Dewey & LeBoeuf raspberry via Blackberry / Aber wie war die deutsche Übersetzung?

Above the law reports this exchange by Blackberry at Dewey & Leboeuf:

From: Ralph C. Ferrara
To: DL All Attorneys – US
Cc: Ferrara, Ralph C.
Sent: Mon Dec 17 11:00:29 2007
Subject: German Translation – Completed

Dear All,

Thank you for your many quick responses [to a request for translation of a German document]. The translation has been completed.

Regards, Ralph

From: Stephen A. Best
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 11:02 AM
To: Ferrara, Ralph C.; DL All Attorneys – US
Subject: Re: German Translation – Completed

Zieg Heil!!!!!!

Sent from my Blackberry Wireless Handheld

This led to great excitement in the comments both there and on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Interesting that you write to all attorneys to get a German translation.

Thanks to Ed. at Blawg Review for the tipoff)

You’ve heard of The Avengers – now it’s The Linguists

The Linguists – A Very Foreign Language Film

Here is some blurb from an email (via Forensic Linguistics Mailing List)

We are nothing short of elated to announce that our documentary feature
THE LINGUISTS was selected to world premiere in the newly
minted “Spectrum: Documentary Spotlight” category at the 2008 Sundance
Film Festival.

THE LINGUISTS is the first documentary supported by the National Science
Foundation to ever make it to Sundance.

The trailer is at Here’s a brief synopsis:

It is estimated that of 7,000 languages in the world, half will be gone by
the end of this century.

THE LINGUISTS follows David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, scientists
racing to document languages on the verge of extinction. In Siberia,
India, and Bolivia, the linguists’ resolve is tested by the very forces
silencing languages: institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest.

David and Greg’s journey takes them deep into the heart of the cultures,
knowledge, and communities at risk when a language dies.

Happy Holidays,
Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger

Ironbound Films, Inc.

In this connection, see a ridiculous BBC News article about a language that is endangered because its two last speakers have stopped talking to each other. (Can’t remember where I got the link)

Exciting foreign words / Tantenverführer

The British media are spreading lies about Germany yet again.

From today’s Guardian:

And a number of us will need to beware of what Germans call the Tantenverführer (aunt seducer) at this year’s office Christmas party, a young man of suspiciously good manners you suspect of devious motives…

Admittedly the article is by someone who wrote a whole book about odd words in foreign languages (‘Adam Jacot de Boinod is the author of Toujours Tingo published by Penguin’, another young man who may have devious motives). One wonders who gave him this one. Perhaps Mark McCrum?

Like Spinatwachtel (another rare word) in the LEO forum, I found Google suggested this was not known to German speakers:

googelt man nach “Tantenverführer” – Seiten auf Deutsch, erhält man bezeichnenderweise die Nachricht, daß es da nichts gäbe, ob man in einer anderen Sprache gucken möchte. Man klickt “ja”, und hey presto! 14 Hits, die fast alle mit diesem Buch zu tun haben.
Poodle-faker habe ich jetzt immer noch kein Gefühl für, welcher Slang ist das denn? Und kanntest du es schon, bevor du im Wörterbuch nachgeschaut hast? Ladies’ man hingegen habe ich schon gehört.

I’m not the first to comment on this. But I hope no-one gives me this for Christmas!

LATER NOTE: At Language Log, Benjamin Zimmer did a nice, if premature, piece on the author’s earlier book in 2005:

The multitudinous errors in such books should not be surprising; as Mark Liberman has reminded us, when a factoid about language is attractive enough, “the linguistic truth of the matter is beside the point.”

IAB Glossar

There was a discussion of the IAB Glossar on a translators’ mailing list recently. I was interested to know if anyone else found it useful. There came praise in the highest tones from an in-house ministry translator. I suspected the book was of most use to German civil servants who knew the topic and were working into English.

Here’s an entry on Freisetzung von Personal (click to enlarge):

It looks to me as if that definition is a definition of the German term, which happens to appear in English. The identical definition appears in the EN to DE half.

This sort of thing makes me uncomfortable. Where did they find their English definition? I’d have to research it. Dietl is completely different: in the DE to EN part, it will have a definition of Amtsgericht, for example, in both languages. And I know as the reader that that is Dietl’s definition summarizing the German situation. But the IAB approach is not good for people translating between two systems of law. If I don’t know which system is being referred to, how can I assess the quality of the suggestion?

Another thing I found odd was that the word Freistellung was not given in the garden leave sense, which is quite common nowadays, of preventing people from working out their notice.

I did post a query, but unfortunately it was misunderstood as a request for more information about gross misconduct:

Könntest Du mir ein Problem erklären, das ich mit diesen Glossaren habe: im EN>DE Teil (2004 Ausgabe) unter “gross misconduct” steht eine lange Definition auf Englisch: “gross misconduct represents a serious transgression of disciplinary rules, which is normally punished through dismissal without notice …”, ohne Quellangabe. Im DE>EN Teil steht unter grobes Fehlverhalten keine deutsche Definition, sondern genau die gleich englische Definition, wieder ohne Quellangabe. Unter “Verfehlung” steht zum dritten Mal genau die gleiche englische Definition, wieder ohne Quellangabe.

