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tThis page contains the following 2015 newsletters starting with the latest:

January, April, September.

Separated by XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

The Newsletter of the Chartered Institute of Linguists German Society e.V.

 

April 2015

Letter from the Chair

 

Dear Members,

 

I hope you all had a good Easter and didn’t get blown away by the hurricane the week before. After Easter I visited Dresden and came back to find that three bikes had been stolen from our garden shed. Thieves had visited several houses along the road, taking anything they could find, including two pairs of old jeans from my neighbour’s washing line. Break-ins are a part of daily life on the Polish border and bikes are particularly popular – I hardly know anyone who hasn’t lost at least one bike. I am basically in favour of open borders, but it does create an easy situation for criminals. Despite a lot of positive cross-border co-operation many local people are unfortunately very anti-Polish due to the high crime rate.

 

To more pleasant topics. We had a good AGM in Duisburg - thanks to Mike Harrington for finding a good central location with a separate room for us. We were particularly delighted to welcome Bernard Hudson, our most senior GS member. We were sorry that our treasurer, Andreas Busse, wanted to resign but after ten years he deserves a break! Thank you Andreas for all your hard work over the last years. We are pleased to welcome Angela Weckler as our new secretary, and Jadwiga Bobrowska has changed from secretary to treasurer.

 

After the AGM we had an interesting talk on China by Rodney Mantle, a Fellow of the CIoL who lived in China for many years. He gave us a fascinating insider’s view of China accompanied by a wonderful selection of photos. Our next AGM will be in Lüneburg on 27th February 2016 and after the AGM we are planning a tour of the historic Hanseatic town and its town hall.

 

The next event is the Anglophoner Tag in Kassel from June 5th – 7th. For further details see page 7 and contact the BDÜ Hessen to register. This year’s study weekend takes us to Cambridge and Ely and is hosted by the Cambridge Society. At the moment there are no free places available but contact me if you want to be put on the waiting list. On 14th November the Translators’ Workshop will take place in Berlin for the first time. After last year’s very successful workshop we hope a change of venue will give other people a chance to come. More details will be announced when available, so keep an eye on our website.

 

All the best from me and the Committee. Stephanie

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Minutes of 2015 German Society of the CIoL AGM

Duisburg

 

The meeting opened at 11.05.

 

1. Apologies for absence

The apologies for absence were read out.

 

2. Approval of agenda

The agenda for the meeting was approved unanimously (proposer Isabelle Thormann, seconder Jadwiga Bobrowska).

 

3. Approval of minutes of 2014 AGM

The minutes of the 2014 AGM were approved unanimously (proposer Mike Harrington, seconder Norman Ellis).

 

4. Chairman's report

Stephanie Tarling delivered the chairman's report. A resumé of 2014 events was given, and thanks expressed to the various people involved in organising them. Stephanie reported that regular Skype committee meetings were still held. Thanks were expressed to Norman Ellis for his good work with the GS website and coordination with the CIoL in London. The Institute's January email to all CIoL members living in Germany had prompted some to join the GS.

 

5. Treasurer's report

The books for 2014 had previously been audited by Isabelle Thormann and Mike Harrington and all found to be in order. The Treasurer reported a healthy financial balance. He expressed his thanks to Jadwiga Bobrowska for her expert support.

 

6. Formal approval of committee's actions

The committee's actions for the past year were approved unanimously by the meeting with thanks (proposer Richard Delaney, seconder Mike Harrington).

 

7. Formal approval of treasurer's actions

The treasurer's actions for the past year were approved unanimously by the meeting with thanks (proposer Isabelle Thormann, seconder Rodney Mantle).

 

8. Election of treasurer and secretary

Andreas Busse stood down as treasurer and was thanked for his excellent work over the past ten years. Jadwiga Bobrowska agreed to stand as treasurer and was elected unanimously (proposer Andreas Busse, seconder Rodney Mantle). Since Jadwiga had stood down as secretary in order to stand as treasurer, Angela Weckler had agreed to stand as secretary. Stephanie Tarling read out a statement from Angela in the latter's unavoidable absence. Angela was elected unanimously (proposer Jadwiga Bobrowska, seconder Mike Harrington).

 

9. Study weekend in Cambridge

There had been 16 GS registrations to date, with one or two as yet undecided.

 

10. Other future events

It was agreed that this year's Translators' Workshop would be held in Berlin. Richard Delaney is to discuss cooperation with the Berlin BDÜ, of which he is also

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a member, and will liaise with Mike Harrington. A date in November will be set after Richard's consultation with the Berlin BDÜ, after which various potential speakers will be approached.

It was further agreed that the 2016 study weekend would be held in Weimar.

 

11. AOB

There was no other business.

 

12. Date and venue of next GS AGM

The next GS AGM will be held in Lüneburg on 27th February 2016.

The meeting closed at 12.25.

 

Stephanie Tarling

Chair

 

Following the AGM and lunch, Rodney Mantle, a Fellow of the CIoL with whom the GS has maintained links for more years than some of us cared to remember, gave us a fascinating presentation on his ten years spent working in China (for which he dressed in a Manchu jacket, see photo below).

