Datenbank zu UN-Kaufrecht in sieben Sprachen
CISG in seven languages

Two professors have developed a database in German, English, French, Spranish, Italian, Dutch and Chinese. Once you have selected the article, you can compare up to seven languages at the same time.

This was the last link of the week at JIPS (German) before their summer break started, and it has appeared on a couple of mailing lists.

JIPS also recommended the European Law Network.

bq. These pages offer you a direct access to most resources available online about European law in the broader sense i.e, union and national law. From here, you can access. : 40 legal sites at the european level, 27 national Consititutions, over 30 national assemblies, 60 Supreme Courts, a dozen journals, and more than 40 blawgs that talk about national or European law. For each link we indicate what languages are available using the Commission’s terminology (EN ; English, FR ; Français, DE ; Deutsch, PL ; Polski…). The first two letters systematically indicate the member state where the link leads to. We are aware that they are not complete and will regularly update them.

Their blogroll even includes Transblawg, and also a number of other interesting-sounding blogs in various languages I am going to take a look at. There are many other interesting links, including links to eight online journals.

PC terms / Politisch korrekt schreiben

I have translated a couple of things on transsexuals this year – I found Wikipedia helpful for vocabulary – so I was interested to see Joey DiGuglielmo in the Washington Blade Blog responding to criticisms of supposedly offensive terminology.

The Washington Blade had reported on a man who underwent a sex-change operation, later officially took the name Michelle and more recently was sent to a men’s prison. There was criticism of the use of the term sex-change operation instead of gender reassignment surgery, and of the reference to the subject as a man at the beginning of the story. But of course, if there had been no reference to the original sex, the story would have been harder to follow.

DiGlugliemo (pertinently, I am not sure if Joey is male or female, despite a photo…) makes some other remarks about PC language changes:

I also fail to understand why ‘sex change’ has become pejorative. To me, it seems like one of those things that just is what it is. Perhaps to some transgender people, it has a frightening, ill-informed, 1950s-era ‘Glen or Glenda’-type connotation.
…But there are other words and terms that have become un-P.C. despite the fact that, in my opinion, they were perfectly fine to begin with. I find it silly and pretentious when people insist on flight attendant over stewardess, administrative assistant over secretary, or ‘passed away’ instead of died. Are these nothing more than silly semantics games society plays to make individuals feel better?
I waited tables for years, both during and after college and though the canned greeting was supposed to be, ‘Hi, I’m Joey and I’ll be your server this evening,’ I preferred waiter. I had no illusions that my job was any more glamorous than what I was doing: waiting tables!

Meanwhile, Il quaderno dei vocabuli has picked up a story of a few weeks ago in which Silvio Berlusconi referred to Margaret Thatcher in distinctly non-PC, albeit admiring, tones: Independent article.

Gnocca, pronounced “nyokka”, is a vulgar term meaning “vulva” and is the standard word used by construction workers, white-van drivers and long-serving Italian prime ministers for any attractive woman who crosses their path. “The typology is composed of elements of the female sex with a high degree of attractiveness,” deconstructs one faintly priapic, cod-academic Italian website. “The fundamental characteristic of the gnocca is to grab from common mortals whatever she needs to satisfy her desires.” A definition that many former Tory cabinet ministers would probably go along with.

(Washington Blade story via The Lexicographer’s Rules)

Euromyths revisited/Euromythen

Certain Ideas of Europe, the Economist’s Europe blog, reports that a new article on Euromyths has appeared on the European Commission’s website. It lists the most amusing, including:

Nutty EU officials want to rename Bombay mix Mumbai mix—to make the snack politically correct. They say the Indian city of Bombay has been called Mumbai since 1995 so the old name could offend because it dates back to colonial rule.

The euro made me impotent…now a German man claims the switch to the single currency has had a similar dire impact on his personal life—robbing him of his manhood.

