Carob : Translating
Not-a-blog archives, translating entries: October 2003
Hallowe'en could do with a German name, but it's really too late now the festival has already become so popular here. Glosses like Allerheiligen-Vorabend just don't trip off the tongue. Hexennacht is a synonym for Walpurgisnacht, or May Day Eve. One word you do see a lot in German writings about the subject, not to mention on posters advertising events, is Geisternacht. But the strongest candidate has to be the English word minus the apostrophe: Halloween -- pronounced surprisingly correctly.
Update 1: As Max Zorno points out, we've got it wrong. Today is the day we should be congratulating the inhabitants of Vienna with a loud Hallo Wien!
Update 2: Verein Deutsche Sprache, which the malicious might dub an ersatz Académie française for German, has predictably issued this press release protesting against the "American children's festival of Halloween" [sic] with the knock-out argument, "schließlich feierten die Amerikaner ja auch nicht den Martinstag" [after all, the Americans don't celebrate St. Martin's]. As if Hallowe'en were a conspiracy to impose anything on anybody against their will!
The UN's German Translation Section has put a four-language (English-French-German-Spanish) terminology database online. The database, DETERM, is here:
There is a disclaimer indicating that this is a trial version, and the URL has that 'subject to change without notice' look about it. If it gets moved, you can also find it by following the Terminology link on the German Translation Section home page.
I've always heard it called Euroenglish, but New Scientist has another variant. The 18 October offers this advice for people wanting to work around Europe (on p. 55): Get fluent in EurEnglish. They go on to quote someone identified only as 'Valerie': I worked in a lab in Hamburg with scientists from all over the world. English was the common language, but not as I know it -- I'm Scottish. We ended up speaking a pidgin version of English, mirroring phrases used in other languages, so statements such as 'for the past week' would turn into 'since one week ago'. Sounds familiar!
Denglish strikes again
Just came across this outstanding German-language article by Marketing expert Christian Rothe alias Zorno, on the use of English in German promotional material: Ein Druck auf Taste Europe lässt die Happy Digits tanzen.
A brief word of explanation for the German-challenged: Lufthansa, the German airline, used the English slogan 'Taste Europe' to promote their pan-European on-board cuisine in Germany. Trouble is, 'Taste' is also a German word meaning a key on a keyboard or a pushbutton, leaving Germans puzzling whether 'Taste Europe' is a culinary invitation or something they should press, presumably with their Happy Digits (bonus points from Deutsche Telekom).
UPDATE: The 'Taste Europe' article reminded Caro of another, this time in English. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Not In Too Many German Ads!, says translator Jack Willhoft in an article on .
International Accounting Standards online
Excellent news for financial translators: Monday's edition of the EU Official Journal features Regulation (EC) 1725/2003 in German, English and all the other EU languages, with an annex containing "all international accounting standards in existence on 14 September 2002 except IAS 32, IAS 39 and the related interpretations". Thanks to Robin Bonthrone for announcing this on the Finanztrans and Partnertrans mailing lists.
Incidentally: Combine these two features and you have the perfect rhyme helper. Something white that rhymes with 'know'? Search OneLook for *ow:white. It works for non-lame examples too, and I'm told it's also good for crosswords.
German Agrovoc no more
You may know Agrovoc, the multilingual (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish) agricultural thesaurus run by the FAO. Until very recently, Cirad had a gateway to a database of the same name that covered English, French, German and Spanish. That gateway has now disappeared, leaving us German translators out in the cold. Shame.