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Rodney started by outlining his own background and varied career prior to his move to China. He then gave us an overview of the geography of the vast country that is China, with population figures which definitely put the German definition of 'Großstadt' into perspective! He also reminded us that there is not only ONE language spoken in China. And most importantly, he conveyed to us the challenges facing someone moving to a country with a very different cultural and linguistic mix (and ultimately the challenges facing a long-term ex-pat moving back 'home', and finding that it isn't the same home that one had left all those years ago). We were shown a selection of notes and coins issued in China, Hong Kong and Macao. As was evident, Rodney pointed out that his overall presentation could have been divided up into many more detailed presentations with a specific regional or topical focus of equal length, and it is a great pity that his talk could of necessity be no more than a superficial introduction. The presentation ended with photos of stunningly beautiful views of Tibet (and we all failed to identify the Tibetan alphabet!).

Sally Lamm

 

Passport Problems

 

Obtaining a new UK passport is not easy these days. Gone are the times when the British Embassy in Germany could issue these documents – passports are now only issued in the UK, with no exceptions. You can apply online, but then you are without your passport for at least 6 weeks from when the passport arrives in the UK. As you all know, it’s not easy to be without ID in Germany – you can’t collect parcels, check into hotels etc. Living on the Polish border, I even occasionally need my passport in the train.

 

If you are in the UK you can use either the Premium 1-day Service or the Fast Track 1-week service but beware, this is not as easy as it seems. I tried out the Premium 1-day service, which actually takes exactly four hours. First of all you need paper forms which you can get at UK post offices – but only the major ones! Filling out the forms is not too complicated but you need to use a UK address. It doesn’t matter that you live in Germany and don’t have a UK address, you still have to use a UK address – I used my mother’s. Make sure you use an address near the passport office you want to visit or you might end up going to Glasgow when you’re staying in London. Remember you have to

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book an appointment with the office of your choice, but only three weeks in advance. Then you have to find the passport office. Despite a satnav the Newport building is not

immediately obvious – apart from a small sign on the door! After I finally got to the passport office, the officials were all very friendly.

 

And last but not least: the photos. This is a science in itself. My photos were taken in Germany, but the background was the wrong shade of cream and the very helpful lady at the desk explained that photos had to be taken in the UK. As one fellow-sufferer said, “It’s comforting to know that our security's in the hands of people who are that particular about 50 shades of cream!” Luckily the Newport passport office has a photo booth which was enjoying a lot of custom – maybe the civil servants have shares in it?? One CIoL member had her photos taken in a UK Post Office booth and they were also rejected – she asked for, and got, a refund from the Post Office!

 

If you need a new passport, then the best of British luck to you! On the positive side, the new passports have very pretty pages, except mine now has a particularly unattractive picture on the first page, but at least it was acceptable.

 

Stephanie Tarling

                             

Mike Harrington has again been 'flirting with languages', this time turning his attention to:

 

Swedish

 

Continuing the tradition of flirting with the languages of places I've been to, Swedish is the latest. This time it also included a flirt with a new system – interactive learning via my Tablet, using the Duolingo app. Our placement student at the office told me about it, so I decided to give it a try, albeit a mere week or so before departure. The first two basic lessons supplied words and sentences such as “pojke”, “en pojke”, “pojken” (boy, a boy, the boy), then “en pojke och en flicka” (a boy and a girl), “pojken och flickan” (the boy and the girl); “Pojken tycker om flickan” (The boy likes the girl), “Kvinnan älskar mannen” (The woman loves the man), “Män tycker om kvinnor” (Men like women). A good start, especially for a language flirt, though perhaps not so practical for a four-day visit to Stockholm, where sight-seeing would be the main activity.

 

During the four days there, I didn't have time to look at the Duolingo and, of course, I was now in the real linguistic environment. My language-learning therefore took a different turn: the rapid acquisition of “public-transport Swedish”. First though, Ryanair

takes you to Skavsta Airport, near Nyköping, about 100 km south of Stockholm. During the one-and-a-quarter hour journey on the "Flygbussan" I recognized place names from the two books I'd read by Jonas Jonasson: the famous “The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared” and the perhaps less well-known “The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden”: Gnesta, Södertälje (where Scania trucks and also Björn Borg come from), Eskilstuna, Malmköping. The ending “...köping” is a common component of place names, e.g Nyköping, Norrköping) and means “market town”, being cognate with “Chipping" in several English place names (even pronounced quite similarly), e.g Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury). This I learned from our host, Sam(antha), Mair's student-days friend who has been living in Stockholm for four years, after moving from Malmö with her Danish husband and two children. She said that as a fluent Danish speaker she had no problems conversing in southern Sweden (Scania) but on moving north to Stockholm she had to learn Swedish properly.

