Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary by Tom West

I am pleased to announce that Tom West has published the Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary he has been working on.
You can find details and sample pages on Tom’s website. While you’re there, take a look at his blog (I’ve never succeeded in entering the feed for this in Feedly).
The dictionary can only be ordered from the USA at the moment, at createspace, but this may change in future.

The dictionary is a kind of three-column glossary, but with some explanations in the English column. The first column is either German or French. There is a useful introduction with remarks about the problems of researching Swiss legal lanague.

German-English legal translators sometimes have to research terms from Austria, Switzerland (several cantons) and Liechtenstein – I have translated German stuff from Alto Adige but not yet from Belgium. There are fewer reference materials available for these than for Germany. French translators must have the same problem. I know one translator who poses queries on mailing lists and whenever he or she doesn’t understand the text describes it as Swiss, which suggests the kinds of problems we face.


Weißwurstäquator, from the mysterious Kamelopedia (albeit misplacing Franconia vis-à-vis the WW):

Within Germany, the dividing line is the River Danube, which puts me north of the equator. Wikipedia has a map showing the Danube, but the Weißwurst is not eaten everywhere south of the Danube, of course, only, at most, in the German bit (and there, ideally only before the cuckoo clock strikes midday).

Meanwhile, Strange Maps has a graphic image of the Swiss Röstigraben, and much information. Here is a more detailed map.

The language border dividing these two areas is known jestingly as the Röstigraben (in German) or the rideau de rösti (in French). A Graben is a ditch and a rideau is a curtain, so you get the idea of separation – but what a Rösti is and why it is significant, requires a bit more explanation.

This dish is made mainly by frying grated potatoes in a pan. It was formerly eaten as breakfast by farmers in the (German-speaking) Bern canton. The original conceit of the Röstigraben was that it constituted the western limit of the German Swiss culture, beyond which people spoke (and ate) differently.

The Rösti has gained popularity as a side dish all over Switzerland, but the language and cultural differences persist.

Another culinary division mentioned in comments to the above is the Gefilte Fish Line:

The “gefilte fish line” ran though eastern Poland.
Jews living to the west — most of Poland, as well as Germany and the rest of Western Europe — ate the sweet gefilte fish. Those to the east — Lithuania, Latvia and Russia — ate the peppery version.
But Steinlauf’s tale is not just a fish story. It’s also about language.
He said the “gefilte fish line” roughly overlaps another important line: a linguistic divide between two major variants of Yiddish.

LATER NOTE: Here is a map showing the Grits Line (see comments). The map was originally from CNN but I found it in this forum.

Thanks to the Great Wall of Catalonia.

Swiss criminal law terminology / Terminologie des Schweizer Strafrechts

This vocabulary doesn’t seem familiar to me. Go to the Obergericht, click on Dolmetscherwesen and then on Strafrechtsterminologie der Bundeskanzlei (D, F, I, E). It can’t be copied, but here’s one entry, scanned, to give an impression (scanned, OCR’d but not spellchecked for the various languages):

Täter (1); Täterin (2); Straftäter (3); Straftäterin (4); Delinquent (5); Delinquentin (6); Straffälliger (7); Straffällige (8)Person, die rechtswidrig und schuldhaft einen gesetzlichen Tatbestand erfüllt hat.
PS: CH; USG: (7)(8) zu vermeiden
(1) Schweiz. Strafgesetzbuch, Art. 7 (SR 311.0): (2) BSG 321.1 G 150395, Art. 46 Abs. 1 Ziff. 1; (3) BFS/BJ,
Anstaltenkatalog, 1998, S. 11: (4) POMBE, Baechtold, 1995; (5) BFS, Rückfallraten, 1997, S. 21; (6)(DF)(USG)
T. Freytag, Universität Freiburg, Seminar für Strafrecht, 2001; (7)(8) BFS, Bewährungshiffe in der Schweiz, 2001,
auteur (1); auteure (2); auteur de l’lnfraction (3); auteure de l’lnfraction (4); auteur de l’acte (5); auteure de l’acte (6); auteur de l’acte punissabie (7); auteure de l’acte punissabie (8); deltnquant (9); delinquante (10); auteur dlrect (11); auteure directe (12); auteur materiel (13); auteure materielle (14); auteur immediat (15); auteure immediate (16)Personne qui accomplit personneilement, avec la consclence ou ia volonte extgees par la loi, les actes
materlels constitutlfs d’une infraction.
Code penal suisse, (1) art. 7, (3) art. 27 a\. 3, (5) art. 18 ai 3, (9) art. 42 eh. 1 (RS 311.0); (2)(6)(8) CHA BE,
SCTerm, 1997; (4)(12)(14)(16)(GRM) ACH; (7) RSB 321.1 L 150395, art. 235; (10) Cornu, Voc. juridique, 1990,
p. 248; (11)(13)(15) Graven, Infraction penaie punissabie, 1995, p. 282; (DF) d’apres source (10), p. 83 sous
autore (1); autrice (2); autore di un reato (3); autrice di un reato (4); autore di reato (5); autrice di reato (6); autore diretto (7); autrice diretta (8); agente (9); delinquente (10)
Persona che realizza I presupposti oggettivl e soggettivi 6\ un reato. PS: CH: GRM: (9M10)f./m.
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(DF) aw. M. Hohl Tattarietti, 2001; Codice penaie svizzero, (9) art. 7 cpv. 3, (10) art. 42 n. 1 (RS 311.0)
offender (1); perpetrator (2)Person who commits a crimlnal act with the mens rea required by the law.
(1) Home Office, Digest 2, Criminal Justice System, 1993, p. 7; (2) Romain, Dict. Legat Terms, part 1, EN-DE, 1989;
(DF) adaptation ofFrench definition

On the subject of Swiss German, Jens Wiese at Blogwiese has just announced that he has reached the end of his topic. At the moment he is rehashing old topics. He says that he often gets queries and they are all words he has already discussed. He still writes a weekly column in a couple of Swiss newspapers.

(Thanks to the ubiquitous Urs Wolffers)