AW: OT: rambles about translation

liril at liril at
Tue Sep 21 07:57:22 EDT 2004

Philip wrote (in our attempts to clear up the Rifle Question)
> Technically, a shotgun fires a large number of small lead pellets (shot) in
> a single charge. 

Yes, that is what I thought a Schrotflinte is, lead pellets = Schrot. I 
don't knwo if there technically is a Flinte that doesn't fire Schrot. Is 
a rifle also a gun? I connect the rifle=Flinte notion I had to 
Huckleberry Finn in a very hazy way. Anyway, after you explained the 
shooting gallery scene, I understand the difference and the translation 
problem. The translator probably didn't know about guns and didn't 
bother to check. That's not good work, but I think translation "you'r 
fishing for compliments" as "Du fischst nach Komplimenten" is worse, 
because this expression simply doesn't exist in German and sounds very 

> Counties?  Does Grafschaft have the same connotations in German that County
> does in English?  I thought the nearest German equivalent of a county was a
> Landkreis.

Erm. Now you've got me. What connotations? Roughly speaking a Grafschaft 
is a smaller territory ruled by a Graf. Graf was originally (ca. 
700/800) an office, given, together with land, by the king. Later, in 
Germany the vassalls swore allegiance only to the next higher nobles, 
which lessened the king's influence. From my knowledge of English 
history I gather the earls were very influential in some periods (Magna 
Charta?!) - in Germany they never had that kind of influence, that would 
be the Herzöge/Fürsten, especially the Kurfürsten who elected the king. 
Landkreis is a modern term, probably not dating back more than 100-150 
years (well, "modern", I suppose). It is linked to 
Kommunalverwaltung/Kommunalrecht and the idea of democratic self 
governance of smaller units. A Landkreis covers a small area, without 
the bigger cities that are "kreisfreie Städte", and fullfils 
administrational tasks the smaller communities cannot manage alone. 
Baden-Württemberg, the Bundesland I live in has 10 Mio. inhabitants 
(third largest federal state), and consists of 25 Landkreisen and 9 
Stadtkreisen (same thing, instead of covering an area, it covers a town) 
. The Landkreis Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, covering the area around 
Freiburg (Kreisfreie Stadt, v. complicated system, that's admistration 
for you) consists of 50 small communities. Okay, I stop now... ;-)

> The earldoms in Dalemark are sometimes called Marks.  I take it the word is
> the same in German?  

Yes. But Mark seems a more northern/north-eastern term to me, as in Mark 
Brandenburg and Uckermark.

> Careless!  And Mist is a particularly unfortunate name for a character in
> German, isn't it?

It is indeed. If you're called Manure, no pun is needed.


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