Harold W. Vadney III is a wannabe translator who lies about his credentials. In August 2007, I exposed him on the now-defunct Network of Independent Linguists’ Discussion Forum. He has now set up a blog devoted to telling lies about me and others. This is my reply. To comment or for further information write to Richard_Benham_AU-StopVadneysLies[at]yahoo.com.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Shock! Horror! Vadney gets a translation assignment!

The Vadney often claims to be a translator, but there is scant evidence of any professional activity. Or rather I found none at all until relatively recently. So one might have begun to suspect that the Vadney was not really a translator after all. Well, just recently, I happened on a sample of his work, and yes, it confirms our suspicions: the Vadney is not a translator at all.

The sample is available for perusal at http://www.alice-in-wonderland.biz/chromolithoshistorical.htm. Those who know German will acknowledge that the text is challenging in places, with its convoluted syntax, archaic use of language and somewhat technical content. But the Vadney is unfazed by all this. In fact, he is so stupid he doesn’t even see the problems, and in any case he stuffs up even simple things.

For example, consider the last sentence:
The colour plates in the Brockhaus Conversation Lexicon, 14th Ed., are generally produced in 12–21 colours for creating an artistic, natural and finely nuanced reproduction.
I am aware that the reader is not necessarily familiar with German; so I shall focus on the English. What, for example, is a “Conversation Lexicon”? Is it a dictionary you consult simultaneously with talking to someone? Clearly, the Vadney has seen the German word Konversations-Lexikon and simply calqued1 it. But in translation, you are not supposed to produce nonsense, unless of course the original happens to be nonsense. So what should the Vadney have done? Well, actually, he had two perfectly defensible options:
  • The German Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon is obviously the name of a reference work, and therefore, as a proper name, could be left untranslated.

  • He could look the word up in a good dictionary. The first choice for serious translators is a monoglot dictionary in the source language, and there is a reasonably good one available on-line, known as DWDS. Here is how DWDS defines Konversationslexikon:
    alphabetisch geordnetes Nachschlagewerk über alle Wissensgebiete
    which can be more or less literally translated as
    alphabetically-arranged reference work dealing with all areas of knowledge.
    In other words, it’s an encyclopædia. So, having consulted the dictionary, the Vadney could have quite legitimately translated Konversations-Lexikon as “encyclopædia”. (Note, too, that there is a big hint in the full title of the work, given on the site referred to: it contains both the word Konversations-Lexikon and the word Encyklopädie. Being able to read is generally a professional advantage for translators.)

Then we could perhaps look at that “for creating an artistic, natural and finely nuanced reproduction”. What we can see here, again without reference to the German, is that this use of for + gerund is wholly unidiomatic in English. (I am not saying it is unidiomatic in all contexts, of course: consider “This axe is for decapitating vexatious litigants” or “Vadney should be imprisoned for using fake credentials”.)

The word “natural” is also wrong as a translation, although you need to know a little German to work that out. The original says originalgetreu, which means “true/faithful to the original”—precisely what the Vadney’s translation is not. The English word “faithful” would be quite adequate here.

Just to answer the common charge that one should not criticize something unless one can do better (actually a contemptible argument2), I consider the German sentence:
Die Chromotafeln in Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon, 14. Aufl., sind zur Erzielung einer künstlerischen, originalgetreuen und fein nuancierten Wiedergabe meist in 12-21 Farben hergestellt.
As is more often than not the case in translation, there is a wide range of options to choose from. Here is one suggestion:
Most colour plates in Brockhaus’s Konversations-Lexikon (Encyclopædia), 14th edition, have been produced in 12-21 colours to achieve an artistic, faithful and finely-nuanced reproduction.
I am the first to acknowledge that this first attempt could be improved, but at least it avoids the beginners’ traps into which the Vadney’s effort falls.

I would invite the reader to check out the rest of the Vadney’s effort. Non-Germanists will probably, through no fault of their own, not understand very much; Germanists may enjoy some of the hilarious misparsings of the original. Here is a random quotation:
Plate 3: Brown is the principle [sic] drawing plate of the image and more strongly delineates off all central parts that produce shadows and foreground elements than the latter, but is omitted entirely in individual light and background elements, because in virtue of the application of the subsequent grey drawing and contours, these elements are replaced.

