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.

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.

Zahn Dictionary Bank- und Börsenwesen Deutsch-Englisch available in Acolada

Zahn’s excellent dictionary of banking and stock trading DE>EN, which has made the shortlist of paper dictionaries within reach of my desk, is now available – actually in both directions, I gather – in a digital edition compatible with other Acolada dictionaries. Here’s the page about the download. Apparently there used to be a digital edition but that stopped ten years ago.
More information plus a sample at Kater Verlag.

It seems there is a 7th ed DE>EN in print and a 6th edition EN>DE, both 2015 (I have the 6th ed. DE>EN, 2011).
Entspricht den Print-Ausgaben Deutsch-Englisch: 7. Auflage 2015 und Englisch-Deutsch: 6. Auflage 2015

Reading Proust in the original

It looks as if this may be a good French version for the Kindle.

The ‘most helpful’ negative review on amazon:

0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Can’t read French
I ordered this edition by error. I couldn’t trace the English version. That will teach me to look at the description more closely.
Published 17 months ago by Leonard K

Journal of Civil Law Studies

Journal of Civil Law Studies

The Journal of Civil Law Studies is a peer-reviewed, online and open-access periodical, published by the Center of Civil Law Studies. LSU Law students participate in the editorial process once papers have been accepted for publication. First published in 2008, it promotes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to the civil law in Louisiana and in the world.

The Journal has been going since 2008. You can download the whole issue or individual articles as PDFs. Articles in this issue include ones on Scotland, Spain and Switzerland. News from Switzerland (2012-2014): Major Reform of the Rules on Unfair Competition and of Domestic and International Family Law – also with references to introductions to Swiss law and online English translations of the Codes. Readers will know that you can get lots of official translations of Swiss law online nowadays. The authors of the article tend to use French-language references.

While we’re in Louisiana, remember you can get a Louisiana Civil Law Dictionary by Gregory W. Rome and Stephen Kinsella for Kindle.

via Juris Diversitas

Christiane Hearne: Wörterbuch der Druckluft- und Filtertechnik DE-EN, EN-DE

I knew Christiane Hearne as a contributor to the foreign languages forum on CompuServe, FLEFO, and to the small list run by loyal dregs after FLEFO’s demise. I even visited her
This dictionary is a posthumous one, published by her daughter, I gather from the Kater Verlag newsletter. At Kater Verlag on the page for Wörterbuch der Druckluft- und Filtertechnik you can click on ‘Kater-Scan’ and see some pages of it.

Here’s the Springer page:

Dieses Wörterbuch in Deutsch – Englisch und Englisch – Deutsch umfasst annähernd 12000 Fachbegriffe aus der industriellen Druckluft- und Filtertechnik. Es enthält zahlreiche Begriffserläuterungen je nach fachlichem Kontext sowie viele Anwendungsbeispiele in Form von kompletten Sätzen ausformuliert.

Die Autorin

Christiane Hearne arbeitete seit 1987 als selbstständige staatlich geprüfte Übersetzerin und Dolmetscherin. Ihr Fachgebiet waren technische Übersetzungen für Firmen aus der Baubranche und dem Ingenieurwesen sowie die Übersetzung technischer Fachbücher.

Content Level » Professional/practitioner

Stichwörter » Abdampfrückstand – Befüllmenge – Druckbehälter – Druckleitung – Druckluftanlage – Einleitungsgrenzwert – Filteranlage – Filteranordnung – Filterbaugruppe – Hilfspumpe – Kondensataufbereitung – Niveauschwimmer – Schwimmerschalter – gewässerbelastend – Ölabscheider

Books on legal writing in English

There are many useful books for lawyers on how to write better legal English. How useful they are for translators is another matter. By all means, if you have time, work through some of the suggestions on legal writing (an internet search for ‘drafting’ is also a good idea). Consider whether you mind whether the book is for British or U.S. or another form of legal English.

But as I suggested in the post on virtual synonyms, when translating into English you can’t simplify at will. Consequently we tend to spend more time researching specific law and language problems than taking the wider view.