EN>DE steht “schwere, / grobe Verfehlung, grobes Fehlverhalten” als

Ich habe den Eindruck, dass hier eine Definition aus dem deutschen Arbeitsrecht steht, aber da wäre es leicht, einen Paragrafen zu nennen. Und die deutsche Fassung der Definition müsste auch zu finden sein. Das ist mit ein Grund, warum ich das Buch selten öffne, gerade weil auch ich mich mit feinen Unterschieden beschäftigen und auskennen muss. Ich habe den Eindruck, hier ist ein internes Werk, das für Deutsche Beamten gedacht ist, die deutsches ins Englische übersetzen und denen die deutschen Definitionen bekannt sind, aber die gerne Hilfe bei der englischen Formulierung hätten.

(For details of this book, see earlier entry – it’s apparently available as a CD too now)

Internet miscellany/ Vermischtes aus dem Internet

1. Try out mobile phones / Handy ausprobieren bei TryPhone (more models to be added). via Lifehacker

2. I know why I’d be worried about a referendum on the EU Treaty in the UK: it’s the British media. The Economist blog, Certain ideas of Europe, does a good job of showing them up, on the basis of a Sun article copied elsewhere, that refers to European judges as ‘unelected’ as if English judges were elected and places the ECJ in Luxembourg.

3. Audio: During the German train strike, rob-log produced a spoof ICE announcement to passengers (in German, but with a very authentic-sounding attempt at a brief English message at the end): …bitten wir kurz um Ihre Aufmerksamkeit…

The future of patent translation / Patentübersetzung nach dem Londoner Übereinkommen

Gemäß dem Londoner Übereinkommen, das 2008 in Kraft tritt, sollen weniger Übersetzungen für Patente anfallen:

Die Vertragsparteien des Übereinkommens verpflichten sich, auf die Einreichung von Übersetzungen europäischer Patente in ihre Landessprache ganz oder weitgehend zu verzichten. Für die Praxis bedeutet dies, dass Inhaber europäischer Patente künftig keine Übersetzung der europäischen Patentschrift vorlegen müssen, wenn das Patent für dem Londoner Übereinkommen angehörende EPÜ-Vertragsstaaten erteilt ist, in denen eine der EPA-Sprachen Amtssprache ist. In allen anderen Fällen ist eine vollständige Übersetzung der Patentschrift in die Landessprache nur dann vorzulegen, wenn das Patent nicht in der von dem betreffenden Staat bestimmten EPA-Sprache vorliegt. Die Einzelheiten sind in den Artikeln 1 und 2 des Übereinkommens ausgeführt.

Mit diesem Übereinkommen ist ein Durchbruch in der Sprachenfrage erzielt worden, der das europäische Patent künftig deutlich kostengünstiger machen wird.

The London Agreement is to come into force in 2008 and provides that fewer translations will be needed to register patents:

The Parties to the Agreement undertake to waive, entirely or largely, the requirement for translations of European patents to be filed in their national language. This means in practice that European patent proprietors will no longer have to file a translation of the specification for patents granted for an EPC Contracting State Party to the London Agreement and having one of the three EPO languages as an official language. Where this is not the case, they will be required to submit a full translation of the specification in the national language only if the patent is not available in the EPO language designated by the country concerned. For more details, see Articles 1 and 2 of the Agreement.

This breakthrough on the language issue will significantly reduce the cost of European patents.

RWS Holdings, a global translation company that does a large amount of patent translation, is not too concerned about this, according to the Scotsman:

The company added that an expected £1m hit from a new agreement aimed at reducing the translation costs of patents granted under the European Patent Convention, due to come into force in spring next year, would be offset by the company’s strong performance in the next financial year.

The IPKAT reports this with a dry remark (and further links):

A recent story in the Scotsman reports that RWS plan on taking a £1 million hit when the agreement kicks in, but don’t see this as being much of a problem with a turnover in excess of £46 million. The future is bright, apparently, and the loss of a few German and French translation jobs is nothing to be worried about.

Version 3 German GAAP taxonomy released / Deutsche GAAP-Taxonomie zweisprachig veröffentlicht

Robin Bonthrone reports:

Version 3 of the XBRL taxonomy of German GAAP dated 1 December 2007
has now been released. The taxonomy is available in German and
English. You can either download the native XBRL format files from
XBRL Deutschland’s website at:

or view the complete taxonomy in an online viewer at:

Select “German GAAP Version 3, GAAP module” in the list box and then
use the drop-down box to choose between German and English. You might
find it easier to have both language versions open in separate windows.

A premium quality resource brought to you by the team at XBRL
Deutschland’s Taxonomy Working Group, including F&B.

William Wilson

William Wilson was the first train driver in Germany. According to the German Wikipedia, he was born in Aberdeen. He came to Germany to drive the first train from Nuremberg to Fürth in December 1835. On the first trip he wore a top hat and tails. He was an employee of Stephenson and intended to stay for only a few months, but for some reason or other he stayed. He died in 1862 and is buried in Nuremberg.

So presumably this is him in marzipan:

You may wonder what the words Gott sei Dank are doing here. They are the cry of someone whose computer has no audio ability when clicking on the link to what I fear is the official Fürth jubilee song, Hier bin ich zuhaus.

(Unfortunately discovered via zonebattler’s homezone)