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.

Linguee or Reverso

I mentioned the Linguee site when it first appeared. For the German>English combination, probably the first choice for the creators, it will give you quotes from bilingual websites. It has changed a bit over the years. The best change for me was the addition to the first page of URLs of the sites referenced.

Because, and this is the big problem, most bilingual DE/EN websites are probably German sites and the English on them may be non-native. It may be useful for terminology nonetheless.

Linguee is apparently very widely used. I use it much more than I ever thought I would, but I look most often at the .eu sites and usually ignore the .de ones.

Nikki Graham has the combination Spanish>English and she doesn’t find Linguee much use but likes Reverso: Time to Reverso your use of Linguee?

Reverso has a user-friendly, easy-to-read layout and a number of useful sections. I mainly tend to use just the dictionary (based on the 2005 edition of Collins for my es-en pair) and context parts of the site, although it offers translation (MT), conjugation, grammar and spellcheck sections as well. You can even download the Reverso app free onto your mobile phone to access its features on the go.
…They are right when they claim that professional translators will find the specialized entries in their dictionary very helpful, because I certainly do!

I’ve only had a quick look at Reverso, but it does not have the obscure or new German terms I usually look up. For instance Technikgeschoss came up in an architectural description recently – not actually uncommon nor unfamiliar to me, but Linguee immediately gives you several possibilities which you could then research further.

If I did not know the term service floor or plant room, I might open a dictionary on my shelves but I see it has been untouched for years. I would probably consult the Langenscheidt dictionaries online as a member of the BDÜ and Langenscheidt Technik would say:

Technikgeschoss n • service floor; mechanical equipment floor; plant room level; mechanical floor pract

Reverso does have both a dictionary (Collins) and a collaborative dictionary, but I suppose that the terms in the latter are limited to those in the former, so there is rather a lack of specialized terminology. But I have only looked at it very briefly and not in connection with a specific translation.

In the recent comments on Zahn and Dietl, I was reminded that I use scarcely any paper dictionaries nowadays. I wonder if the online versions, especially Acolada ones with a subscription, will do better at adding new terminology.

Anyway, neither Linguee nor any dictionary solve a translator’s problems – they just provide a basis for further research.

LATER NOTE: in discussion on Twitter (I tweet as Transblawg but rarely engage), Anne de Freyman says she only uses the big Collins (unabridge?) FR>EN as the Reverso version is too small – which was my impression. However, I haven’t been using the Collins Unabridged DE>EN as much as I used to. I find the Collins online thesaurus good. Anne wrote that she uses Evernote Premium to create a custom search engine, in effect, accessible on all devices, and including whole websites and glossaries. An interesting possibility, although I could collect hundreds of sites before finding one of my new terms in one.

Berlin police @PolizeiBerlin_E now competing with @SolihullPolice

Berlin police tweet at @PolizeiBerlin and @PolizeiBerlin_E (Einsatz). They used the hashtag #pickpocket to clear up some cases. Presumably there are more speakers of English than German in Berlin nowadays. Aufklärungsgezwitscher in B.Z.

Thanks to Trevor.

Also check out Solihull Police best tweets. E.g.

Not a scam: If you’ve committed a burglary in the Solihull area within the last week – come to our police station & claim a FREE iPad.

Lang & Rahmann Rechtsanwälte Newsletter

I recently received a newsletter from Lang & Rahmann Rechtsanwälte in Düsseldorf. I don’t know how you can get it, but I suspect you write to, which is given as the email address to unsubscribe. But in fact the newsletter consists of links to texts on the firm’s website, so if you go straight to the website you can read summaries of a number of recent cases in German, French and English. One of the lawyers at the firm is Dr. Stephan Kettler, who has published bilingual legal dictionaries and is a certified translator and interpreter for English and French. I use his Wörterbuch Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht: Englisch-Deutsch / Deutsch-Englisch, 2011 alongside Uexküll (Wörterbuch der Patent- und Markenpraxis). It’s great to have both.
There must have been more than one person working on the English texts. I did wonder about the translation of Schwarzarbeit as black labour, but then I read recently that consideration has been given to having James Bond played by a black actor, so it must be OK.

I see they use Federal Supreme Court for Bundesgerichtshof, which I’ve commented on before. But they always give the German name the first time around, so that is good. They have, I think, an American touch (Sect., docket) and they capitalize Plaintiff, which is not usual in this kind of text. I was also intrigued by the reference to the preponement of a flight – this is apparently well established in Indian English though. I intend to use it myself whenever I can from now on.

The time of day

I was toying with the idea of attending a free webinar by STAR Transit – in fact, I registered. This was the time given, although I didn’t know if they were referring to the time in Germany or the UK:

Dear Participants,

thank you for your interest in the webinar

“You asked, we listened: What’s new in Service Pack 8”

on 18.12.2014 at 16:00 a.m. (GMT +1:00).

We use the webinar software TeamViewer. To watch and listen to the webinar,
you can participate with the speakers of your computer.

To join the webinar, click this link:

Possibly there would be not much new for me, but at all events I was at my desk at 15.30 British time, which would be 16.30 German time, though not a.m. When I clicked the link at 16.00 British time (apparently that is currently GMT) I was informed that the webinar had already ended.