As a member of the BDÜ it probably doesn’t behoove me to look at the publications of the BDÜ Fachverlag with as much suspicion as I do, but I’ve never recovered from how a colleague salivated over a book on how to translated GmbH articles into English. The book was a student’s work written for a non-lawyer lecturer and was full of problems. But then, caveat emptor.

The latest book advertised to me is probably not at all bad, in fact it may be good, but is it a book for lawyers on how to write legal English or does it address translators into English too?


I couldn’t trace the LexisNexis edition, but what is that keyboard on the cover telling us? I suppose it is implying that there is a German element.

I am told (my emphasis):

Wenn Sie juristische Texte ins Englische übersetzen, dann kann ich Ihnen die jüngste Neuerscheinung aus dem BDÜ Fachverlag ans Herz legen, den „Legal Writing Coach“ – eine Sammlung von leicht verwendbaren Materialien, die an das begrenzte Zeitbudget von vielbeschäftigten Anwälten und Übersetzern angepasst ist. Der „Legal Writing Coach“ basiert auf der langjährigen internationalen Erfahrung des Autors und bietet eine Fülle von echten Praxisbeispielen und zielt auf die häufigsten Probleme beim Schreiben juristischer Texte ab. Die angebotenen Lösungen lassen sich schnell und einfach umsetzen. Mit diesem Buch können Sie Ihre Fähigkeiten verbessern, gute juristische Texte in englischer Sprache zu verfassen.

You can see the table of contents in a PDF linked to here. I can’t tell what about it is for translators. It does appear that the author is based in Vienna.

It does have an Annex on British and American legal usage and one on slutations, titles, and closings which might be interesting for translators.

Ian McEwan: The Children Act

Charles Dickens: Bleak House

In Chancery

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes—gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if this day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.

Ian McEwan: The Children Act

London. Trinity term one week old. Implacable June weather. Fiona Maye, a High Court judge, at home on Sunday evening, supine on a chaise longue, staring past her stockinged feet towards the end of the room, towards a partial view of recessed bookshelves by the fireplace and, to one side, by a tall window, a tiny Renoir lithograph of a bather, bought by her thirty years ago for fifty pounds. Probably a fake.

The parallels between Bleak House and The Children Act, Ian McEwan’s new novel, are limited, although the weather theme is pursued, fog in Bleak House being replaced by a long damp spell in the summer of 2012 in The Children Act.

It’s a short novel less about the law than about balancing the judge’s involvement in her work with her personal life. To write it, McEwan had to do a lot of research into law and lawyers. Indeed, one of his advisers was James Wood of Doughty Street Chambers, the second mention of those chambers here in a couple of weeks.

There is an introductory quote from the Children Act of 1989:

When a court determines any question with respect to … the upbringing of a child … the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration.

There’s a good summary and review by Carl Gardner at Head of Legal. As he writes, one can criticize it from the legal point of view, but that, as he says, is from a lawyer’s point of view – on the other hand, it’s only because this is a legal blog that I’m mentioning it. For instance, there is a lot of discussion as to whether a boy three months short of his 18th birthday can decide his own medical treatment, and that (referred to as Gillick competence) is scarcely a controversial matter – maybe if he were 15, the opposing sides would exploit the age factor. There’s also the point that a child over 16 and under 18 who refuses medical treatment may be overruled by the courts, but only subject to the child’s paramount interest.

(Gillick competence refers to Mrs Victoria Gillick, who had five sons and five daughters, and in 1983 failed to get a court declaration that the daughters would not get contraceptive advice until they were over 16.)

Another lawyer’s review, by Sarah E Green, in Family Law Week, links to some of the decisions used by McEwan in the novel. The bits I found most interesting in showing how a family law judge has to think were based on Re G, a case concerning the schooling of Jewish children after a divorce:

Application for permission to appeal the making of (1) a specific issue order in relation to the education of five children from the Chareidi community of ultra orthodox Jews; (2) a residence order in favour of the mother. Permission refused in relation to the residence order. Permission granted in relation to the education specific issue order but the appeal dismissed.

