John Cage 2 thallophytes

When I posted on John Cage’s 4’33” recently, I did think to myself ‘I couldn’t have written that’.

Now Friedrich Lenz has an entry discussing the issue of copyrighting silence. He concludes that the work is protected by trade mark concepts. He also gives a link to the Wikipedia entry on John Cage, which has further information on this work and on Cage’s visit to an anechoic chamber at Harvard University (he was disappointed to find he heard things).

Invoices for freelances in Germany

From January 1, 2004, the requirements of invoices presented in Germany have changed. This came up in the comments to an earlier entry that mentioned an article on the BDÜ website. These requirements apply particularly if you want to set off an invoice against VAT.

First query: what form of electronic signature will be accepted? Does it require extra hardware or would one of the two or three forms of signature in Adobe Acrobat suffice?

It looks to me as if you do need the hardware, so I will go back to sending invoices on paper and wait for more advice. Here is some information in German).

Another requirement is that invoices are numbered consecutively. Information for German lawyers in two PDF files (here and here) at the Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer site is partly relevant to translators. (via There is a transitional period until 30 June 2004 in which this rule need not be followed. (Does this period apply to the electronic signature too?)

Student law guide in Times Online

The Times Online law section today (registration should be free) has a big section for students today, including information on barristers/solicitors, traineeships/pupillages, applications, media law, magistrates’ legal advisers, and also ‘the top ten’ legal thrillers. The term ‘justices’ legal adviser’ was new to me; it apparently means anyone who is doing the kind of things a justices’ clerk does but is not a clerk – so presumably there is one Clerk to the Justices per court, and the rest are trainees or legal advisers. A Google search produced a lot of documents that assumed the term was known, as did a search at the Department for Constitutional Affairs.
(Via Handakte WebLAWg)

Pronouncing English words in German texts

Gail Armstrong of openbrackets recently mentioned a subject that sometimes irritates me: how do I, as a native speaker of English, pronounce English words that have entered the German language and are pronounced ‘wrongly’?

bq. The only times I’ve failed to understand what for the love of Pierre a French person was saying have been when English words were involved.

bq. I once spent many minutes talking with someone about Dire Straits and another group called Deer Straats, certain that we were speaking of two different bands, and so struck by the similarities. I’m still looking for a recording by another band called Tallkeen Eds.

bq. I have regular bouts of panic when having to ask for an American product. Upon entering KFC (ka eff say), say, does one order a byoockette or a bouquet, and is it salade de chou or ze slow on the side? Who knows.

On the whole, I pronounce the words the way the Germans do, but when it comes to the products, problems arise. For instance, there is a chocolate and caramel bar called Twix in Britain. In Germany it was originally called Raider. However, this was pronounced not raider but rider. Later, they changed the name to Twix, for perhaps obvious reasons, and there was a much-repeated exhortation in their TV ads ‘Raider is now Twix’. Yet they laughed at me when I tried to buy a peanut bar called Nuts, pronouncing it ‘Noots’. Vick had its spelling changed to Wick, of course.

I have sometimes annoyed people by repeating all the English words in the TV advertisements in order to improve my German accent. I still find it hard to pronounce the last word in the shampoo name ‘Head and Shoulders’ – something like shooowwlders – preceded by ‘hett ‘ ent’. The Douglas saying ‘Come in and find out’ (apparently taken by many Germans to mean ‘Come in and then manage to find your way out again’) is pronounced staccato, with lots of glottal stops: Come ‘ in ‘ and ‘ find ‘ out. (See report by PapaScott).

Today I heard on the radio that John Carey won the Iowa primary, but later I found out it was John Kerry.

Austrian lawyers’ cookbook

Manz Verlag has recently published a book (in German) in which Austrian lawyers write about their favourite meals and give their favourite recipes.
Title: Wenn’s Recht kocht, by Rainer. MANZ 2003. 140 Seiten. Geb.
EUR 19,90, ISBN 3-214-07078-9

Surely there is an opening here for U.S., British and German lawyers? Well, needless to say someone got there first (well, in 2003 too):

bq. May It Please the Palate…the first ever statewide Bench and Bar cookbook. These beautiful books contain over 570 recipes from members of the legal profession around the state. They make wonderful gifts for your staff, your clients and yourself. Not only will you be giving a quality cookbook, but proceeds from the book will help fund Alabama’s Volunteer Lawyers Programs, which work to provide access to justice for Alabama’s poorest citizens.
To Order: Click here to print your order form.
Complete the information requested and mail it with your check made payable to the VLP, to
Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program
P.O. Box 671
Montgomery, Alabama 36101.

