Translating Parmesan, the cheese of choice for astronauts

formaggio granaI did enjoy this article on, all about protected trademarks for local speciality foods such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Kobe beef. The author explains that when the cheese is ‘translated’ into English and called “Parmesan”, the name is no longer protected in the U.S., leading to cheeses of far inferior quality being passed off as the real thing.

Not sure if this really qualifies as a Monday smile, but food is certainly a pleasant subject!

I also discovered that real Parmigiano Reggiano is so healthy that American and Russian astronauts are fed it in space!Ā There’s an interesting point about the trademark protection of Champagne not being applicable in the States too.

Glossary – US Patent & Trademark Office

Knowing that quite a few translators work on patents, I thought this glossary from the United States Patent and Trademark Office might be of use.

Personally, I’m not too keen on the visual presentation of the glossary, but it certainly seems useful.

There are also a number of videos providing introductions to various procedures and terms (such as “specimen”, “applicant”, “drawing” and “basis”) used by the Office. You can access a list here. Beware – not all computers will play the videos and some of the links appear to be broken. šŸ˜¦

Tenacious TeflonĀ®

I think you might find this very witty post on the So Meta blog,Ā After DuPont bans TeflonĀ®Ā from WordNet, the world is their non-sticky oyster, amusing (or possibly sad).

It involves the giant DuPont that has threatened WordNet, an open-source database of the English language, with legal action because it wasn’t happy with the entry concerning TeflonĀ®.

WordNet, based at Princeton University,Ā provides data for researchers in many fields. It is not a commercial undertaking.

Here are some questions for you. Was WordNet right to capitulate and change the entry? Did DuPont have legal standing to threaten action anyway? (see Dr Butters’ comment at the end of the So Meta post) How much responsibility does a lexicographer have for entries they provide?

Brought to my attention by Dr Tim Grant at Aston among others.