Grant and Cutler dictionaries/Rechtswörterbücher

I recently received an indirect query from someone studying legal translation in the UK who wants to buy a German-English law dictionary. There was a list of the dictionaries currently available at Foyles, into which Grant & Cutler has now been integrated (I remember Grant & Cutler near Embankment Station, before it moved closer to Oxford Street and now to Foyles). Here’s the link, but it may change in time.

Title: Author: Description:
Recht Fachwörterbuch Kompakt. Law concise dictionary.: German<>English Bugg, S. G. & Simon, H. Approx. 28.000 terms and more than 50.000 translations. With short German and English introductions to the German, British and American legal system.

Rechtsenglisch: Deutsch<>Englisches Rechtswörterbuch für jedermann Köbler, G. approx. 25.000 entries, 485 pages.
Dictionaries: Specialist & Technical: Legal. Published 2007. Price: £19.95

Wörterbuch Arbeit, Recht, Wirtschaft. Dictionary of Labour, Law and Business terms. Horstenkamp, C. Approx. 5,000 terms.
Dictionaries: Specialist & Technical: Legal. Published 2006. Price: £25.95

Wörterbuch Recht German<>English Bachem, W. & Hamblock, D. Approx. 56,000 terms.
Dictionaries: Specialist & Technical: Legal. Published 2008. Price: £42.99

If you click on the first entry, it says the book and CD ROM are temporarily out of print but cost £52. The paperback (I didn’t know about this) is available and costs £30.

In response, I was taken aback at the absence of Romain and Dietl, but on reflection think they may be unavailable and about to be published in new editions.

I’ve written about small law dictionaries before (here and here). I understand why the publishers like them: because they can sell them to German law students. But they are just not big enough to be much use. If the budget doesn’t run to more, I would advise against the Köbler, although I don’t know its latest edition. The editions I have seen have all been based on a standard and peculiar shortish word list, originally created in German and put into English or whatever other language is involved. Of the others, I slightly prefer the Bachem and I don’t find the extra material in the Langenscheidt much use, but if possible you should compare the two yourself.

The Horstenkamp was unknown to me so I bought a copy. It is out of print but can be got second-hand. I actually got a new copy, but I don’t think it’s that easy to find. This dictionary of labour, law and business terms was done by a colleague. It is actually a set of seven glossaries EN>DE and seven glossaries DE>EN. This disqualifies it for me even if it were bigger, as I don’t want to spend so much time leafing through it. True, there are two global indexes in the back, which somewhat helps. The areas are:
Labour – Arbeit
Business – Wirtschaft
Education/Training – Bildung/Ausbildung
European Union – Europäische Union
Law – Recht
Politics – Politik
Health and Safety – Arbeitssicherheit

The labour part looks OK, but in particular the EU and law sections are very small and it looks more like an interpreter’s private glossary. It also has things like
sich schuldig bekennen – plead guilty (looks like a reverse of an EN>DE entry)
vorsätzlich – wilful; premeditated (Vorsatz is intention, not premeditation)
Pflichtverteidiger – duty solicitor (again, was this generated from EN>DE?)
Gewohnheitsrecht – common law (should be custom)

DE>EN>DE law dictionary/Karin Linhart, Wörterbuch Recht

I summarized a number of small German-English law dictionaries some time ago. Here’s another one, by Karin Linhart: Wörterbuch Recht, Beck Verlag.

Now a review of this dictionary, in German, by Christine Haselwarter, has appeared in the ADÜ Nord Infoblatt, 2/2010, available online as a PDF at

As I’ve said before, I don’t think these small dictionaries are so useful for translators, because there are bigger ones available and there is a limit to the number one wants to consult. But they are an ideal size to be carried in a bag, for instance by law students.

This seems to me – on a cursory inspection – a good and reliable dictionary from US legal English into German. It has a number of Infokästchen – boxes on a grey background with extra information – very popular with students and with the review too. For instance, on contingency fees (only US), punitive damages, zealous lawyer (seems to be a US term), jurisdiction (US only) and many more. There are frequent references to US terms that are not translated into German, but cited and explained. In the DE>EN direction, there are fewer boxes.

There is extra material at the end, for example ten rules on how German lawyers should behave ‘im englisch-sprachigen Ausland’. Here I note that Karin Linhart is familiar with US law and South African law, but I don’t know how far her rules apply to all common-law countries. For example, there is no need to use euphemisms when looking for the loo in the UK – in fact, it might be counter-productive. I have my doubts about South Africa too, but I’ve never been there (‘Fragen Sie niemals nach der “Toilet”!).

