Fürth sites/Fürther Webseiten

I seem to have missed the Kantinenblogger, who posts photos of his canteen meals every day, mainly from Fürth, but also from Nuremberg, Munich and Auburn Hills (I assume the large proportion of sweetcorn kernels is a matter of choice).

(Discovered from print edition of Fürther Nachrichten)

Another site that has started is about the natural surroundings: www.natuerlich-fuerth.de

In the Stadtzeitung, the Oberbürgermeister reports on how many birds have been seen along the railway line: the black stork (Schwarzstorch), nightingale (Nachtigall), green-footed moorhens (Grünfüßige Teichhühner), the golden oriole (Pirol) and the curlew (Großer Brachvogel).

I wasn’t hopeful of seeing nightingales, a search for the black stork has failed so far – have seen a kingfisher though – I doubt the curlew will be strolling around close, but I was interested by the green-footed moorhen – until I realized that all moorhens are green-footed.

Here is a juvenile moorhen hiding its feet:

and here a muskrat (they must have heard there is no price on their heads at the moment):

Lawsuit, Shmawsuit/Yiddisch

Judge Alex Kozinski and Eugene Volokh on the use of Yiddish in court decisions:

Searching through the LEXIS legal opinions database reveals that “chutzpah” (sometimes also spelled “chutzpa,” “hutzpah,” or “hutzpa”) has appeared in 231 reported court decisions. Curiously, all but eleven of them have been filed since 1980. There are two possible explanations for this. One is that during the last 21 years there has been a dramatic increase in the actual amount of chutzpah in the United States–or at least in the U.S. legal system. This explanation seems possible, but unlikely.

The more likely explanation is that Yiddish is quickly supplanting Latin as the spice in American legal argot. As recently as 1970, a federal court not only felt the need to define “bagels”; it misdefined them, calling them “hard rolls shaped like doughnuts.” All right-thinking people know good bagels are rather soft. (Day-old bagels are rather hard, but right-thinking people do not eat day-olds, even when they are only 10 cents each.) We’ve come a long way since then.

Mind you, there’s no comparison with US language outside lawsuits.

This is a 1993 article, Lawsuit, Shmawsuit, available online.

(Via Ruth Morris, who writes on Interpreting in legal contexts and Interpreting in the Israel legal system – and has published on the same topic in England and Wales)


LexMonitor is a sort of US blawg portal, like JuraBlogs on steroids. As reported by Kevin O’Keefe in Real Lawyers Have Blogs, it has just ‘soft launched’ (seems to mean launched in a beta version).

LexMonitor is a free daily review of law blogs and journals highlighting prominent legal discussion as well as the lawyers and other professionals participating in this conversation.

Pulling from nearly 2,000 sources and 5,000 authors, LexMonitor will hopefully shine a light on the ongoing conversation among thought leaders in the law for the benefit of the legal profession and the public at large.

Like putting in the sidewalks on a college campus after watching where the students leave paths, we’ll refine the site and add features based on how it’s used and the feedback we receive from you.

Clicking around, I found a translation company blog on Translation for Lawyershere.

Language blogs/Sprachblogs

eduFire has an entry on The Top 21 Language Bloggers on the Web (via languagehat).

This is about learning languages and presenting a multitude of languages, rather than about linguistics, so Language Log isn’t there, for example.

It’s also a bit of a mystery that Tim Ferriss’s blog made the list on account of one sole post: How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour (Plus: A Favor).

My favourite tip on language learning from that post is that you get translations in a given language of sentences like ‘The apple is red’ and ‘It is John’s apple’, work out how many obstacles the language presents in comparison with your own (including pronunciation), and then if there are too many obstacles, you just don’t learn the language. This would have saved me a long time with Turkish. But on the other hand, it presupposes elements like subject, object, verb and noun cases (why Ferriss puts off learning Russian!).

People love discussing how to learn languages. Probably the root of machine translation is here.


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)

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

Under the heading Somer is y-going out, some wise advice for all of us:


By the blood and nayles and bones of Our Lord, how swyving dare any man to make japeryes of Britney de Speres? Considereth, ye churles, how many sorwes hath y-flocked Britney-ward. Her aunt hath perisshed, and eek she hath tasted the wo that is in mariage, and she hath two swyving enfauntes for the which she must care. Ywis, her hosbond she founde to be nat but an dronklewe man, and a foule adulterer, and nowe the custodie of the children is in the proces of the courtes of the realme.

Machine translation for weblogs / Maschinelle Übersetzung für Weblogs

At Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin O’Keefe asks ‘Is automatic translation for law blogs useful?‘ and comes up with the answer ‘No’.

He refers to Des Walsh’s entry ‘Is Automatic Translation for Business Blogs Useful?‘.

I would just let people use their own automatic translation system, on Google for example, to get the gist. I think using the little flags on your site invites trouble. I remember jurabilis had this once and it translated Alexander Hartmann as Alexander hard man. Well, I suppose it could have been worse.

Thanks to Ed. at Blawg Review.

Translating general terms of business / AGB Übersetzen

An interesting entry in the German law blog Obiter Dictum (a famous old German Latinism) on German lawyers translating general terms of business into German, and the weaknesses of the dictionaries: AGB from Germany.

Klagt der ausländische Vertragspartner dagegen in Deutschland, wird es auf die Übersetzung kaum ankommen, da bekanntlich die Gerichtssprache (wenn nicht sorbisch) deutsch ist und die Version in der fremden Sprache zu bloßen Informationszwecken ohne verbindlichen Inhalt deklariert ist.
Trotzdem möchte ein ausländischer Geschäftspartner natürlich wissen, welchen Regeln er sich unterwerfen soll. Deshalb werden viele AGBs ins Englische übersetzt – und um dem Handelspartner in den USA, in China oder Indien zu demonstrieren, mit welch deutscher Gründlichkeit hierzulande gearbeitet wird. Und weil manchmal das Geld (oder die Einsicht der Geschäftsleitung in die Schwierigkeit der Materie) fehlt, übersetzt nicht ein vereidigter Übersetzer, der sein Handwerk gelernt hat, sondern die eigene Rechtsabteilung, das Sekretariat oder – im schlimmsten Fall – der Praktikant. Das bißchen Vertrags- und Gewährleistungsrecht wird es in Brüssel, Baku oder Bogotá schließlich auch geben.

This blog will shortly be closing for a couple of weeks, so just a few brief remarks.

I like the thought of the certified translator knowing his or her stuff. Say no more.

Of course, a translator may not practise law. A lot of adaptation to other legal systems amounts to that, and presumably the lawyer may attempt it.

I normally translate contracts where the German courts have jurisdiction and the German-language version takes precedence. I would therefore think that ‘rescission’ or ‘withdrawal’ would not be such a problem if the clause in question becomes relevant.

There is some discussion of the difficulty of translating Nacherfüllung, Unternehmer or Niederlassung.

Oder er rätselt darüber, wie man ein dem common law in dieser Form nicht bekanntes Institut wie die Nacherfüllung so in Worte faßt, daß der Anwalt der Gegenseite sich nicht den Bauch vor Lachen hält oder das übersetzte Papier entnervt in den Papierkorb wirft. Die von deutscher Seite vorgeschlagene Übersetzung supplementary performance für die Nacherfüllung wird doch nicht tatsächlich identisch sein mit der ganz anderen Formulierung des Uniform Commercial Code, der ein Right to Cure a Breach of Contract kennt?

I would think Nacherfüllung is law in the EU and is called cure, which conveniently matches the US term. I don’t mind supplementary performance, though – I’ve got used to it.