Green concludes:

This book has been received by the legal community with much aplomb, although with somewhat less enthusiasm from a handful of critics outside of the legal sphere. It is a must-read for any family lawyer with a passion for literature.

Paragraph 84 of Lord Justice Munby’s judgment is the source of McEwan’s character’s remark that all three barristers, the two solicitors and the CAFCASS officer in the case were women – and yet the father’s religious community would have prevented his daughters from educational opportunities:


4. The first focused on educational opportunity. Here the evidence was clear and the choice stark. Whatever may be the practice in relation to education down to the point when children takes GCSEs, it is clear that, even for boys, the educational options narrow drastically thereafter in the Chareidi system and that tertiary education as generally understood hardly features at all. Career opportunities for boys in professions such as medicine and the law are very limited indeed, for girls virtually non-existent. The contrast with the wider community could hardly be greater. It is hard to imagine how either law or medicine could operate today without the women who at every level and in such large numbers enjoy careers which they find fulfilling and from which society as a whole derives so much benefit. Take the law: when I was called to the Bar in 1971 there were 2,714 barristers in practice at the independent bar of whom only 167 (some 6%) were women; by 2011 there were 12,673 of whom 4,106 (some 32%) were women. That is a measure of just how far society has moved in the last 40 years. And that, in my judgment, is the kind of societal reality to which a family judge must have regard in a case such as this. It is, after all, the reality which is daily on display in our family courts. The present case, as it happens, is typical of many: all three counsel who appeared before us were women, so too were the two solicitors, and so too was the CAFCASS officer. Judge Copley, in my judgment, was plainly entitled to conclude, as he did, that:

“the schools to which she wishes to send them will provide infinitely superior opportunities for these children to gain a much fuller and wider education, not only at secondary level but also at tertiary level should they choose that – the father’s own evidence and that of his witnesses bears this out – and thereafter they will have much greater job opportunities”,

just as he was entitled to accept Mrs Adams’ view that it was:

“more likely that the children will achieve greater economic success if they are given aspirations in relation to careers that exist outside the Jewish community.”

The musical recital at the end of the novel reminded me of Alan Rusbridger’s Play It Again, where you also get the contrast between playing the piano and dealing with a hectic work life.

New Journal: Language and Law / Linguagem e Direito

I’m posting this introduction by Malcolm Coulthard and Rui Sousa-Silva to a new journal. I haven’t read much of the first online edition myself yet.

We are delighted to announce the first issue of a new international bilingual bi-annual journal – Language and Law – Linguagem e Direito. The journal is electronic and available for everyone to download at .

Because Language and Law has no printing costs it can be extremely flexible to individual author’s requirements: not only can it publish quickly all the high quality articles it receives, but also it can cope with long appendices, reproduce illustrations, photographs and tables in colour, and embed
sound files and hyperlink as necessary.

We chose the title Language and Law – Linguagem e Direito to indicate that we welcome articles across the whole spectrum of the discipline and from both practitioners and academic researchers. Thus, for example, this first issue includes contributions from a chief of police, a public prosecutor, a professional translator, a professional interpreter and two expert witnesses, as well as from academic lawyers and linguists.

There is an article by Maria Lúcia Gomes and Denise Carneiro about Forensic Phonetics in Brazil, and one by Alison Johnson and David Wright about authorship analysis. Rui Sousa-Silva writes about plagiarism by translation. Liz Carter about deceptive responses in police interviews, Marcos Ribeiro and Cristiane Fuzer about honour crimes, Edilson Vitorelli about the language rights of indigenous Brazilians. Gail Stygall analyses incomprehensible Jury Instructions while Débora Figueiredo examines representations of the crime of rape in Brazilian legal texts.

We hope you will want to become a regular reader of the journal – to do so you simply need to send an email to with the word ‘SUBSCRIBE’ in the Subject line. Then you will receive automatically a link to each new issue of the journal as soon as it is published.

We hope that you will also want to share your own research with the wider academic community through the pages of our journal. If you wish to do so, please read the notes on submitting an article available at: