The Translation Inquirer
Well, I didn't say what language it was supposed to be in, just that it was a fifteen-letter word, beginning and ending with "n," and meaning
Congratulations to all those who picked up that linguistic gauntlet in the Red Lion's bar. Sorry—in the private club; there are no bars in Salt Lake City! Wasn't all that silly? Although on the other hand, when I was waxing lyrical about just how silly it was, Cynthia Calder remarked mischievously “Yes, it reminds one of English liquor laws, doesn't it!" With a start—it is a long time since I have lived there—I had to admit that it did indeed.
So what other Inquiratorial things happened at the Conference? Well, Michel Meunier was wondering for his native French, Beate Henry for her native German, and Dolores de la Cabeza for Spanish, how to express the concept of "jail bait," so evidently SLC wasn't all just serious stuff! Any ideas, anybody? Beate Henry also wonders if anyone can give her the German for "twist tie."
Another thing that happened at the Conference was that I bought an Eichborn. Why is that relevant to the column? Because Erika Matt had asked for suggestions for a dictionary on accounting and finance, and Sevenpoint Press (713/554-4487) has just started selling the Grosse, Kleine and Mini Eichborn financial, economic and business dictionaries. (Puzzle for our Germanists which occurs to me as I write: in the preceding bilingual sentence, would you inflect Gross and Klein, and if so, how? The name on the cover, remember, is "Der Grosse Eichborn." I can see at least three ways to handle the adjectives, all of them arguably correct. End of puzzle.) Meanwhile, in the same context, Betty Howell offers Fachwörterbuch Rechnungslegung -Steuern - EDV, Arthur Andersen & Co. GmbH/Schaffer Verlag. It has German-English and English-German sections, including German financial statements with acceptable English equivalents.
Also at the Conference's opening cocktail party, someone told me how much they liked the transitions I make from one paragraph to another. Which I mention only in order to cover the fact that I can't think how to make a transition from the financial dictionaries question to Dolores de la Cabeza's request for the Spanish for "default!" Por omisión, says Ilene Schenkel, quoting the Glosario de computación by Alan Friedman. In Portuguese, says Thelma Salim, it's padrão, valor assumido como parametro, or valor padrão. J.Henry Phillips adds valor de omissão.
The thing I liked most at the party were the truffles. Oh, you didn't get any? Sorry, I suppose I ate them all. As a consolation, let me offer this answer from Renée Pinto on the word rabassier. Rabasse: Vosges patois word for a small mushroom, not a truffle. Rabassier: small dog used by farmers and rural residents to find the rabasse.
At the same party I met Lola de la Nuca, who opined that NPO as an author's affiliation is probably Nauchno-proizvodstven-noyeob’yedineniye, or "scientific production association." Edward Wright and Shifra Kilov (quoting the Russian-English Social Science Dictionary, R.E.F. Smith, University of Birmingham) concur, and Vladimir Potap'yev explains that these are institutions which combine research and production facilities, and which arose out of a need to accelerate the commercial utilization of applications derived from research. They tend to be found in defense-related areas, although they do exist elsewhere also.
Also at the same party our very own Editor threw down this gauntlet of her own: what is the only English word comprising two English pronouns? (Hint: one of them is possessive, the other is not).
Who knows? The Inquirer doesn't!
On the other hand, he does now know, because Robert Bononno and Caitlin Walsh told him so, that a "relational database" is a base de données relationnelles, that a "feature" is a fonction, a caractéristique or a particularité, and that a "script" is a script or a scripte. A "field" is a zone nowadays, although in less recent contexts one does still find champ. Thus zone d'enregistrement for "record field" and zone d'intérêt for "interest field." Assuming that the "query form" is a dialog box or record form for entering information, we are offered formulaire or enregistrement de recherche. Ginguay has fichier de manoeuvre as a "work(ing) file," and Robert Bononno suggests that we may not want to use fichier de travail because a fichier des travaux is a "job stream file."
