Errors and Omissions: Some things don’t travel very well from Greece to Britain

Tell us where the trial took place, at least. This week's Independent coverage is reviewed by our letters editor

Share

When I was taught how to report court cases, at Sunderland magistrates’ court in the 1970s, it was made very clear that there were some things you must be sure are present and correct. Among them are the name of the court, and the charges the defendant faces. Obvious, you may think.

Not to the writer and editors of this opening paragraph of a News in Brief item published on Thursday: “A Briton was sentenced to eight years in jail for killing his girlfriend in Crete. Luke Walker, 25, of Brierley Hill, West Midlands, was convicted of grievous bodily harm over Chelsea Hyndman’s death in May 2010. A court heard he beat Miss Hyndman so badly she died of acute peritonitis.”

You start off assuming that the court hearing took place in Greece. Then you come across “grievous body harm” which is the name of an offence in English law. But hang on, if she was dead, it can’t mean grievous bodily harm in the English sense. GBH is a very serious offence, but it leaves the victim still alive. So, concludes the desperately struggling reader, the trial must have been in Greece, and the charge was – er, presumably something Greek that sounds like grievous bodily harm but actually means something like murder. All this could have been avoided if somebody had thought to say where the trial took place, and to translate the charge intelligently into English.

No sweat: Last Saturday, a “Fantasy Band” story referred to an American rapper who goes by the name of Earl Sweatshirt: “I think he’s the youngest member of Odd Future – he’s only about 19.” Wikipedia says that Mr Sweatshirt, born 24 February 1994, is indeed 19 years old. So why “about 19”? It makes it look as if the writer can’t be bothered to look it up. But hey, it’s only rock’n’roll.

Firm decision: We may talk about popping round to the chippie or the butcher, but would you say you had visited “the architect”? A news story published on Thursday reported that “one of Britain’s leading architects suffered a blow yesterday when its managing director quit after embarrassing emails criticising him were leaked”.

The reader pauses for a moment, fearing a misreading. Surely an architect is a person? Shouldn’t that be “one of Britain’s leading architectural firms”? Yes, it should.

Homophone horror: Simon Horobin, the Oxford professor who called for some simplification of English spelling, may have a point. A comment piece on Tuesday spoke of the International Space Station: “Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers is one of the principle justifications for spending colossal sums of money on what some have called ‘that huge turkey in the sky’.” That should be “principal”. There are etymological reasons for the distinction between “principle” and “principal”, but in the actual use of the language it serves no purpose, which is why people so often get it wrong.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales & Marketing Assistant

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This UK based B2C and B2B multi...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Executive - Opportunities Across The UK

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...

Recruitment Genius: Events Consultant

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen for an ex...

Recruitment Genius: Injection Moulding Supervisor

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Busy moulding company requires ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Teenagers make a request to vote at a polling station in Stanwell Village, west of London in the 2005 General Election  

If teenagers were keen to vote, it could transform Britain

Peter Kellner
Crocuses bloom at The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew  

From carpets of crocuses to cuckoos on the move, spring is truly springing

Michael McCarthy
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003