They also give some addresses where you can pick up the book in person.

And in 2002, Justice is Served was published.

More famous is the Legal Seafoods Cookbook (restaurant motto: ‘If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal!’), but I’m not sure that qualifies.

LATER NOTE: In a comment, Rainer Langenhan of Handakte WebLAWg directs my attention to a German lawyers’ cookbook, dated 2002 (first appeared in 1999): Anwaltsgerichte. Anwaltsgerichte, like Schnellgerichte, is another of those words with two meanings. How could I have missed this gem? I don’t think I will rush to buy any of these, however.

English freezing injunctions recognized in Switzerland

The (free) newsletter Jusletter (order here) briefly summarizes two (not free!) articles on the recognition of English freezing injunctions/orders in Switzerland:

bq. Dr.iur. Martin Bernet, Die Vollstreckbarerklärung englischer Freezing Orders in der Schweiz
PD Dr.iur. Felix Dasser, Englische Freezing Injunction vor dem schweizerischen Vollstreckungsrichter

Freezing injunctions used to be called Mareva injunctions. They allow the court to freeze the assets of a defendant, even if the defendant lives abroad. Apparently they can also apply to assets abroad.

(Also mentioned by Handakte WebLAWg).

Neither abstract translates or defines the term. I think this may be the decision. It says:

bq. Die “Freezing Injunction” oder “Freezing Order” (nach älterer Terminologie
“Mareva Injunction” oder “Mareva Order”) ist eine vorsorgliche
Sicherungsmassnahme englischen Rechts mit dem Hauptinhalt eines persönlichen Verfügungsverbots über Vermögenswerte in einem bestimmten Umfang (Peter A. Straub, Englische Mareva Injunctions und Anton Piller Orders, SZIER 1992, S. 525 ff; André Bloch/Martin Hess, Discussion of the protective measures available under Swiss law [attachment and provisional protective measure] with particular regard to the recognition and enforcement of an English
Mareva [“freezing”] injunction in Switzerland, SZW 1999, S. 166 ff., 171;
Martin Bernet, Englische Freezing [Mareva] Orders – Praktische Fragen der
Anerkennung und Vollstreckung in der Schweiz, in: Spühler [Hrsg.],
Internationales Zivilprozess- und Verfahrensrecht, Zürich 2001, S. 51 ff.;
Stephen V. Berti, Translating the “Mareva”- The enforcement of an English
Freezing Order in Zurich, in: “nur, aber immerhin”, Festgabe für Anton K.
Schnyder zum 50. Geburtstag, Zürich 2002, S. 11 ff.).

bq. War ursprünglich Tatbestandsvoraussetzung einer Freezing Injunction, dass die
blockierten Vermögenswerte innerhalb der “jurisdiction” des High Court
präsent waren, hat die englische Rechtsprechung diese Voraussetzung später
aufgegeben und erkannt, dass dem Antragsgegner auch untersagt werden kann,
über sein weltweites Vermögen zu verfügen

Guide to names of ASCII special characters MISCELLANEA.

Well, it calls itself a pronunciation guide, but it’s about how to refer to punctuation and special characters: ASCII special characters pronunciation guide. It’s at Westminster University in London. Here, for example, are terms referring to #:

bq. crosshatch, pound, pound sign, number, number sign, sharp, octothorpe, hash, (garden) fence, crunch, mesh, hex, flash, grid, pig-pen, tictactoe, scratch (mark), (garden) gate, hak, oof, rake, sink&, corridor&, unequal, punch mark

There was a discussion on FLEFO at CompuServe recently about the origin of the word octothorp(e). Here it is said to come from ‘Bell System’. Here’s a possible etymology: a combination of ‘eight points’ and the surname of Jim Thorpe, an athlete.

The Octothorp Press produces a more fanciful etymology, from Robert Bringhurst:

bq. The word “octothorp” is so obscure that isn’t even in the Oxford English Dictionary (first or second editions). Here’s how the typographic stylist and philosopher Robert Bringhurst defines “octothorp” in his brilliant Elements of Typographic Style (p. 282):

bq. Otherwise known as the numeral sign. It has also been used as a symbol for the pound avoirdupois, but this usage is now archaic. In cartography, it is also a symbol for village: eight fields around a central square, and this is the source of its name. Octothorp means eight fields.