STAR didn’t cast any light on this, but they did say that the webinar has been recorded and will be available soon.

A few internet links

While I’m busy, here are some links to other sites:

1. A short video on translating poetry from German to English tiere zu fragen by Odile Kennel, translated by Anna Crowe, who usually translates from Spanish and Catalan, helped by Katy Derbyshire.

2. John Flood on What is a lawyer? with the help of Dilbert cartoons and linking to Jonathan Goldsmith.

Machines, paralegals, technicians, accountants, consultants even are all engaged in the “practice” of law these days. They may not call themselves lawyers but they do law. The new legal services markets now emerging are signs that the distinctiveness of the lawyer is being eroded.

It might mean that lawyers’ skills are redundant. I think this unlikely. Or it could mean that lawyers’ skills are inadequate to the demands of today’s business and legal markets. If they are inadequate then others invade your turf and take your work. So it’s up to the profession(s) and the academy to (re)produce lawyers/professionals fit for the modern age. And don’t worry about definitions. Hardly anyone cares.

3. Mary Beard on What we get wrong about Lord Elgin (in connection with Amal Clooney’s involvement in trying to get the Elgin Marbles back to Greece).

Now that Amal Clooney has taken up the case, all the old over-simplifications are crawling out again. Personally I hold no brief for Lord Elgin (I have remained uncomfortably “on the fence” on the whole issue for many a year). And it is important to admit that there is an awful lot we dont know about him and his motives (to be honest, it is completely uncertain whether he was looking to save a precious antiquity or looking for some nice decoration for his stately pile, or some combination of the two).

But there are some aspects to the story as it is now told that are simply WRONG.

And here is Jeremy Paxman’s take:

But what would have happened to these sculptures had they stayed in Athens? After all, at the time Lord Elgin helped himself the Parthenon was being used as a fortress. Mary Beard’s excellent short history of the building tells us that for most of the 18th century, Athenians were in the habit of grinding down marble statues to produce lime and used parts of these great classical buildings as rubble for their foundations. Had the ghastly Lord Elgin not plundered his works of arts, they could have ended up in the footings of some kebab stand.

4. Chinese Legal Documents Series (in Chinese and English) (via Chinese Law Prof Blog).

Some links

1. In Court in the act: How many European Courts are there? the IPKAT discusses the confusion:

Confusingly similar — but these folk shouldn’t be confused. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has emailed the information that a new intellectual property case has been referred to the Court of Justice, but it has got itself into something of a mess as to which Court of Justice it means. After the EU’s judicial institutions were renamed, this weblog, in common with many other people and publications, has practised calling the EU’s Court of Justice the Court of Justice of the European Union, abbreviating it as the CJEU. The UKIPO however prefers to refer to this Court as the European Court of Justice and to abbreviate it as the ECJ.

2. Prof. Dr. Thomas M.J. Möllers of Augsburg University has set up a database of some areas of German and EU commercial law: Daten­bank zum deut­schen und euro­päi­schen Wirt­schafts­recht which looks useful and will be kept updated. Link from Unternehmensrechtliche Notizen, the weblog of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Noack.

3. Angry solicitors
It’s not easy to find a good solicitor, except by recommendation. I was dissatisfied with one firm, but a recommendation to find a further recommendation via the Law Society was not useful. I mean, I knew in advance it wouldn’t be. But I established that firms pay something to be accredited by the Law Society, The Law Society: Find a solicitor you naturally have to pay a fee. So firms with enough work have little incentive to be on that lis (rather like Which’s lists recommending builders and tradesmen, which I’ve also had problems with).

Anyway, The Law Gazette reports that

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has agreed to share its data on solicitors with comparison websites set up by third parties by the end of this year.
The regulator has responded to a call from the Legal Services Consumer Panel to provide more information for online registers of practitioners.
In a letter to the panel, SRA executive director Crispin Passmore said a ‘data extract’ – likely to include the size of the firm and any disciplinary issues in the past – will be in place by Christmas.

Of course, the fact that there have been a large number of complaints against a firm does not mean that these were upheld. I recommend reading the comments under the article:

… I’ll let the moronic comsuner panels and ombudsmen, and touchy-feely “empowerment in legal choices” briage into a secret here [hush]… people pay to be included in a comparison site, it isn’t done out of the goodness of anyone’s heart.
That’s right. Amazing though it may sound, you don’t have to have to be the best to be on the “Bestsest ever solicitors .com” – you just have to set up the monthly direct debit! And who is going to pay a comparison website to publicise their complaints data?
I didn’t even know that the “Chair” of the Legal Services Consumer Panel (£15,000 per year for turning up 30 days a year) has a blog. Now I do know, I still can’t read it, because of the irresistable urge to burn my PC.

Btw, the Chair does have a blog, but she doesn’t know the difference between a blog and a post.

(Via Delia Venables)

Some reading/Etwas zum Lesen

Hamish Hamilton’s Five Dials no. 26 has just come out. It is an elegant PDF and this edition is full of translations of German literature, although the main thing that has caught my eye so far is an article about secret ways to walk through London. 64 pages of good stuff. They apparently expect us to print it out.

