The Linguist

The Linguist 54,1

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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32 The Linguist FEBRUARY/MARCH INSTITUTE MATTERS From literature to legalese SALLY LAMM JOINS THE GERMAN SOCIETY AT A DIVERSE TRANSLATION WORKSHOP DIVISIONS & SOCIETIES another valiant attempt was made by the deutsche Bahn to stop the German society meeting in Frankfurt, but there were only two casualties, with everyone else adopting a successful plan B. and it was well worth the effort for this excellent mix of speakers. the day started with Gottfried röckelein on the subject of literary translation. Gottfried works from English into German and has covered an enormous range of subject matter. there are two main approaches to literary translation: being true to the original and targeting the text to the reader. Gottfried favours the latter. he took us through various difficulties, such as the different concepts of time and morality, the need to decide who is saying Sie and who is using Du, technical inaccuracies in the original, and the degree of political correctness required by the publishing house. publishers and editors also have an enormous say and, in his experience, there is an inevitable degree of 'dumbing down' at the editorial stage. sadly, we heard again that it is not possible to make a living from literary translation. Gottfried was witty, modest and inspiring, and left us with a feeling of enormous respect and admiration for anyone embarking on work of this kind. next came isabelle thorman, who attempted to compress a semester's worth of lectures on German legalese into an hour-long talk. she began with some horribly convoluted sentences. some should have been expressed more simply, but not all could have been. many are obviously designed to lead the reader astray, including Beabsichtigt wird die Vermeidung künftiger Abwicklungsverluste durch Prämienanpassungen, which simply means 'we're putting up your rates'. then isabelle dealt with the need to understand the functions of various legal bodies and authorities, and for complete understanding of legal terminology before translating it. For example, there is a difference between Berufung and Revision in legal texts. after this cerebral challenge, we had a welcome break for lunch, returning for the third session with ilse Freiburg on translating questionnaires about staff satisfaction. this turned out to be a far more time- consuming and complicated business than i could ever have imagined. in addition to translating, ilse has to liaise with the company, the agency that commissions her, and more than 30 other translators working into their respective languages. Finally, came a workshop on cross-cultural business concerns from intercultural trainer kirti seetharam. the first exercise involved dealing with discrepancies in hierarchy between a parent company and one of its overseas subsidiaries. one man's manager, it transpires, is another man's underling, and it may be necessary to tweak job titles by adding such words as 'regional'. For the second exercise, we compared job adverts geared to different countries. kirti explained what is important in various cultures: americans want something concise with no images, for example, whereas indians like photos. it was eye-opening. it was an altogether enjoyable, thought-provoking and informative day, and our thanks go to mike harrington and ilse Freiburg for organising it. KEY DIVISIONS Business, Professions & Government: Interpreting: Translating: SOCIETIES Cambridge: German: Hong Kong: Lincolnshire: London: North West: Scottish: Spanish: BPG TD CAM GER LINC NW SCOT LON SP HK ID CONTACT DETAILS Judith ridgway, michael Cunningham, leslie ray, cambridgesociety stephanie tarling, Francis lee, hongkongsociety@ Candia hillier, lincolnshiresociety@ rannheid sharma, katrin hiietam, northwestsociety@ anne withers, rebekah rhodes, BPG ID TD CAM GER HK LINC LON NW SCOT SP Study weekend, 4-6 September, Cambridge Join us for a joint Cambridge society/ German society event. Save the date EpizEntrum, 'F rankFurt skylinE in JunE 2013, viEw From south-wEst' via wikipEdia (CC By-sa 3.0) NEW PERSPECTIVES The Frankfurt skyline

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