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Armed with the equivalent of Oyster Card ("Access" from AB Stockholms Lokaltrafik), we made full use of Stockholm's suburban tram-railway and underground systems. Each day we travelled by the Roslagsbanan tram (really a narrow-gauge railway, built in 1885 (but modernized of course since) to the terminus, Stockholm Östra (Stockholm East). The first day we changed to the Underground unnecessarily early, at Mörby, a fairly large suburb, not far from Stockholm University. The tube station was quite a way from the tram stop, at the other end of a shopping centre car park. I saw a sign saying “Tunnelbana”, and someone told me that this was the Underground. That took us to Tekniska Högskolan, next to the tram terminus but a different station. Later that day we took the tram back to our home station of Östberga but, as we hadn't taken proper note of the tram numbers in the morning, we got one that branched off from our route. We noticed that the tram wasn't stopping at most stations, and then it stopped at a fairly large place, Roslags Näsby. The conductor was most understanding and told us, in English, to get the next tram back to Djursholms Ösby and change there onto the correct line. Unfortunately, that next tram was another high-speed train. Seeing several stations whizz by, I looked at the luminous indicator board in the carriage and read “Nästa Mörby, darefter Stockholm Östra.” Oops, that was clear enough: next stop Mörby, then straight through to the Stockholm East terminal. So at Mörby we at last got the correct tram, No. 29, “Mot (towards) Näsbypark”. Henceforth I always kept an eye on the indicator board and also listened to the announcements on the tram. That also served as a pronunciation exercise: “Öshtberyá” for Östberga, “Vikingaveyen” for Vikingavägen, “Djursh-holms Öshby” for Djursholms Ösby. Swedish has a nice sing-song to it, mainly at the end of words. “Roslag” denotes the coastal area to the north of Stockholm, and the tram-railway covers the whole region, with some branch lines going to quite remote places.

 

The time came to charge our Oyster Card equivalents with money at a terminal. We followed the English-language instructions, but on using the keypad for VISA payments I couldn't see the English version. However, “Sätt kort” and “Tag kort” were clear enough (even so, I checked this month's VISA statement to make sure that the payments had gone through!). We were amused by the signs for “Up (this side)” and “Not up (this side)” on stairs and escalators: “Upp” and “Ej upp”. Very Northern English! A sinister-sounding word for “lift”: “hiss”.

 

Back home, I am continuing with the Duolingo course. Now just past the basics, the next set of lessons deals with food and drink, and animals. The programme introduces you to new vocabulary rather slowly, but concentrates on repeating what you've already heard, i.e. continuous consolidation, and on learning proper pronunciation. Few of the words and phrases I encountered in Sweden have yet appeared in the lessons, but the “animals” section will definitely have the word for “elk”, a creature we vainly tried to spot in the beautiful lake and forest scenery both in and surrounding Stockholm.

 

The editor's rag bag

 

Thanks to vice-chairman Norman Ellis for drawing my attention to a matter of great interest to British citizens living abroad for more than 15 years: One such person, a gentleman by the name of James Jackson resident in France, is standing as a candidate in the Conservative safe seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip with the aim of obtaining a vote for British expats who have been disenfranchised. Another candidate for this constituency is London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is almost certain to win the seat. Moreover, the Conservative party has promised to abolish the 15-year limit if returned to government.

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Sadly, at present only a fraction of those living abroad but still entitled to vote in the UK have registered to do so, and the Electoral Commission is launching a campaign to motivate these potential voters to register and take advantage of this hard-won right.

 

Among all the recent heated debate on the nature of King Richard III, and above all whether or not he murdered the princes in the Tower, it was interesting to hear that he ordered the laws and statutes of the time to be translated from the customary French into English so as to make them more accessible and comprehensible. It was disturbing, though, to find more than one reference in print to Richard's 'reinterment'.

 

 

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The Newsletter of the Chartered Institute of Linguists German Society e.V.

 

January 2015

 

Letter from the Chair

 

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2015. This year we have another excellent programme of events. We start with the AGM in Duisburg on 7th March where the venue is very close to the main station – hopefully the DB won’t aim another strike at us, having tried to sabotage the study weekend in Hanover and the Translators’ Workshop in Frankfurt (Main)! After the AGM we are delighted to welcome Rodney Mantle, a Fellow of the CIoL, who is giving us a talk on China, where he lived for many years. Full details of the event and the agenda are on page 2.

 

This year the BDÜ Hessen is organising the annual Anglophoner Tag which will take place in Kassel from June 5th – 7th. The topics are related to renewable energy and fairy tales, which is a fascinating combination. If anyone is interested in giving a presentation please contact the organisers – details are on page 6.

 

In September the Cambridge society has kindly invited us to their home region for a study weekend. This get-together follows a long tradition of meetings between the two societies. With venues in Cambridge and Ely it promises to be an interesting weekend, with an emphasis on Gaelic language and culture. Details are on page 3.

 

After a very successful Translators’ Workshop in Frankfurt (Main) last November we hope to repeat the success in November 2015. Many thanks go to Mike Harrington and Ilse Freiburg for organising such a varied workshop. Thanks are also due to our local organiser Sally Lamm.

 

Finally a few gems from recent English classes: I was intrigued by one woman who explained that her husband couldn’t come to the lesson as he was digging a grave in the garden – luckily she meant a ditch. In the same lesson another woman told me about the local dragon flying festival. Being Welsh I have a particular interest in dragons but unfortunately there were only kites to be seen ...

