Saturday, February 23, 2013

Free access to the OED for the NYU community

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
If you are registered at NYU, take advantage of this gift from the NYU libraries: free access to the Oxford English Dictionary. Once your ties are severed from your alma mater, access will cost you $295/year, or $29.50/month.
For access:
Login to Bobcat> Databases A-Z> Scroll to the below listed entry for the OED, and click on the blue hyperlinked text:
The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution ofthe English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide tothe meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, bothpresent and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotationsfrom a wide range of international English language sources, from classicliterature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.
Enter your term in the search field at the top of the OED Splash page:

Happy browsing and searching! This is a fabulous and immense resource, made searchable courtesy of the www and information technology! :-)  

Wow patents! - Crocs!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Do you wear CrocsTM?   
Or should I ask: do you ever take 'em off?
CrocsTM are made of a proprietary closed-cell foam resin called CrosliteTM. This makes CrocsTM lightweight, ergonomic and odor-resistant. CrocsTM has sold 200 million pairs of CrocsTM in 90 countries since 2002. The company celebrated 1 billion USD in annual sales in 2011. CrocsTM was awarded utility patent US 6993858 on 02 -07 2006 for an invention called:Breathable footware pieces . The patent covers all parts of the clog including the ventilator openings, the contoured base section, the CrocTM rivets, the foldable strap on Classic CrocsTM, and the injection molding manufacturing process.   

Breathable footware pieces: “Among other things, the present invention provides various footwear pieces, and methods for manufacturing such pieces. In various cases, the footwear pieces are molded from a lofted material. Further, in various cases, the footwear pieces include liquid conductors formed around ventilators, or openings in the upper of the footwear piece. Such liquid conductors operate to disperse liquids away from a foot inserted in the footwear piece.” US6993858 


Thursday, February 21, 2013 - Ideas worth spreading

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
“Riveting talks by amazing people, free to the world! “Great talks to stir your curiosity (inspiring, jaw-dropping, funny!)”

 is a non-profit dedicated to the diffusion of “ideas worth spreading” at the intersection of Technology, Entertainment and Design (since 1984). Some of the most interesting and active people in the world are invited to give talks in 18 minutes or less at two annual conferences: a springtime conference on the West coast of the US, and a summertime international conference, held at various locations. This year’s global TED conference, for example, will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland (in the UK). The talks are then made publicly available on-line at (since 2007). And many additional events and groups, such as TED Open University, TED Salons, TEDIndia, TEDWomen, TED Fellows, and TEDPrize, have arisen out the company’s original desire to diffuse “Ideas worth spreading” – all of which now attract an audience of people in the billions.
This is also a site that crowd-sources translations for subtitles, using time-coded and interactive transcripts! If the spirit moves you, this is a place to hone your multilingual subtitling skills!  FH
Here is Dr. Bonnie Bassler on “Bacteria babble”:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rule of thumb for using Linguee responsibly

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
If you know or fully understand the meaning of what you are looking for, and the translated term or expression eludes you, search with Linguee. If you have no clue what the expression or the term means, exercise extreme caution because you will not be able to determine whether the translations are precise and correct. This is far from the case in more instances than one, and you should first figure out the meaning, search for documentation, ask for explanations, consult a knowledgeable subject matter specialist, and then use Linguee. It is strongly recommended to ere on the side of caution as the material you translate subsumes real world consequences, whether it is in the courts, or when workers’ and /or patients’ lives are at stake in an instruction manual (connected to patented material).
Translations tend to go “viral”. See for example what happened with the term “aspiration”, consistently translated as "inhalation" instead of "suction", in the pharyngeal tube abstract we just translated. This is an example of “you just killed the patient with your translation”… Fortunately, you will find yourself somewhat protected with Quality Control Standards, in the real world, where there are numerous cycles of proofing and editing, performed in such a manner of varying perspectives, that someone coming in fresh to the translation will pick up on the mistranslation.
Still, this should provide you with clear insight into what happens when you blindly import translations without a critical eye.
 In every other respect Linguee is a fabulous tool and resource And we are indeed very lucky to all obtain free access.
©Copyright Françoise Herrmann

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Velcro US2717437 (4)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Visit too!
Screenshot of of Products page @

