BILDblog corrects some legal advice given in BILD Zeitung, quoted as follows:

Laut Artikel 195 des Bundesgesetzbuches (BGB) können Sie Fehler von Handwerkern bis zu drei Jahre nach der Dienstleistung geltend machen.

Apart from the fact that the usual period for a Werkvertrag (loosely translated as contract for work and services) is two years, the misquotation of a Paragraf (section) of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch reminds me of a howler contained in a book of standard English translations of German legal texts that is sold by a translator in Germany, where at least at one time EGBGB (Einführungsgesetz zum BGB – Introductory Act to the Civil Code) was rendered as European Civil Code (we’re still waiting for that).

(Via der winkelschreiber)

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.”

Bloody deed in Bournemouth / Kanzlei lässt Möwen töten

Drei Möwenküken auf dem Dach eines Gebäudes in Bournemouth, an der englischen Südküste, wurden auf Veranlassung von einer Anwaltskanzlei von Schädlingsbekämpfern getötet, zum Leidwesen vieler Zuschauer, u.a. aus einer anderen Kanzlei.

Under the heading Gulls ‘Strangled’ In Front Of Staff, the Bournemouth Daily Echo reports:

STAFF at offices in Bournemouth were left horrified and in tears after watching three seagull chicks killed in front of them because they were deemed a health and safety risk.
The seagull family lived on the roof of Harold G Walker solicitors in Oxford Road, Bournemouth, and the young chicks had become favourites among staff in surrounding buildings.

Apparently members of the Crown Prosecution Service were watching too.
The story was also taken up by the Law Society Gazette and RollOnFriday (the latter writes ‘No-one mention the hawk in Broadgate’, but that would be the perfect antidote, of course).

The commenters on the Daily Echo are incensed and will not use the services of Harold G Walker in future. One writes (my emphasis):

What Harold Walker has failed to grasp is the impact on the people who have witnessed this incident as it was carried out in an unprofessional manner. ProKill are incorrest to quote that they followed the guidelines as I would like to know where DEFRA state that you are allowed to stamp on a birds head. I would like to add that we are not talking once ,but for several moments so death did not come quickly to the creature, and to add insult to injury to wave at the staff who had come out of their offices in shock is just unbelievable.

There is a certain escalation in the comments.

German literary translators in the press/Die SZ und die Literaturübersetzer

An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on 2 February 2007 by Thomas Steinfeld, the editor of the arts pages, is no longer available except for subscribers: Ein Haus für Rechthaber.

It’s described in an article by Burkhard Kroeber on Apparently Steinfeld says the huge decline in literary translations into German over the past year is directly attributable to the desire of literary translators for more money: they see their work only as a financial and bureaucratic reality and give no thought to ‘cultural dialogue’, its most important feature.

Further reactions by literary translators can be found on the website of the VdÜ, the professional association for literary translators.

(Via …is a blog)

The German Times

The German Times is the name of a newspaper launched on January 19th in Berlin:

“We want to accompany Europe’s coalescence, in that we are creating a medium from Germany for all of Europe,” says Editor in Chief Bruno Waltert.
Its circulation is 50,000 and it will be distributed to all 7265 members of the parliaments of the EU’s 27 States, as well as national governments, members of the European Parliament, the EU Commission, and Europe’s prominent businessmen.

It has an English-language editor. And an ‘imprint’.

Pagan prisoners get the day off/Feiertag für Heiden im Knast

The Mail on Sunday reports that Pagan inmates are given a day off from work for Halloween.

Prison Service bosses have instructed staff to grant the convicts, who include Devil worshippers and Satanists, special privileges on Tuesday.
While fellow prisoners sew mail bags and undertake other jail work, the Pagans will be allowed to celebrate their ‘holiday’.
They can use certain artefacts, including rune stones, flexible twigs and hoodless robes, provided they are kept in their cells or worn during communal worship. Robes with hoods are banned for ‘security reasons’, however.

Obviously they will not be able to wear this Tchibo hoodie (Kapuzinerjacke), then.

The Home Office papers reveal that Pagans can choose a day off work on two dates from eight of their festivals each year.
These include the Spring Equinox on March 20, the Midsummer Solstice on June 21 and Hallowe’en – the Samhain, or Summer’s End, as it was known in Celtic times – on October 31. Christian prisoners are allowed three days off – on Good Friday, Easter Day and Christmas Day.
Muslims are entitled to the most time off – 26 days to pray, including the fast of Ramadan. Buddhists get three days, Hindus ten and Jews seven.

(Via Criminal Solicitor Dot Net and thanks to Paul for the hoodie)

Translation in The Guardian


Eva Braun wollte zehn weitere Frauen haben, die aber wegen der totalen Mobilmachung … nicht sofort zu Stelle waren. Darüber beklagte sie sich bei Hitler. Der war empört und herrschte Bormann zornig an: ‚Ich stampfe ganze Divisionen aus dem Boden. Da müßte es doch ein leichtes sein, ein paar Mädels für meinen Berghof zu beschaffen! Organisieren Sie das!‘“


…on one occasion, he flew into a rage when it proved difficult to hire 10 more serving girls. “I stamp whole divisions into the dirt!” screamed Hitler. “And I can’t get a few more serving sluts for the Berghof?”


Als es um die Aufmachung der Damen ging, scherzte Hitler über Eva Brauns Lippenstift, der Spuren an der Serviette hinterließ. Lachend meinte er, jetzt, in der Kriegszeit, stelle man Lippenstiftersatz aus Tierkadavern her.“


He would laugh at Eva’s lipstick on a serviette and then say, ‘During wartime lipstick is produced out of dead bodies.'”

Bild is not the source of the Guardian quotes, but it looks as if the German both report on has got mangled a bit (bold by MM).

(Thanks to the GerNet list on the ITI)