For walks from Gatwick, see kalebeul.

Thanks to Ekkehard for reminding me of the free sampler of the new language magazine Babel. I honestly can’t see myself having time to read it, but there is some good stuff in there, for example an article on forensic linguistics by Peter French et al., and everything has suggestions for further reading.

There are good language reads out there already free of charge, of course: but I suppose everyone knows the Translation Journal and the Journal of Specialised Translation.

Many translators have been writing books but I have not had time to read them. I’ve already recommended Fire Ant and Worker Bee’s compilation. At a very very superficial glance I had a good impression of Corinne McKay’s How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator and Nataly Kelly/Jost Zetzsche’s Found in Translation (despite the hype, and despite the fact that I can’t think of anyone I would give it to for Christmas).

And here is an interpreter’s microblog, as Céline describes it. I actually saw this last week without understanding what it was: A good speech a day keeps the doctor away.


1. There has been a long hiatus here, partly because I was away for three weeks and partly because I seem to have been hit by more than one nasty virus. So here are some links to be getting on with:

In die tageszeitung, Katy Derbyshire (as I spell her name) writes (in German) about the lack of English translations of German literature.

Man muss sich das Leben einer der wenigen des Deutschen mächtigen Lektorinnen bei einem dieser Riesenhäuser dagegen als recht frustrierend vorstellen. Wozu sich jeden Tag schick machen und die quälende U-Bahn-Fahrt auf sich nehmen, wenn man doch keine deutschsprachigen Bücher verlegen kann? Anna Kelly arbeitet bei Hamish Hamilton im Hause Penguin. “In den letzten paar Jahren habe ich einige Sachen gelesen, die mich für das begeistert haben, was im Moment auf Deutsch geschrieben wird, die ich aber trotzdem nicht verlegen konnte.” Zum Glück hat Hamish Hamilton längst die Vorzüge des Internets für sich entdeckt und gibt eine Online-Literaturzeitschrift heraus. Am 3. Dezember kommt Anna Kellys Baby: eine Sonderausgabe von Five Dials mit 13 deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsautoren, von Juli Zeh bis Ulrike Almut Sandig. “Das ist ein Weg für mich, einige dieser starken Stimmen mit der Welt zu teilen. Zahlreiche Autoren schreiben gerade wunderbare Sachen auf Deutsch, aber diese Ausgabe kann nicht mehr als eine Handvoll davon zeigen.” Hoffen wir, dass ihre Begeisterung ansteckend wirkt.

2. The People’s Daily was fooled by an article in The Onion which described Kim Jong-Un as ‘the sexiest man alive’, according to the Economist’s Analects blog:

SOMETIMES China flexes its soft power without really having any idea it has done so. That appears to be what happened on November 27th when the People’s Daily Online, a website of the Communist Party’s English-language mouthpiece, republished an article by the Onion, a satirical version of an American newspaper, declaring North Korea’s Kim Jong Un the “Sexiest Man Alive”. The republication, complete with a gallery of 55 photographs of the North Korean dictator at work and play, quickly became an internet sensation.


..“He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time,” Onion Style and Entertainment editor Marissa Blake-Zweibel said. “And that’s the quality that makes him the sort of man women want, and men want to be. He’s a real hunk with real intensity who also knows how to cut loose and let his hair down.”

3. At Ü wie Übersetzen, (in German) Lisa John explains in detail how to download and use the new set of translation memories from the EU translation corpus (if I can correctly so describe it).

And there too, if you missed it: Lisa has often tried to improve the German Wikipedia entries on CAT tools for translators and there is a German Wikipedia ‘editor’ who keeps removing descriptions of programs. I’ve seen this extreme example cited in a mailing list as an argument why one should not pay money to support Wikipedia. Here is the latest blog post on this topic .

Delia Venables on legal resources/Delia Venables: UK-Recht im Internet

Delia Venables, who I’ve recommended before, was one of the earliest sources of internet information on law in the UK. Her website on legal resources for the UK and Ireland would take a long time to click around. I usually look at the information for lawyers, in particular newspapers and journals and the best new sites on the legal web.

She has recently made her newsletter for lawyers free to access online, although for the printed or pdf version there is still a subscription. The November/December 2012 issue includes the following topics:

* Nick Holmes provides an essential guide to eBooks – options, formats, devices, readers and digital rights management.
* Peter Garsden of Abney Garsden McDonald reviews the success of going paperless. It took over 7 years but it’s worth it in the end.
* Nigel Miller of Fox Williams provides 10 top tips for securing and managing domain names. Domain names are the basis of ecommerce.
* Barrister Amanda Millmore reviews the use of social media in the legal system – by police, as evidence, and in the community.
* Tom Hiskey describes his move from practice as a solicitor to running a legal technology startup company called “The Law Wizard”
* Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing compares the relative effectiveness of blogs and news sections. Which are best?
* Patti Havers describes the history of the Havers Directory and the new look, and new facilities of “Havers – Defining the Bar”.

There is a great deal of information on the site of interest not only to lawyers.