Apparently there was a Euromyth a few years ago that motorway bridges have to bear a bust of Jacques Delors, and another that there were to be warning signs on mountains telling climbers that they were high up.

Sadly, this reflects what the British press either believes or thinks its readers want to believe about the EU. Some of the bureaucracy has gone too far, but some has also been reversed. So here is an Independent article of March 2007 on 50 reasons to love the European Union.

Earlier entries:
Language and the EU

“Hippoglossus hippoglossus & chips twice please, luv” / Clupea harengus schon wieder?

WiFi misuse prosecution/Polizei verbessert ihre Statistik

In London wurde (wieder) ein Mann verhaftet, der auf einer Gartenmauer saß und über seinen Laptop eine ungesicherte Internetverbindung mitbenutzte.

The Times reports that a man has been arrested for using a laptop in the street to log onto a wireless broadband connection. This is a breach of the Computer Misuse Act and the Communications Act.

Apparently the first conviction was in 2005. At that time a man had been seen in the neighbourhood before and a local reported him to the police.

When police examined his laptop, they discovered that he had logged on several times before. He was found guilty of dishonestly obtaining an electronic communication service and his computer and wireless card were confiscated, he was fined £500 and given a 12-month conditional discharge.

So if you see someone hanging around in the street, there are now more evil intentions to suspect them of.

LATER NOTE: The German American Law Journal blog takes up this topic from the US side. It links to an article in arts technica that shows the situation can be similar in the USA.

Diploma / M.A. in legal translation, City University London

City University has recently announced, apparently, that its diploma / M.A. course on legal translation is not starting till autumn 2008. Meanwhile, there are a number of modules that can be taken separately as CPD (The ITI has recently been encouraging members to make a list of measures of CPD they undertake each year, although I don’t think this is an official thing like it is for lawyers).

The modules are offered in the following language combinations:

* English into French
* English into German
* English into Spanish
* English into Italian
* French into English
* German into English
* Spanish into English
* Italian into English

Deportation to Italy / Deportation nach Italien

Große Aufregung in der britischen Öffentlichkeit, dass der 26jährige Learco Chindamo, der im Alter von 6 Jahren nach England kam, nicht nach Italien deportiert werden kann.

I don’t usually comment on hot issues, but I find this really bizarre. How can so many people think it’s disgusting not to be able to return someone to Italy even though he has lived in Britain most of his life and doesn’t speak Italian? And I haven’t even been reading the ‘gutter press’. Chindamo will not be released if he is shown to be a danger to the public; if he is released, it will be on licence, so that he can be returned to prison.

Here’s the original story from Wikipedia:

The Wo-Sing-Wo gang, which was mainly Filipino, aspired to be a junior version of the Triads. Twelve of the gang’s members, led by 15-year old Learco Chindamo, a pupil at another school who claimed to be a Triad member, went to St. George’s school on 8 December 1995, to “punish” a 13-year old boy who had quarrelled with a Filipino pupil. Lawrence saw them attack the boy with an iron bar and went outside to remonstrate with the gang. Chindamo punched him and then stabbed him in the chest, and he died in hospital that evening.

Chindamo was convicted of murder at the Old Bailey in October 1996, after a unanimous decision by the jury, and jailed indefinitely (as he was a juvenile at the time). He has always claimed that he was the victim of mistaken identity, and that the real killer was another boy who had borrowed his jacket, although he does not deny that he was present.

Here’s the Independent on the subject:

Upon his release (he is eligible for parole next year), the Home Office wants him to be deported to Italy, a country he has not lived in since he was five. But a court has ruled that this would breach European law.
The decision provoked outrage among the Lawrence family, ministers and the Conservative Party, whose leader, David Cameron, described the case as “a glaring example of what is going wrong in our country”.

How can so many people expect something so ridiculous? (There is more to the story, but it doesn’t change my point). No doubt it will all be blamed on the EU as usual.