In addition to Ginguay, Caitlin Walsh sometimes uses the older (and monolingual) Dictionnaire de l'informatique, Librairie Larousse. She also offers some other titles from a review, although with the caution that she hasn't actually seen and evaluated the books: Dictionnaire de l'informatique, AFNOR; Dictionnaire informatique, Fisher, Eyrolles (those two are both E-F and F- E, either in one volume or two); Dictionnaire des sigles anglais utilisés en électronique et en informatique, Le Brizault, Tec & Doc; Le nouveau dictionnaire de la micro-informatique, Mesters et Virga, Marabout (those two are mono-directional) and Dictionnaire de la micro-informatique, Johanne de Luca, Belin (which I believe is French only). She is working on an industry-wide glossary in the field, and invites anyone remotely involved in localizing software for the world market to get in touch with her and help establish a terminology network in a rapidly changing industry.
Moving from computers to commerce, Robert Bononno would like to know if anyone can provide information about any or all of the following: droits concédés, droit de gestion or droit moral ("The translation as ‘copyright' is obsolete.") He explains that these three are not laws, but refer to the rights of one of the parties to a contract. Also: coexploitant, mention obligatoire and glissant, as in une période de trois mois glissants. And he thanks everyone in advance for the help, which is nice.
In the same context, Bernie Bierman takes issue with Frederick Fucci's translation of "leveraged buyout" by rachat d’entreprise par les salariés. (Which, we remember, FF wasn't entirely happy with, either.) No, says BB, a rachat d’entreprise par les salariés would be the sort of thing which happened with Avis, where the employees, of all levels, purchased the controlling interest. An LBO, on the other hand, is a takeover from outside, generally hostile, and generally financed by mortgaging very heavily the equity of either the acquiring or the acquired company through the issuance of high-yield or junk bonds. While there may be no precise term for it in other languages, precisely because the securities laws of many other countries contain provisions which would prevent the phenomenon itself from occurring, he offers his own concoction of rachat pondéré to cover the "leveraged" notion.
Now here's my nine cents' worth. (Subtle way of warning you how little I know about such financial shenanigans!). While it would certainly appear that a rachat d'entreprise par les salariés would be a buyout by all levels of workers, and an LBO tends to be a hostile attack mounted from outside, isn't it also true that an MBO, the buyout of a company by its own management, is also usually pretty heavily leveraged? That surely is the only way they can afford to do it, because isn't it axiomatic that if they had enough "real" money to buy the company they wouldn't be salaried managers in the first place?
Strayed a long way from the Conference, haven't we, Inquirer? Not really, because while BB and I may not have discussed LBOs, MBOs or RESs, we did exchange other p.i.s (pithy insights) at the p.c. (In SLC, it's p.c. to call a b. a p.c.)
And the next morning, staggering out on to West Temple, I espied a Zweiachsmuldenkippsattelanhänger. "Great heavens," quoth I, "that must be what Albert Feldmann called a “biaxial semitrailer for a dump truck!" Which advances our knowledge a little way, but as I recall Alan A'Dale wanted it in French. Alors, les copains?
Said vehicle was being worked on by some shade-tree mechanics, no less. For which David Gladish offers des genies sur l’herbe, adding whimsically "It's no picnic." In turn, he would appreciate suggestions for a rendering of 18th-century Latin fetus cerebri. He had wanted to say "brain child," but an editor balked at it. Anything better, anybody?
Anything, anybody, for "override" in Portuguese? J. Henry Phillips wants to know, as in "manual override," "safety device override" and similar concepts.
Anything, anybody, for Buntsäfte or salvatorische Klausel in English? Erika Matt wants to know.
Those countertop colors: Carol Myers suggests for pinoweiß "white pine," and for cumulusgrün "shaded green," "clouded green" or even "tornado green." While a correspondent from Ann Arbor remarks sadly: "Green is not a countertop color here yet (again)."
The same correspondent tells Letthe Catin that in mathematics abhängige and unabhängige Variable are indeed "dependent and independent variable." In the expression x = f(y), x is a function of y, and depends on y, which varies independently. The easy ones are the hardest ones, as we all know.
See you all in San Diego!