All the best from me and the Committee. Stephanie

 

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CIoL German Society 2015 Annual General Meeting

Saturday 7th March, Duisburg

 

Agenda

 

1. Apologies for absence

2. Approval of the agenda

3. Approval of the minutes of the 2014 AGM

4. Chairman’s report

5. Treasurer’s report

6. Formal approval by the membership of the committee’s actions

7. Formal approval by the membership of the Hon. Treasurer’s actions

8. Election of committee members (Treasurer and Secretary)

9. Study weekend in Cambridge

10. Other future events

11. A.O.B.

12. Date and place of next meeting

 

We meet at Café Museum at Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse 64, on the edge of Immanuel Kant park, just a short walk from Duisburg station. After the AGM we will have lunch there.

 

Following lunch Rodney Mantle, a Fellow of the CIoL whom some of you may remember from previous events, will be giving a talk on his experiences teaching English in China entitled, 'China – variety and conformity'. Those with sufficient time and energy could round off the day by visiting the nearby Lehmbruck Museum.

 

Please notify Mike Harrington (michael.harrington@sms-siemag.com with a copy to m.harrington@gmx.de) if you will be attending and plan to be there for lunch. Again, to save time on the day those coming are asked to check the restaurant's menu (the website is currently being upgraded but should be available soon) and tell Mike what they would like to eat.

 

There will also be an informal gathering on the evening of Friday 6th March from 7 p.m. at the restaurant La Dolce Vita Gelato: Pizza: Pasta, Oststrasse 130. Again, please let Mike know if you plan to attend this as well.

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2015 Study Weekend in Cambridge

 

4th – 6th September

This year’s study weekend has very kindly been organised by the Cambridge regional society.

 

Provisional Programme

 

Friday 4th September: Afternoon: for early arrivals an optional guided tour of Cambridge – a city crammed full of show-stopping buildings.

Evening: get-together in a pub/restaurant in Cambridge.

Saturday 5th September: Travel to Ely (short train journey) – a charming city with

medieval streets and a quaint quayside – for a conference on

Gaelic languages and music.

Keynote speaker: Alexandra Jones.

Gaelic music played by a local group.

Venue: The Maltings riverside conference/arts centre.

 

Lunch at the Maltings.

 

Afternoon: Boat trip.

Guided tour of Ely Cathedral – a magnificent

medieval cathedral known as the 'Ship of the Fens'.

 

Evening: dinner and possibly cultural event in Cambridge.

 

Sunday 6th September: Morning: meet in central Cambridge (possibility to leave luggage). Guided tour of Cambridge, then walk, boat or bus to the picture-postcard village of Grantchester for final lunch.

 

Cost of the study weekend: £20 (£30 non-members) payable on arrival.

All meals and accommodation to be paid for by the participants.

 

If you are interested in attending the study weekend please contact Stephanie Tarling (setarling@t-online.de) by the end of February. You will receive further information including a list of possible hotels, guesthouses and B&B’s. Please note that accommodation in Cambridge is a lot more expensive than in Germany and you should book early to get the best rates.

 

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GS translators' workshop on 8th November 2014

 

Another valiant attempt was made by DB to stop us meeting in Frankfurt am Main, but in the end there were only two 'casualties', and everyone else adopted a successful Plan B. And it was well worth it for this excellent mix of speakers.

 

The day started with Gottfried Röckelein on the subject of literary translations. He works from English into German and has covered an enormous range of subject matter. There are essentially two approaches taken by literary translators, either that of being true to the original or targeting the text to the reader, and Gottfried favours the latter. He took us through various difficulties such as the respective size of vocabularies in any two languages, different concepts of time and morality, the need to decide quickly, when working from English into German, who is saying 'Sie' and who is using 'Du', and the degree of political correctness observed/required at a publishing house.

 

On top of all the other obstacles the translator faces, publishers themselves have an enormous say, as do editors, and the translator has no influence on the title of the translation. There inevitably seems to be a degree of 'dumbing down' at the editorial stage. Moreover, the translator also has to correct technical inaccuracies discovered in the original. Sadly, we heard yet again that it's not possible to make a living from literary translation. Gottfried was witty, modest and inspiring, and I think we all felt enormous respect and admiration for anyone embarking on work of this kind.

 

Next came Isabelle Thorman on German Legalese, and she compressed into about an hour what normally takes a term to convey to her students in Braunschweig. Isabelle began with some horribly convoluted sentences, often deliberately so, that made one yearn for 'The cat sat on the mat'. Some of the sentences could and should have been expressed more simply, but not all could have been. And many are obviously designed to lead the reader astray, for example, 'Beabsichtigt wird die Vermeidung künftiger Abwicklungsverluste durch Prämienanpassungen', which actually means 'We're putting up your rates' (Editor's note: Some years ago I had to translate delicately worded letters to investors at the start of each year which boiled down to 'We've lost some of your money'!). Another beauty was 'Sie hätten ihr Leben retten können, wenn sie sie angerufen hätte', which has eight possible meanings. Then Isabelle dealt with the need to understand the functions of various legal bodies and authorities, and for complete accuracy in understanding legal terminology before translating it (something we had heard about previously from Bernard Hudson). Words which might be bandied around loosely in conversation cannot be treated casually in translation – for example, there is a difference between 'Berufung' and 'Revision'.