A couple of days ago, I lambasted the Vadney for misspelling the word archimandrite on a religious forum. Perhaps I was too harsh: perhaps being a sloppy, inconsiderate, semi-literate moron is now the accepted norm on on-line fora. But a paid translation (and the Vadney leaves no room for doubt as to his attitude to unpaid translation3) is another matter: once you accept payment, certain “professional” standards are expected. Let’s face it: the Vadney is too stupid and too ignorant to produce an accurate translation, and at the same time too lazy and too arrogant to spend a few minutes checking readily available references.


1. For the benefit of non-linguists, a calque is a slavish literal translation. As well as being a mistake made by beginner (or incompetent) translators, it is also a possible route of word formation. For example, the French prêt-à-porter is a calque of English ready-to-wear. (Its use as a trendy “loan-word” in English is a lesson in itself!) Other possible examples are English undertaking and German Unternehmen, both based on French entreprise.

2. Suppose, for example, you buy a domestic appliance (say a washer) which, due to a design fault, catches fire, resulting in the destruction of your house and the death of several members of your family. So you sue the manufacturer, whose defence is: “Well, you build a better washer!” Do you consider this an adequate defence? Would you meekly drop your case unless you could meet the manufacturer’s challenge?

3. Consider the following, taken from his “Twanslation Fwauds and Wannabes” blog, as part of an attack on me for (allegedly) translating a piece on apes’ skulls without payment:
Most professional translators do not bastardize their work or the industry as a whole and receive a fee for translating.
Whatever you may think of pro bono translation, all Vadney succeeds in demonstrating, apart from his cupidity, is that he can’t read: what I actually said I had translated free of charge was a section of the Algerian legal code, for the benefit of a charity that tries to reunite abducted children with their parents.

Update: Here is the relevant sentence from my old CV; judge for yourself whether the Vadney read it right:
More unusual jobs have included some scientific descriptions of the skulls of the great apes, and (on a voluntary basis) the Algerian family and nationality codes.
After the Vadney’s petulant outburst, I added to my web-page (which is in serious need of more professional hosting: I pay Yahoo! for my own domain name and an ad-free site, and they persistently fail to deliver!) the explanation:
(unfortunately, Mr Harold William Vadney III’s application to be included in this collection had to be rejected because of the qualification “great”)....
So you can see why he is dirty about it. Imagine missing out like that! I suppose, when it comes to reuniting abducted children with their parents, the Vadney is afraid he’ll be torn away from the tender embraces of Mr Edward J. Hayes III and taken back to the trailer. Well, How-Old, you may never have grown up, but the legal definition of “child” is purely in terms of chronological age.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The last thing the RC Church needs is another bleeding deacon!

In my most recent entry, I wondered aloud just why the Vadney even wanted to be a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, given that it is so hostile to his dogma. Then someone wrote to me and pointed out that there are other definitions of the word deacon, especially as a verb.

Consider the following:
transitive verb
  1. Informal to read (a verse) aloud before it is sung by the congregation: usually with off

  2. Slang
    1. to pack (produce) so that only the best shows
    2. to deal with deceptively

["deacon." Webster's New World College Dictionary. 2009
  • Your Dictionary. 24 May 2009
  • <www.yourdictionary.com/deacon>]

Well, one can see some sense in the first definition quoted above. The practice seems to be a relic of the days when most people were illiterate. Vadney is trying to lead a chorus of condemnation of his (by definition right-thinking) detractors. Funny how nobody seems to be joining in. The trouble is that anyone stupid enough to take him seriously is unlikely to be able to read.

The other definitions also have some applicability. The Vadney does indeed try to package himself so that only the best shows...except that even his best is so shabby he has to dress it up, claiming degrees, professional memberships and affiliations he doesn’t have, for example. And he is too stupid to realize just how transparent his lies and posturing are. And that brings us to the last definition: “to deal with deceptively”. Well, I don’t think the Vadney needs any kind of ordination to do that: he’s been deaconing us all along!

But then there is the question of what sort of deacon the Vadney wants to be: did he perhaps have in mind becoming a “bleeding deacon”?

n. a person who believes himself indispensible [sic] to a group, esp. a person who becomes so over-involved in a group’s internal management, policies, or politics as to lose sight of its larger goals; (hence) a person with a negative, moralizing character, who acts like the sole source of wisdom.