Website for media law (England and Wales)

In her latest Internet Newsletter for Lawyers (you probably need to subscribe to get it), Delia Venables mentions some specialist sites. David Price, Solicitors and Advocates, have a site with a lot of basic information about media law (defamation, breach of confidence and privacy, malicious falsehood, contempt of court, and copyright). At first I thought ‘Solicitors and Advocates’ meant they were in Scotland, but they are in Fleet Street and the ‘advocates’ refers to David Price himself, who is a solicitor, barrister and solicitor-advocate. So the firm calls itself a ‘one-stop shop’, because there is no need to instruct barristers. It has a newsletter too.

Journal of Specialised Translation

Taccuino di traduzione points out that there is a new Journal of Specialised Translation. It appears to be a solely online publication and is multilingual. There’s an article by Matthew Leung from the City University of Hong Kong on assessing parallel texts in legal translation. I haven’t read it yet. Skimming it, I had the impression it is mainly concerned with bilingual legislation, such as in fact exists in Hong Kong now, which would explain the quotations from Susan Sarcevic’s book ‘A New Approach to Legal Translation’, which also has that emphasis.

A ‘special feature’ by Chris Durban, who is a freelance translator in Paris, summarizes a round-table discussion with three buyers of financial translations in France (original available online in French).

Acolada Unilex dictionaries on CD-ROM

A couple of years ago I bought the CD version of the Collins German Dictionary Unabridged (DE>EN and EN>DE, 4th ed. 1999). I have twice reported trivial inconsistencies with the paper version to Acolada, and both times I have received a new CD and a letter of thanks. It’s good to know that there’s someone looking after this CD. Of course, I suppose if they said it was the 1999 edition, they have to deliver that! Most recently I received a new CD on 7th January this year.

The dictionary runs under the same interface as the Dietl/Lorenz law dictionary. I could also have the new Ernst CD, Wörterbuch der industriellen Technik running under that interface, but I don’t use Ernst very often so I think I will get the paper DE>EN.

Among other dictionaries, Acolada also have Potonnier DE>FR and FR>DE, Wörterbuch Wirtschaft, Recht, Handel. Potonnier is a beautiful law dictionary because of all its definitions included in the entries, almost useful enough for someone who knows no French. It looks like the model of what a bilingual law dictionary should be.

The Collins dictionary is also known as Pons-Collins, because in Germany it has been (but is it still?) published by Pons, although it originated with Collins in the UK. This leads to some confusion, in that Pons has its own dictionaries that are then confused with Collins. There is a dictionary of the same size as the Collins produced by Pons in 2001, I think using the same database as Collins, but certainly different, called Pons Großwörterbuch für Experten und Universität Englisch . The cover quite clearly says ‘Vollständige Neuentwicklung’ (a completely new product), and the website adds ‘2001’. When I looked at it I had the impression that it might be more oriented towards Germans than the Collins.


Last autumn, Casio produced a small dictionary device, Sprachcomputer EW-G2000 für Deutsch und Englisch, price 249 euros. This contains three reputable dictionaries: Pons Großwörterbuch (the 2001 product mentioned above, CD dated 2002), the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (6th ed. 2000) and the Duden Deutsches Universalwörterbuch (5th ed. 2003). More information on Casio’s German site. There’s also a bigger on, EW-G2010, with the New Oxford English Thesaurus on it too, and a smaller one, EW-G100, with only the Pons and the Hornby.

It’s a shame they couldn’t have the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Apparently many Germans have fond memories of the Hornby Advanced Learners Dictionary, probably the first of its kind, which is very good too – but the LDCE, the work of a team from the beginning, is one of the best English dictionaries full stop. There was a review of the device in MDÜ 4-5/2003 – it refers to the Pons as ‘weithin bekannt’, and here again, I think the writer (Karl-Heinz Trojanus) is confusing the Pons with the Collins. – However, this device looks worth having for those who might need full language support when travelling (I have my doubts about interpreters, because I think they would need something more specialized).

Still, it’s not as bad as in the USA, where the word ‘Websters’ is not copyrighted and any dictionary can call itself a Websters. There’s a big Websters often sold off cheap in Germany that is really Random House second edition (as opposed to the newer third edition), and people probably think it’s Merriam Websters when they buy it.