 

After this cerebral challenge, we had a welcome break for lunch and a chat, returning for the third session with Ilse Freiburg on translating questionnaires for companies conducting a survey of staff satisfaction. This turned out to be a far more time-consuming and complicated business than I could ever have imagined, and in addition to actually translating, Ilse has to liaise with the company, the agency that commissions her, and over 30 other translators working into their respective languages. The surveys have to be suitable for all staff levels in a company, and need to have clear objectives. Account has to be taken among other things of UK and US spelling, and of the differences between Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. There are also problems with the various 'you' forms, and the agreement of adjectives, plus different cultural connotations. Different countries in any case have varying underlying levels of satisfaction. As if all this were not enough to contend with, wrong translations often have to be used because the customer insists that they have been used before and thus are carved in stone!!

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Finally, Kirti Seetharam actually made us work at the workshop, and a very good thing too! Kirti is an intercultural trainer at a large global company, and has to deal with the huge discrepancies between one culture and another, and teach co-workers to be aware of and respect these too. The exercises involved first dealing with the discrepancies between the hierarchy and titles in a parent company and one of its overseas subsidiaries. One man's manager, it transpires, is another man's underling (not to mention women in the workplace!), so it is important for visitors from the parent company to be taken seriously by their counterparts abroad. For this to be achieved, it was necessary to 'tweak' some titles by adding such words as 'regional' or the name of the country. The second exercise involved comparing job advertisements geared to different countries to see what struck us. We then heard what is important in various cultures: Americans, for example, want something concise, with no photos, whereas Indians like photos. Asia likes bullet points. There is also the question of where gender can and should be mentioned. It was quite an eye-opener.

 

It was an altogether enjoyable, thought-provoking and informative day, and our thanks go to Mike Harrington and Ilse Freiburg for organising it all.

 

The editor's rag bag

 

Senior GS member Bernard Hudson recently moved to a care home and was sent a small gift that was medicinal in nature. The courier refused to allow the receptionist to sign for this, insisting on handing it over to Mr Hudson, as she had to ensure that the alcohol did not go to anyone under 18. Rest assured, dear reader, it did not.

 

Thanks to Heidi English for drawing my attention to the untimely death in November of translator and champion of 20th century and contemporary German-language writers Martin Chalmers. Of British-German parentage, he grew up speaking both languages and often translated film dialogues at the cinema for his German grandmother. A major project and success was his translation of Victor Klemperer's diaries, but he also worked with smaller publishers, proposing and translating a wide range of titles. Chalmers was writing recollections and chronicles set in Glasgow and Berlin when he died, and his work Wreaths and Pebbles on the subject of historic cemeteries is yet to be published.

 

A delightful stay in Alicante over Christmas produced some amusing translations, such as a meal being served with 'garrison', or the warning 'Risk of fall to water' along the harbour front.

 

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The Newsletter of the Chartered Institute of Linguists German Society e.V.

 

September 2015

 

Letter from the Chair

 

Dear Members,

September started off with a wonderful study weekend in Cambridge. A full report appears on page 4, but I would particularly like to thank Martin Pennock and Lucia Cavalli-Roberts for all their hard work in organising such an interesting programme. The only problem was that the weekend was too short. Along with some other members I stayed in one of the colleges in central Cambridge, and I can definitely recommend St Catharine’s as a B&B, despite a malfunctioning fire alarm at 5.30am! It gave us the opportunity to wander round a college which is normally closed to the public. We didn’t dare walk on the grass, a privilege which is reserved for university fellows and their guests. Our guide said that she had enquired whether the Queen would be allowed to walk on the hallowed college lawns and she eventually received an answer by email that it was indeed a Royal prerogative but that it would be better if she were accompanied by a fellow!

 

Our next event is the Translators’ Workshop on 14th November in Berlin. This year we have a change of venue and a very interesting selection of presentations. There are still a few places available, so contact Jadwiga as soon as possible if you are interested. Full details appear on page 6. The AGM on 27th February will be in Lüneburg for the first time, which gives GS members a chance to explore a different area. We hope to have a guided tour of the Rathaus after the AGM. If you would like to have the AGM in your town or city, then please contact me – we are happy to visit different places and always try to combine the AGM with a guided tour or a cultural event.

 

Looking even further ahead, next year’s study weekend will be in Weimar and promises to be extremely interesting. If you would like to come please see page 8. for details and contact Jadwiga as soon as possible, as places will be limited. In Weimar we will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the GS, which is a major achievement. The GS can only keep going with your support, so if you have an idea for a study weekend please let me know.

 

All the best from me and the Committee.

Stephanie

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Anglophoner Tag in Kassel

 

This year’s Anglophoner Tag took place in Kassel, home of the Dokumenta, the Brothers Grimm and the World Heritage Site of Wilhelmshöhe. It was a very interesting weekend and we learned a lot about renewable energy and fairy tales but, as Reiner Heard pointed out, there is no connection.

 

The Anglophoner Tag started on Friday afternoon when a fair sized group of participants drove through beautiful countryside to get to the Fraunhofer test centre in Kassel, known as IWES-SysTec: Testzentrum für intelligente Netze und Elektromoilität. During our more than 90-minute tour we were given a lot of background on the sort of research that is carried out there. The test centre was set up for research into so-called smart grids and electro mobility. Companies can come here to test, for example, solar panels or batteries for electric cars and then work together with the test centre on perfecting their technologies before going to institutions such as the TÜV for certification. If the technology that needs testing is not easily transportable, such as wind energy towers, then the test centre also has mobile testing equipment that it can transport to the required location. The tour and the discussions along the way gave us all a fascinating insight into the potential practical consequences of the research at the centre, which could ultimately have a positive impact on the environment. The day finished with dinner in a local beer garden.

