Samstag, 17. August 2019

Zitat der Woche - Sommerausgabe


süß und schwer
der träume
von weichem
in die blau
liegt der mittag
ein dösendes tier
und schweigt
kühlen abends

Dienstag, 6. August 2019

The "summer hole" by any other name

Seeing how this is the perfect time for this, I thought some linguistic news that doesn't fit anywhere else might be in order.

So I present to you what we in Germany call the "summer hole" (Sommerloch), as defined by Wikipedia - enjoy! 
In the United Kingdom and in some other places, the silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media. It is known in many languages as the cucumber time. The term is first attested in 1861, was listed in the second (1894) edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and remains in use at the start of the 21st century. The fifteenth edition of Brewer's expands on the second, defining the silly season as "the part of the year when Parliament and the Law Courts are not sitting (about August and September)".

In North America the period is often referred to prosaically as the slow news season, or less commonly with the phrase dog days of summer. In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the silly season has come to refer to the Christmas/New Year festive period (which occurs during the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere) on account of the higher than usual number of social engagements where the consumption of alcohol is typical.

The term is also used in sports, to describe periods outside traditional competitive sporting seasons.


Other countries have comparable periods, for example the Sommerloch ("summer [news]hole") in German-speaking Europe; French has la morte-saison ("the dead season" or "the dull season") or "la saison des marronniers" ("the conker tree season"), and Swedish has nyhetstorka ("news drought").

In many languages, the name for the silly season references cucumbers (more precisely: gherkins or pickled cucumbers). Komkommertijd in Dutch, Danish agurketid, Icelandic gúrkutíð, Norwegian agurktid (a piece of news is called agurknytt or agurknyhet, i.e., "cucumber news"), Czech okurková sezóna, Slovak uhorková sezóna, Polish Sezon ogórkowy, Hungarian uborkaszezon, and Hebrew עונת המלפפונים (onat ha'melafefonim, "season of the cucumbers") all mean "cucumber time" or "cucumber season". The corresponding term in German is Sauregurkenzeit and in Estonian hapukurgihooaeg ("pickled cucumber season"); the same term is also used in Croatian as sezona kiselih krastavaca and in Slovene as čas kislih kumaric.

The term "cucumber time" was also used in England in the 1800s to denote the slow season for tailors.

A silly season news item is called rötmånadshistoria in Sweden and mätäkuun juttu in Finland, both literally meaning "rotting-month story".

In Spain the term serpiente de verano ("summer snake") is often used, not for the season, but for the news items. The term is a reference to the Loch Ness Monster and similar creatures, who are reputed to get more headlines in summer.

Donnerstag, 1. August 2019

Sommer! Ferien!

Wo und wie auch immer ihr den Sommer und die Ferien verbringt - jetzt erstmal Seele baumeln lassen!!

Freitag, 26. Juli 2019

My students must really like me...

...otherwise they would not have given me a present today, on the last day of school. Really, I should have been the one to give them something, since they really were a great class, making my life as a first-time head teacher a lot easier than it could have been! Instead, they gifted me with this:

And they obviously also put a lot of thought into it - I love dictionaries, and I don't speak Bavarian (and all attempts are pitiful, for some reason, even though I was born and raised here and don't have any problems with other languages, but that's a different story).

So, to my lovely students: Thank you so very much!! You've been wonderful and I look forward to teaching you again next year (even if it's not as head teacher, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, now is it?)! ;-)

Samstag, 20. Juli 2019

Auf die Workshops - fertig - los!

Das Programm für die Fachkonferenz des BDÜ vom 22. bis 24. November in Bonn steht, und nun kann man sich endlich auch für die Workshops anmelden. Leider erstmal nur für einen, da die Teilnehmerzahlen verständlicherweise begrenzt sind, aber falls später noch Plätze frei sein sollten, gibt es noch eine zweite Runde.

Ich fand es gar nicht so leicht, mich für einen einzigen Workshop zu entscheiden, ich wäre gerne bei drei oder vielleicht sogar vier dabei.
Nach langem Überlegen habe ich mich schließlich für den technischen mit den regulären Ausdrücken entschieden. Die interessieren mich schon lange, und ein bisschen habe ich mich schon rein gearbeitet - zumindest ausreichend, dass ich es geschafft habe, in memoQ Regeln für die Konvertierung von Datumsangaben zu erstellen (und ja, ich bin stolz darauf) -, aber so richtig kenne ich mich nicht damit aus.
In der Beschreibung des Workshops steht sie sind kleine Wundermittel in der Übersetzerhand, und wer kann sowas nicht gebrauchen?

Wer kommt auch zu der Konferenz? Und zu welchen Workshops geht ihr so? Bitte gerne in den Kommentaren schreiben, vielleicht trifft man sich ja auch?

Freitag, 12. Juli 2019

Does MT influence language?

Language is in constant flux as is; the influence of globalization on English, for example, is undeniable. I constantly come across words and phrases that only ten years ago would have been considered incorrect, but can now be found even in such esteemed publications as the Financial Times (one of my non-favorites: so-called). And the reason is the increasing number of non-native speakers and writers around the world expressing themselves in English, always influenced by their own native languages.
The same applies to other languages, too, of course (may I just mention the infamous Denglish word "Handy"?).

Machine translation reflects this, as well, because the data it uses also stems from all over the world. But that is not the only way in which MT might influence language.

"Post-editese", i.e. the language or perhaps dialect machines "speak", is real, as Antonino Toral from the University of Groningenin the Netherlands found out. In his paper "Post-editese: an Exacerbated Translationese" published July 1 of this year, he found that there is a definite difference between the target language a human translator produces and that coming out of a machine. Toral says:
Compared to unaided human translations, we show evidence that post-edited translations are simpler, more normalised and have more interference from the source language. Could post-editing then have a negative influence on the target language? If so, should we care about that?
I think the question is quite relevant and one worth thinking about, and not only with regard to what a translation is supposed to "sound" like (target audience, purpose etc.), but also looking at what this means for the future of a language, particularly one into which a lot of translations are done.

The question whether something is correct only because a lot of people say or write it gets a whole new meaning in this context, as well. Because if "people" soon also includes machines, does that mean language will become more "mechanical"? And is that something we should just accept?

Donnerstag, 4. Juli 2019

Wenn die Verwendung von MÜ nicht nur fahrlässig ist, sondern lebensgefährlich werden kann

Ausgerechnet der Springer Verlag - renommiert und seriös - hat ein Wörterbuch herausgebracht, an dem kein einziger Übersetzer beteiligt war. Und das auch noch zu einem so wichtigen Thema wie Pflege. Statt (Sprach-)Profis einzubeziehen, verließen sich die Autoren nur auf Mediziner und maschinelle Übersetzung - mit verheerendem Ergebnis. Der „Dolmetscher für Pflegende“ strotzt nur so von Fehlern, wie der österreichische Übersetzerverband UNIVERSITAS Austria heraus fand, der das Buch gleich mit dem Negativpreis „ÜbeLsetzung des Jahres“ auszeichnete.

Auf ist ein ausführlicher Bericht darüber zu lesen, bei dem einem die Ohren schlackern.

Wenn das Buch wirklich so verwendet wird, könnte das im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes lebensgefährlich sein... !