Wednesday, May 31, 2006

is 'subsidiarity' a word?

And if it is, what the heck does it mean? OK, I know what it means but I had to look it up first, all right?

My translation assignment this time is about social/political/European Union stuff. Here's some of what I'm wrestling with. This particular excerpt consists of only two German sentences.

Unter Bezugnahme auf das do. Rundschreiben vom 10. April 1997 beehrt sich das Amt mitzuteilen, daß die in den übermittelten Unterlagen beschriebenen Aktivitäten grundsätzlich gegrüßt werden. Im Hinblick auf die Subsidiarität der Materie und dazu in ausreichendem Ausmaß bestehenden gesetzlichen Regelungen und Vorkehrungen sollte jedoch darauf geachtet werden, daß das Ergebnis der diesbezüglichen Bemühungen nicht in Form einer EU-Richtlinie gebracht wird, sondern als allgemeine einheitliche Information für die Mitgliedsländer zur Verfügung steht.

Gahhhhh!

It's not that difficult to get the definition of the individual words or to understand the intended meaning of the text in your head. It's dismanteling the whole thing and putting it back together again to make coherent English sentences that's the fun part.

I need to get this done today. I'm almost finished. Wish me luck.

22 Comments:

At May 31, 2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous lillian said...

Yuck ! And good luck :-)

 
At May 31, 2006 2:56 PM, Blogger In Actual Fact said...

It's not that difficult to ... understand the intended meaning of the text

Really? Surely the tricky part of such translations isn't turning it into coherent English, but making sure it's still inpenetrable EU-BureaucracySpeak?

 
At May 31, 2006 3:38 PM, Blogger christina said...

lilian - Thanks!

actual fact - Well, that too. :-)

 
At May 31, 2006 3:42 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Yikes is right! That'd be enough to drive me to drink.

 
At May 31, 2006 5:03 PM, Anonymous J.Doe said...

That looks hard. I can figure out the April 1997 part though. :)

 
At May 31, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

lol - yeah i did google translator. It's a lot of gobly gook that I wouldn't care to read even in English!

 
At May 31, 2006 6:51 PM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

I only have one thing to say, better you than me! Best wishes and good luck!
Cyn

 
At May 31, 2006 8:44 PM, Blogger traveller one said...

"Gezuar" (Albanian for "Good Luck!"

and

"Noroc" (the Romanian version!)

 
At May 31, 2006 10:43 PM, Blogger christina said...

lisa - Yep, a gin and tonic would probably help things along.

J Doe - you're on your way to becoming a translator. :-)

Expat - LOL - yeah, those translation programs are pretty funny. This one needs a human touch, I'm afraid. The whole sentence structure has to be totally switched around.

Cynthia - Thanks! The course is really interesting, actually, but I have a deadline to meet and of course it would be a lot better if someone was paying me. Maybe someday...

traveller one - thank you! Yes, I recognite the Romanian version. :-)

 
At June 01, 2006 6:48 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

LUCK!!!!!!

cause i havent a clue what it says and I AM German. blaaa

 
At June 01, 2006 7:20 AM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Good luck! I'd have trouble making coherent English sentences out of that, too.

 
At June 01, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Claire said...

Wow! Honey if you can translate that, then I may definitly send some translation work your way!

 
At June 01, 2006 4:08 PM, Blogger christina said...

Andrea - lol! Yeah, it's different than knowing how to say "please pass the salt" :-)

canadianswiss - It is kind of fun though.

Claire - Well, after almost 16 years here I think I have a pretty good grasp of the language. Bring it on, dude!

 
At June 01, 2006 7:03 PM, Blogger Haddock said...

Mrs H does a lot of translation work in her job. I sympathise with your situation. Somethings don't translate very well at all at times :)

 
At June 01, 2006 7:31 PM, Anonymous Jan said...

Christina,

I'm surprised that they give you such a text for a translation exercise. These are very poorly worded and structured sentences. "... beehrt sich das Amt mitzutielen" is complicated and plain ridiculous. Moreoever, the expression "gegruesst" is incorrectly used in this context. (Did they say "Hello!" to the activities?) It should be "begruesst".
Never heard of "subsidaritaet" before, so at least I learnt something new. What a pain-inflicting assignment.

Jan

 
At June 02, 2006 12:06 AM, Blogger christina said...

Haddock - Well, I find it interestin figuring out just what the Germans mean. :-)

Jan - I think the whole point of the exercise is to demonstrate how difficult it can be to deal with Amstdeutsch, 'waffling' and EU documents that may have already been translated back and forth a few times. The course is also about translation theory so it's not just straight translation - the problems and how to deal with them are also addressed. You're right about gegrüsst being incorrect. I noticed that too.

 
At June 02, 2006 12:58 AM, Blogger Mike B said...

My former colleagues would bring me things with something like a hundred words in German and ask for the English equivalent, and it usually worked out to 25 words in English. Think a 4 to 1 ratio fits here?

 
At June 02, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Kines said...

Though I'm not a big fan of irrelevant comment postings, I just wanted to thank you for signing up for International Weblogger's Day. You've been successfully added. Be sure to spread the word.

Rio

http://www.chronicled.org/intlblogday

 
At June 02, 2006 10:55 PM, Blogger cncz said...

My old boss, Pepe Le Pew (what I call him on good days, bad days he got called Herr Buttmunch) would pull out these completely French phrases and expect me to come up with translation goodness in English. I so feel your pain.

 
At June 03, 2006 8:50 AM, Blogger christina said...

mikeb - 4 to 1 sounds pretty good to me. But it depends on the text - sometimes you're allowed to interpret it freely and other times you have to find exact equivalents.

kines - thanks for letting me know!

cncz - Pepe Le Pew - LOL! They think it's just so easy, don't they? This text turned out not just to be officialese, but Austrian officalese, which I understand is even worse.

 
At June 05, 2006 9:49 PM, Blogger Mike B said...

I guess I'm going to have to work Frankfurt into my next hip-hop track.

 
At June 07, 2006 7:18 AM, Blogger mar said...

What an assignment! although I always have more difficulties translating from my own language into German...

 

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