 

Saturday was spent in the conference hotel, located very conveniently next to the ICE train station. Brigitte Valessa-Steinke, the BDÜ Hesse chair, welcomed us to the 21st Anglophoner Tag before we settled down to enjoy a very varied selection of presentations.

 

First of all Reiner Heard (Chair of ATICOM) gave a very informative presentation about the problems and prospects of renewable energy sources - wind (turbines), solar (photovoltaic, solar panels), hydro (water), biomass (farming and forestry waste), geothermal (geysers, eg in Iceland) and marine (tidal or wave power). All types of renewables have advantages and disadvantages, with the problems ranging from noise (eg wind turbines), technical (intermittency of supply due to variable winds, lack of sun etc) and the problems of storing electricity. Public problems include the nimby variant, the nimble (not in my Bundesland either), who is pro renewable energy sources but does not want new overhead power lines crossing his state. Germany has a lot of potential for renewables and the situation is improving, but it needs to become more cost effective and politically and economically attractive. Currently, the traditional fuel sources have stronger lobbies than the renewable energy sources but the prospects are bright. The situation is improving slowly but there is definitely room for expansion, and at the moment the focus is on a combination of renewables and conventionals.

 

Garth Pritchard’s entertaining talk was originally entitled “The fairy tale industry and the translation trade” but he decided to rename it “Lessons from the Brothers Grimm for translators”. The Brothers Grimm were professional linguists who were based in Kassel when they collected their 210 fairy tales, “translating” them from oral to written. The original stories were definitely not suitable for children but were ruthlessly edited by the brothers to avoid any hint of eroticism. The three axioms of translating are reflected in the work of the Brothers Grimm. One: good and great (and all successful) translations begin with a high valuation of the source material on the part of the translator. The brothers didn’t just transcribe the tales they heard, they adapted them for a new audience, which can also be seen in the Disney versions today. Two: translators occupy a space between two worlds. The Grimms collected the folk tales from a vanishing oral tradition and brought them into the modern world. Three: translations are always particular and never perfect. The brothers collected and compared tales from various sources before deciding on their own version. This reflects the translator, who sees both sides of the situation and

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has to decide which phrase to use. The fundamental choice – how much should the translator alter the text? There is always more than one good translation.

 

The morning’s presentations were completed by Siegfried Hoss from the Museumslandschaft Hessen, who explained the technicalities of the water features in the Wilhelmshöhe Bergpark. This park originated in the 18th century and has been a World Heritage Site since 2013, as it is of outstanding universal value. The water display is shown twice a week in summer, and once a month there is an illuminated version. The display starts at the top of the park, near the statue of Hercules, and makes its way down the very steep slopes to the final fountain which is the most voluminous in the world. Siegfried Hoss very enthusiastically described how intricate and clever the system is, especially considering that it dates from 1750.

 

After lunch Regina Simmes gave a brief summary of the visit to SysTec and talked about other institutes in Kassel which deal with renewable energy sources, such as the university and the Fraunhofer Institute. There is a lot of local support for renewables, which is reflected in many local organisations. These deal with different aspects of research and also provide services for renewable energy systems. The university in Kassel is an important focus for renewables, offering courses in photovoltaics etc.

 

Barbara Müller-Grant rounded off the AT with a presentation on aspects of real-estate law related to energy issues. This included the energy efficiency pass which is not yet compulsory for selling or purchasing a house but is needed more and more. We also had a discussion on the problems of translating real-estate terms from German into British and American English. After we had spent a lot of the day listening, Barbara encouraged us to think of translations for various terms and gave some useful links to help with real-estate translations.

 

After dinner a group visited the Bergpark to see the spectacular illuminated water displays. The more intrepid members made their way by bus to the top and walked down while the less adventurous stayed near the bottom. We all enjoyed the various features but I was glad of my torch on the way back, as the paths are unlit and not very smooth!

 

On Sunday a guided tour of Kassel city centre was an interesting end to an excellent AT. Here our guide told us a lot about the Dokumenta and pointed out various installations which can still be seen, including Joseph Beuys’ 7000 oak trees which date from 1982. Never having been to Kassel before I assumed it would be an uninteresting venue, but I freely admit my mistake and hope to revisit the city, maybe to visit the Dokumenta in 2017!

Stephanie Tarling

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Study Weekend in Cambridge 4th – 6th September 2015

 

The Cambridge Society had invited the German Society to participate in a joint event; this third collaboration was a study weekend dedicated to a fascinating mixture of music and Gaelic language. The result of much thought and effort by Martin Pennock and Lucia Cavalli-Roberts from the Cambridge Society and input from Stephanie Tarling and Jadwiga Bobrowska of the German Society was a weekend that the close to 40 participants from both societies could only describe as “fantastic”, “beautiful” and something they were “so glad not to have missed.”