So without doing a proper full review, I would just like to say I think this dictionary should be seen in an American context, and I think that’s what very many German law students want in any case.

There is another book by Karin Linhart, Englische Rechtssprache – Ein Studien- und Arbeitsbuch. I really must say I have no idea why the book is so huge – A4 with thick paper. The paper may be because one’s supposed to write the answers on it. The nice thing about this book is that it really is full of exercises, with fairly short introductions. It has suggested solutions in the back. Many books on English for lawyers, at least those written for lawyers, have pages and pages of reading and only short exercises, if any. For those who want the terminology first and learn vocabulary in this way, this is an attractive volume. There are many English-German lists and comments on vocabulary too. The book is based on Karin Linhart’s work with students at Würzburg University. (Incidentally, there is a small section on Office Language, quite useful I think, with terms like paperclip, stapler, ring binder, hole punch – this EN>DE list possibly explains the presence of some of the terms the ADÜ dictionary reviewer found superfluous).

LATER NOTE: Richard Schreiber has an entry on this dictionary at the Übersetzerportal.

Collocation dictionaries/Kollokationswörterbücher

There is a new edition of the BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English available, 24 euros for the paperback. Here is a PDF workbook which gives a good impression of the contents.

According to the John Benjamins Book Gazette, the new edition has 20% more material. It looks to me as if it has much more information on BE/AmE differences.

I had meanwhile gone over to the Oxford Collocations Dictionary. (amazon lets you look inside). That seems larger, and it has some pages summarizing differences which might be useful for foreign learners. In the middle, it also has some workbook pages it describes as ‘photocopiable’, which I suppose means free to use in class without copyright considerations.

Since I only use these books occasionally to get an idea for a verb combination, I appreciate the fact that I have found them both reliable and full.

The first edition used to be available online, but if anyone is looking for an online collocations dictionary (the search words that most frequently bring people to this site), Mark Davies’ page at Brigham Young University is the way to go.

As for German collocations, if you search for a word in DWDS, it will show you some collocations too.

The Devil’s Infosec Dictionary


adj. The window of time in which systems are most vulnerable to attack

Access Control List (ACL)
The operating system file that gives users access to files and programs they have no good reason to access

Analyst, security
A mercenary paid vast sums of money to tell you that your systems can’t be secured

Back door
A hacker’s front door

A process you don’t need until you don’t do it

(Via Onze Taal, via langwich sandwich)

Mr Honey’s Dictionary/Winfried Honigs Wörterbuch

Sometimes, in bookshops in Erlangen and Nuremberg, I’ve seen CD-ROMs with a German-English economics dictionary by one Winfried Honig, who calls himself Mr Honey. He can be found by Google and investigated further.

One of his dictionaries is online as part of Project Gutenberg: Mr Honey’s First Business Dictionary (2001, 2002). Apparently his work has been fed into LEO too, so maybe this is superfluous. Apparently he taught at the Fachhochschule Nürnberg for 25 years.

In the 1970s Winfried Honig, known as Mr Honey, started compiling and
computerizing English/German dictionaries, partly to provide his
colleagues and students with samples of the language of business,
partly to collect convincing material for his State Department of
Education to illustrate the need for special dictionaries covering
the special language used in different branches of the industry.

In 1997 Mr Honey began to feed his wordlists into the LEO Online
Dictionary of the Technische Universität München,
and in 2000 into the DicData Online Dictionary

While more than 500.000 daily visitors use the online versions,
CD-ROM versions are available, see:
Mr. Honey would be pleased to answer questions sent to
Permission granted to use the word-lists, on condition that links to
the sites of LEO, DICDATA and MR HONEY are maintained.
Mr Honey’s services are non-commercial to promote the language of
business both in English and in German.

Here’s a sample:
gezeichnetes Kapital subscribed capital
gezogene auf die eröffnende Bank drawn on the issuing bank
gilt als is deemed to be
girieren endorse
Girogläubiger creditor by endorsement
Girokonto (US) checking account
Girosystem cheque system
Gläubiger creditor
Gläubigerausschuss board of creditors
Gläubigerausschuss committee of creditors
gleich equal
gleichartig similar
gleiches Akkreditiv similar credit
gleichlautend in conformity
gleichlautende Abschrift true copy
Gliederung der Ausgaben classification of expenditures
Glücksspiel gambling
Glücksspiel game of chance

Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache

Die Zeit provides Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache online – reported by Handakte WebLAWg

An der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften wurde Anfang März 2003 durch das Projekt “Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (DWDS)” das größte frei zugängliche, online abfragbare Wörterbuch für die deutsche Sprache zur Testbenutzung frei geschaltet.