EUlawblog comments on an OpenEurope press release which sees this as revealing problems in the EU harmonization of justice and home affairs. And here’s another analysis of the Daily Mail version of the story.

The Little Translator / Geschichte eines Übersetzers

Once upon a time in Translatorland there lived a little Translator. Not a nasty, dirty, horrid little Translator such as you might find living in a horrible little hole in the ground, but a good-natured friendly little Translator who lived in a nice little flat in the capital of Translatorland, Wordtown.

The Little Translator was not actually a Translator as such yet, but he had been to Translator University and had done many exams, and was looking for his first job in Wordtown.

One day he saw an advert in the Wordtown Chronicle, “In-House Translator Required – Opportunity”. “In-House Translator, that could be me!”, the Little Translator said to himself. How happy the Little Translator was! He rushed excitedly about the flat, uttering little cries of joy, gathering up his CV and certificates and all his Important Papers and this and that, and went to the address.

This is the beginning of Part 1 of what is to date a four-part serial story about a naive newly trained translator entering the real world of translation. The author is Mervyn Henderson in Spain, and the site is ProZ.

(Thanks to Marc)


I was checking up that my guess was correct – selbst gelesen, genehmigt und unterschrieben – they’re not all in Dieter Meyer, not even b.b., but that’s here – when I came across a statement about coffin stealing:

So entschloss ich mich, im Februar 2000 schon, abends den Sarg in meinen Kombi zu laden – am Besten im Dunkeln – und ihn zur Schreinerei Kunz zu bringen. Die Dinger waren ja wie neu. Und ob der Verblichene mit oder ohne Kiste die Rutsche “ins Fegefeuer” bewältigt, das ist doch egal. Die Angehörigen wissen ja nicht einmal, wie das bei uns normal zugeht. Denen ist das doch egal. Und den Toten ja ohnehin. Versteht sich doch von selbst, oder?
Nun ja, die Särge wurden dann beim Kunz noch mal überpoliert und dann für 4000,- DM im Schnitt – üblicher Preis heute – verkauft, richtig so mit Mehrwertsteuer, Rechnung und so. Hat dem Kunz nur halt viel Arbeit gespart, und natürlich das ganze Material, Holz, Lacke und so. Und der Erlös wurde zwischen uns geteilt.

Es ist richtig, dass ich zweimal mit so ‘nem Sarg hinter mir im Auto kontrolliert worden bin. Das war Karfreitag 2001 und dann noch mal am 1. Juli 2001 – da ist mir so ein Heini reingefahren in das Auto. Die letzten Särge habe ich in den Fällen Arndt und Hoeriz “geklemmt”.
Selbst gelesen, genehmigt, und unterschrieben: Noethen

This turns out to be a mock trial staged with trainee lawyers in Frankfurt am Main. It’s based on a genuine case but has a theatrical purpose rather than a training purppose. It even has an English page, although not of the defendant’s statement.

Wikipedia cited in court /Wikipedia in Urteilen zitiert

Telemedicus has an entry on Wikipedia in deutschen Gerichtsurteilen. It refers to the German Wikipedia article on the subject. It says that the Bundesverfassungsgericht doesn’t cite Wikipedia, but it does cite weblogs (link to LAWgical), on the topic of dual nationality for Turks.

Here is the Unabhängiger Verwaltungssenat des Landes Oberösterreich:

Der offene Boden zwischen Gemüsepflanzen, Blumen, Sträuchern und Bäumen wird hierbei mit organischem Material wie etwa Rasenschnitt, Beinwellblättern oder anderen Gartenabfällen bedeckt (vgl.

There is an English Wikipedia article on the same subject, and a link from there leads to an article on when it is appropriate to quote Wikipedia, plus footnotes discussing various citations.

For the UK, I did a search of BAILII and found only 11 hits. Some were for the European Court of Human Rights, and the others were cases where one of the parties cited Wikipedia.

The ECHR does cite Wikipedia on the ethnic composition of Latvia.