 

Early arrivals went on a guided tour of Cambridge and some even participated in the quintessential Oxbridge pastime of punting. By the evening most people had arrived and joined for an evening of networking in a local Cambridge pub (The Grain Store).

 

The venue for Saturday’s talks and performances was Ely, home to the glorious cathedral. Elfriede from the Cambridge Society showed the visitors around and pointed out many interesting details that would otherwise have been missed, such as the tiny carved mermaid in a side chapel. She also knew exactly where to stand to experience fully the awe-inspiring architecture of this soaring structure from various perspectives.

 

Former CEO of the CIOL, Alexandra Jones, or, to use her full (Scottish) Gaelic name, Sandaidh NicDhòmhnaill Jones, enthralled her audience from the start. In an amazingly short space of time Sandaidh imparted the basic features of Scottish Gaelic, which included the fact that it is an inflected language with four cases and a baffling orthography (not so positive for the learner) together with the comforting news that only 12 verbs are irregular. Scottish and Irish Gaelic belong, together with Manx, to the Q Celtic branch, whereas the P Celtic branch, i.e. the languages in which the labialized velar stop “q” [kw] has shifted to “p”, is represented by Welsh, Breton and Cornish. Despite the best efforts of their various enemies, not to mention inter-clan feuding, the Scottish clans’ love of poetry set to music and the patronage of the arts that was part of every clan chief’s mission in life served to keep the Gaelic language and musical heritage alive throughout the centuries. Although the language is now officially endangered, having fewer than 60,000 speakers, growing numbers of adult learners and revived interest in Britain’s rich cultural legacy have halted the decline. Attendees had to agree that harp music and Gaelic poetry are a marriage made in heaven.

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Gaelic songs are, of course, an inherently oral tradition, but that does not mean that the forms are simple. Indeed, as Sandaidh showed, there is an astonishing array of intricate verse patterns and an equally complex range of musical settings and modes. The theoretical parts of the talk were beautifully illustrated with samples of songs that Sandaidh sang, either a cappella or to her own harp accompaniment. The words jig or reel in connection with bagpipes will conjure up images of people dancing for most of us. But when the bagpipes were banned, this instrument was replaced by a new sort of mouth-music, a kind of sung Gaelic nonsense rhyme to replicate the rhythms and feel of dance. Mary from the Cambridge Society and Mair from the German Society received enthusiastic applause for their spirited rendering of the dances to Sandaidh’s mouth music.

 

The afternoon’s concert echoed some of the issues already highlighted in the morning, such as the difficulties of translating poetry while preserving the original rhyme and metre without falsifying or trivializing the content. Barbara Wibbelmann, accompanied on keyboards by MarionTreby or Les Ray on guitar, explained the contents of each song before she performed it, seemingly effortlessly, with a simplicity and lack of pretension that did full justice to the lilting melodies, while creating a special mood for each piece.

 

The duo called Na Mara explored Gaelic and folk music ranging from Scotland, Ireland and Brittany, to Spain’s Galician and Asturian melodies. Na Mara said that in translating traditional lyrics into English they occasionally had to bend the rules to make the words fit the tunes, but because many of their songs told a story, as opposed to, for example, a lament that can be understood without knowing what each word means, this is a legitimate approach for an English-speaking audience. A new song set to traditional music revealed that folk music retains its immediacy and power, for the story it told moved everyone and some of the audience were spotted dabbing an eye at the end. Called “Solo por tres meses” (Only for three months) the words described young children fleeing the Spanish Civil War when the UK reluctantly, and after much hesitation, had agreed to accept a few thousand children. Their parents had to stay behind and told the young refugees boarding the ship leaving Bilbao that it would be only for three months. The parallels to the current refugee crisis were poignantly obvious.

 

At the end of a day full of intellectual and emotional challenge, Stephanie thanked Martin for organizing such a wonderful weekend and reiterated the German Society’s invitation to the Cambridge Society to attend the GS study weekend in Weimar, Sep. 9th-11th, 2016.

 

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For those not leaving immediately, another tour of Cambridge, this time with a literary emphasis, was organized on Sunday morning. The city duly showcased its spires against a backdrop of blue sky and Beverley gave a lively presentation full of amusing anecdotes, thus bringing the weekend to a satisfying close for those unable to spare the time to visit Grantchester for lunch.

Angela Weckler

 

Joint German Society – BDÜ Berlin Translators' Workshop, Berlin

Saturday, 14th November 2015 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Venue:            SORAT Hotel Ambassador • Bayreuther Strasse 42-43 • 10787 Berlin.

Directions:      A short walk from Berlin Bhf Zoo and even closer to the ‘U-Bahn’ stop ‘Wittenberg Platz’.

 

The speakers will be:

 

Richard Delaney:           Legal translation: How to be incomprehensible in more than one    language.

Richard is a non-practising barrister-at-law who runs his own translation agency

 

Susanne Kilian:             Wir können alles außer Small Talk

Susanne is a former UN interpreter, an author and coach in cross-cultural communications

 

Barbara Müller-Grant:   Diseases with a (linguistic) twist

Barbara is a free-lance translator and interpreter, and long-time stalwart of the BDÜ Hesse

 

Isabelle Thormann:       Forensische Linguistik. Wie verräterisch ist der individuelle Sprachgebrauch?

