But of course short titles of statutes do turn out that way – see the graphic under the heading of the more recent article Wie meinen?:


I’ve already mentioned the death of Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

If the ‘short form’ is so long, no wonder they refer to statutes by the abbreviation.

At all events, since 2009 there has been a team at the German Ministry of Justice which reviews legislation before it is passed to see if it is comprehensible. It is called Redaktionsstab Rechtssprache

There’s been an international conference on writing more comprehensible legislation and abstracts of the papers are available on the BMJV website. Here’s the abstract of the UK talk – the talk itself isn’t online as far as I can see.

Diggory Bailey
Parliamentary Counsel
Cabinet Office UK Government
Talk on work of Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (UK)
The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel Office in London is responsible for drafting Government Bills for introduction into the UK Parliament. The Counsel are lawyers who specialise in drafting. They are responsible for drafting legislation that gives legal effect to the policy as well as ensuring that it is as clear and simple as possible. The same people have the function of drafting legislation and reviewing it for
comprehensibility/clarity, in contrast with some jurisdictions. This paper describes some of the ways that we have improved the comprehensibility of legislation. It considers: the Tax Law Rewrite Project and techniques developed to make legislation clearer and easier to understand (shorter sentences, headings, overviews etc); introduction of explanatory notes; the role of the Office drafting techniques
group and drafting guidance; possible user research into different drafting techniques.

But there are some profiles of parliamentary counsel available.

Changing terminology

In another mailing list last week, I was struck by the question of how to translate the term divorce decree into German.

One would normally write Scheidungsurteil, but recently the term Urteil has been removed from German divorce law, apparently because it makes divorce sound like a fight (haha!). Indeed, all family law cases now end in a Beschluss, which sounds more harmless, allegedly.

See Es gibt keine Scheidungsurteile mehr in Thomas von der Wehl’s blog.

Wir haben nur durch das neue FamFG eine neue Begrifflichkeit erhalten. Aus einem schwer nachvollziehbaren Grunde hat der Gesetzgeber den Begriff Scheidungsurteil abgeschafft und durch den Begriff Scheidungsbeschluss ersetzt. Er wollte damit ausdrücken, dass es sich bei Scheidungsverfahren um angeblich weniger streitige Verfahren handelt und dieses Weniger an Streit mit dem etwas geringerwertigen Begriff “Beschluss” kenntlich machen. Ich halte das für Unsinn, zumal die Vermutung, Scheidungsverfahren seien weniger weniger streitige Verfahren, häufig falsch ist.

So the colleague’s question was: do we change the translated term to suit new German practice? The answer on all sides was ‘no’.

And yet when English law removed the term plaintiff and replaced it by claimant, translators in the UK followed suit, even though the term plaintiff is used in Ireland and thus in the EU, and also in the USA and other common-law jurisdictions. And similarly, in family law, it’s common to use contact instead of access in translations, just because the term has changed in English law.

Of course one has to consider how close the concepts are in German law and English law. And also whether the audience is from one specific jurisdiction – it’s statistically more sensible to use plaintiff unless the readership are purely from the UK.

I’m trying to think of other cases where changes in terminology might affect translations. One area is the introduction of ‘politically correct’ usage, which may occur in the USA and UK before it does in Germany. Should a German institution use non-sexist language in its English documentation even if it doesn’t in German? I think so.

The names of courts, court personnel and lawyers often change. So do forms of companies and partnerships.

Of course, many concepts are not close and the target language needs a definition. It’s only terms like Scheidungsurteil and plaintiff that are close enough that one wonders whether to follow changes in the target language.


Interpreting Dagenham

In interpreting teenage slang for the jury, what could Mark Paltenghi do? Your honour, this is bare hard to understand: Laughter in court as barrister has to translate defendants’ teenage slang into plain English

A barrister had to translate text messages sent between teenagers into plain English in court after they included slang like ‘bare’ – meaning really- and ‘bait’ – meaning blatant – for the judge.

During the shooting spree in Dagenham, the group are said to have sent text messages to each other, which were read out by the prosecution along with the ‘translations’.

In one message, sent by the youngest defendant who is 16, to a contact called ‘female boss’, he wrote: ‘Hurry up I’ve got bare haters around me now.’

Prosecutor Mark Paltenghi – in his fifties – informed the jury: ‘Next to it in italics you have it re-written.

‘It means: ‘Hurry up, I’ve got a lot of people who don’t particularly like me here.’

Another text read: ‘Hurry up I’ve got a strap on me, this is bare bait’.
Mr Paltenghi told the jury: ‘We believe this means: ‘Hurry up, I’ve got a gun on me, and this is really risky’.’

Defendants Scott Stokes, 20, his brother Jason, 18, Anne-Marie Madden, 25, and 16-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, burst into laughter.

Jurors also giggled when Judge Patricia Lees asked the defence barristers: ‘Do you agree with these translations?’

(First seen in Metro headed I’m a barrister, innit)

LATER NOTE: Just in, the report of a witness speaking Sierra Leone creole (Krio) for an hour before anyone in court realized it was not an acoustics problem.

Witness gave evidence for an hour before anyone in court realised she wasn’t speaking proper English