Velcro US2717437 (3)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann


G. de Mestral
Velvet fabric and method of producing same
 Filed Oct 15, 1952
Granted Sept. 13 1955
Assignor to Velcro, S.A. A corporation in Fribourg, Switzerland
“My novel fabric distinguishes from the other similar fabrics by the fact that the raised pile is made of artificial material, while at least part of the threads in said pile is provided near its end with material-engaging mean, as required for adhering to a similar fabric or for scouring purposes.
“Each small bar is provided with a longitudinal groove in which is guided a knife adapted to cut the loop open and to form thus the raise pile threads. However, with a view of obtaining the hook 4, I heat the bar before the cutting of the loops 6, so that the thread extending over the bar may assume and retain the shape imparted to it by the latter.”
Source: US US2717437

Velcro US2717437 (2)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Velcro© is practical. It was inspired by Burdock Burrs. Yes, those pesky little round dry pods that stick to your clothes. See below for a picture of what a Burdock Burr looks like, just in case you are wondering!.... 
The close-up photograph shows the little hooks that hook onto anything that is soft, like fabric or hair or your pooch’s fur. And it probably looked exactly like that to George de Mestral, the Swiss inventor of Velcro©, who spent a dozen years trying to reproduce, and finally manufacture, fabric that could emulate a similar attachment.
What a story Vel(ours) + Cro(chet) tells! The story of a great invention and of US patent 2717437

In 1952, plenty of fasteners existed, of many sorts: laces, buckles, buttons, bows, even zippers (since 1917). Who would have ever thought of a hook and loop fastener, much less inspired by Burdock Burrs?! Indeed, this was not was not only a novel type of fastener, it was completely non-obvious!

The manufacturing process was tricky. Mestral went to Lyon, in France, the capital of weaving and textile industries. Cotton loops and hooks did not work. More resistant nylon fibers were needed. And when the patented Velcro was finally produced, it also did not sell well… It was only after the development of successful applications for astronaut suits and scuba diving equipment that Velcro©
 finally broke into the fashion industry.

Perhaps that one day it will also break into Hollywood: “Vel + Cro”! That would be required viewing for this patent translation course!J

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Article on Velcro (Feb 15. 2013)
US Patent 2717437

Friday, February 15, 2013

Velcro US2717437 (1)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
  You are listening to Velcro from Sound of Stereo by the group EP Zipper…
 Of course you would never suspect that one side of Velcro(R) is called the hook-side and the other side is called the loop side and that this is a translation of the original components of the word Velcro fusing “velours” and “crochet” in French. Velcro(R) was invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer, George de Mestral....
This is one of the advantages of being a patent translator; you will never again look at the most mundane objects with the same eye or innocence. In fact you may never look at the world in the same manner… Almost EVERYTHING is a patent! You already know about your Nike or Addidas sports shoes with shock-absorbing sole systems, but how about your wick-away shirts, your warm Synchilla(TM) jacket and your Gortex(TM) windbreaker to prevent you from getting soaked in the rain? What about your toothbrush and its 8,800 rotations and 20,000 pulsations per minute of brushing, giving you a dentist teeth clean every morning, noon and evening, your dental floss, the Zip-lock bag for your sandwhich at lunch, or all the zippers on your pants and dresses, the no-tear shampoo for your baby? If the item is not “patent-pending” it is surely already patented in the US, or elsewhere. Look at labels and you will start to notice that we live in a patented world!
Oh BTW, just in case you are wondering about Velcro(R): the “hook side” is the smooth side, and the fuzzy pile side is the “loop side”. :-)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wow patents! Bioprinting

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
[Posted Friday 2/08/2013] Claims in reference to a bioprinting process were by far the most impressive material (with no pun intended) that I have ever translated. Can you imagine a cobbled ink-jet printer using cells instead of toner to print a (human) kidney in 3D? Seriously? This was like another episode of Startrek... until I did the research in the field of tissue regeneration and tissue engineering, and realized this was far from fiction. Scientists do not even have to know the exact relationships or configuration of cells because cells have memory of their function and a few days after being printed they find their perfect place, fuse and start to function together as an organ… So, yes, seriously, there are printers that print human tissue, and human organs in 3D… using tissue architecture algorithms. The dream of course is that these printers will solve donor shortages and tissue rejection complications since it takes a few hours to print a human kidney, using the patient’s own cells. And for animal rights activists, printed tissue could replace the use of animals in research, not to mention food grade printed tissue replacing the meat on your plate…. (with proper FDA approval…!) See the following video to suspend your own disbelief! -- FH 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cool patents - Spray on shirts

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
For anyone interested in farout fabrics, Fabrican Ltd ( ) patented a spray-on clothing invention! This invention has medical applications too.