Isabelle is a university lecturer, author, translator and language coach

 

The cost will be €55 for GS and BDÜ members and €65 for non-members (this includes lunch as well as coffee/tea and water throughout the day). This is payable in advance, subject to places being available, but those who do not have a euro bank account may pay in cash on the day – please let us know if you plan to do so.

 

There are still a few places left, so if you would like to attend, please send an e-mail to GS treasurer Jadwiga at J.Bobrowska@gmx.net as soon as possible. You will then receive details of our new bank account number and also how you can book a hotel room from our contingent at the Sorat Hotel. Those attending are of course at liberty to make other accommodation arrangements if they so desire.

 

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The editor's rag bag

 

In June your Treasurer Jadwiga and I had the pleasure of meeting former GS newsletter editor Jim Neuger and his wife Renee for dinner in Brussels. We were there to attend the re-enactment, on the 200th anniversary, of the battle that took place 'on Waterloo's ensanguined plain' (this from a moving plaque to one of the fallen in Waterloo church). Much has been said and written in recent weeks and months about the bloody but decisive battle, the protagonists, the outcome, the significance for 19th century Europe, and indeed those taking part in the beautifully organised re-enactment. I was thinking about how prominent a place the battle had taken in the national consciousness, and two

mentions in popular culture, apart from the Abba song, came to mind: Stanley Holloway's wonderful 'Pick up tha musket', in which the Duke of Wellington speaks to Sam Small 'like a brother', and the song 'When Britain really ruled the waves' in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe. There are of course many more, plus the numerous places around the globe named after the battle. Yet to our dismay, Jadwiga and I found that we each knew someone who thought that the battle had taken place in England! Though admittedly commuters fighting their way through Waterloo Station day in, day out, may well regard this as a battlefield.

 

Some aficionados may not have heard that love-it-or-hate-it Marmite is now available in the UK in 70g jars which may be carried in hand luggage on flights. It is apparently one of the top ten home comforts UK travellers like to take abroad with them.

 

On the occasion of the Queen's visit to Frankfurt am Main in June, a leading German newspaper interviewed a couple of British people living and working in Frankfurt. One, a fellow translator as it happens, said how surprised he had been at the size of the place and likened it to 'eine Canary Wharf mitten im Wald'.

 

'Indignant of Bad Soden', aka Glynis Thompson, dislikes the expression 'going forward' (as do I, among many others), and provides a link to the online Urban Dictionary,

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=going%20forward which gives an amusing if forthright definition of what it really means.

 

On a positive note, I came across some interesting terms in England this summer: a shop selling 'pre-loved gentlemen's clothes'; a home providing 'luxury accommodation for retired gentlefolk'; and on a decommissioned 20th century naval vessel, a notice stating that 'dhobying' had to be collected by a certain time (laundry, a left-over from the Raj).

 

Over and out from your editor in Canary Wharf mitten im Wald.

 

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GS Diary

 

14th – 18th October

Book fair in Frankfurt am Main, special guest country Indonesia

 

14th November

GS Translators' Workshop in Berlin. For further details see page 6.

 

2016

Saturday 27th February

GS AGM in Lüneburg, followed by a tour of the town hall. Further details in the next newsletter.

 

1st – 3rd June

Anglophoner Tag in Düsseldorf, organised this year by Aticom. More details in due course.

 

9th – 11th September

GS study weekend in Weimar.

In the year of its 30th anniversary, the GS returns to the beautiful town it first visited in 1991, not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was a most enjoyable and memorable weekend, and we expect this one to be just as good. And the GS is highly honoured to be able to hold its conference in the historic Villa Altenburg, home to Franz Liszt during his time in Weimar.

The theme of the weekend will be 'British visitors to Weimar across the ages', with talks by Dr. Müller-Harang of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, author and scholar Robert Muscott, and Linda Mayne of the George Eliot Fellowship (the author being one of the illustrious visitors to Weimar). Robert has also kindly agreed to take us on a walking tour of Weimar to places mentioned in George Eliot's journal. Dr. Müller-Harang's talk will be in German, but an English translation will be available. Those attending will be asked for a small contribution (to be announced) towards the cost of the weekend.

A contingent of rooms has been reserved at the Hotel Anna Amalia, Geleitstrasse 8-12, Tel. +49 (0) 3643 49560, e-mail: info@hotel-anna-amalia.de. It will be held for us until 31st March 2016. Double rooms cost €105 a night (including breakfast), plus a municipal visitors' tax of €1.50 per person per night. Single rooms cost €79 a night (including breakfast), plus a municipal visitors' tax of €2 per person per night. The reference for booking rooms from the contingent is 'Linguists'. Please also notify the hotel if you require a parking space in their garage, which has only a limited number of spaces.

Anyone seeking alternative accommodation is advised to consult the Weimer Tourist Office website or a booking website.

For full details of the weekend and to register, please contact GS Treasurer Jadwiga at J.Bobrowska@gmx.net. Priority registration for GS members is open up to 15th March 2016.

 

19th – 23rd October

Frankfurt am Main book fair. Special guests The Netherlands and Flanders.