["bleeding deacon." Double-tongued Dictionary
  • Double-tongued Dictionary. 24 May 2009
  • <http://www.doubletongued.org/index.php/dictionary/bleeding_deacon/>]

Hmmm... “a person with a negative, moralizing character, who acts like the sole source of wisdom”: does that sound like anyone we know?

All this leaves me with just one question:

Why doesn’t he just deacon off and bleed to death?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Vadney's Wings Clipped (at last!)

Well, he has been asking for it for years, and finally he has achieved it. Not before time, a judge has taken a stand against Vadney’s vexatious litigation. Here is an excerpt from a recent order in the matter of Vadney vs Ross et al (State of New York Supreme Court, County of Greene, Index No 08-1361):
Finally, since Mr. Vadney has a history of abusing the civil justice system by bringing continued actions devoid of merit against the same defendants, he must be precluded from relitigating the same claims and issues and expending judicial resources. Therefore, Mr. Vadney is enjoined from bringing any future actions in the New York State Unified Court System against John Luckacovic, his agents or his attorneys without prior approval of the appropriate administrative Justice or Judge.

There is a similar order with an identical relevant paragraph, mutatis mutandis, in relation to Joan Ross.

Joan Ross and John Luckacovic are neighbours of the Vadney against whom he has filed several vexatious and frivolous suits in the past few years. It is good to see that the judge, Joseph C. Teresi, has finally put a stop to it. For some reason, although there are five defendants named in the recent lawsuit, including myself, the Vadney has elected not to serve on me or the Times Union, and served too late on Joan Ross and Scott Horne. (He has claimed to have served against me at my parents’ address in Australia, although he knew—and even stated on his blog—that I was not living in Australia or anywhere near it at the time. In fact, for several weeks during the period allowed for service, I had my then current street address on the main page of my website, which the Vadney was aware of, having made sneering references to it in his blogs....)

The Vadney did his best to butter up the judge with a couple of blogs devoted to defaming him (thinly disguised as blogs about the legal system in New York State, but somehow almost invariably picking him as an “example”). The astute reader may be wondering why Mr Teresi didn’t disqualify himself from hearing the case. Well, there would have been a bit of a problem finding any judge who had not at some time been the target of scurrilous attacks from the Vadney, often including attempts to have them removed from the bench for alleged misconduct. (“Judicial misconduct”, in Vadneyese, is any decision or action the Vadney doesn’t like. Note that, apart from a few ostentatious references to press articles he has seen, all examples of “judicial misconduct” he ever mentions are in cases to which he is a party, even if he frequently neglects to mention this.)

Reverend Deacon Vadney?

Recently, I had cause to note that the Vadney has been campaigning to have himself made a deacon of the Roman Catholic Church. Now the Roman Catholic Church has attracted a lot of criticism in its time (in this 15th-century German woodcut, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, for example, note the form of the “golden cup [...] full of abominations” in the hand of the “Whore of Babylon&rdquo). It might have given the world the Crusades (for which, it could be argued, we are still paying in terms of the distrust between the Muslim world and the West), the trade in indulgences and the Holy Inquisition; it may have supported Franco and connived at Hitler; but surely it would not sink so low as to ordain such an odious and loathsome creature as the Vadney? Let us hope not! Deacons can actually make a difference to people’s lives, you know!

Anyway, there is something in common between the Vadney’s attempts to become a deacon and his attempts to win frivolous court cases, apart from the impudence and hopelessness of his efforts. As we have seen, he has been attacking the judge presiding over his case against his neighbours while the case was still in progress, surely not a very politic thing to do. So it is no surprise to find his efforts to obtain ordination accompanied by attacks on his bishop. It seems How-Old has some trouble with people exercising authority over him....

I am in discernment for the diaconate in the Latin rite but I have reservations about our bishop (he's saddeningly liberal) and have discussed seeking dual faculties in both the Latin and Byzantine (Ukrainian) rite with a Franciscan priest and Byzantine archymandrite (is that correct) at our friary.

[Catholic Answers Forum posting 08/01/2009]

We may note that the Vadney describes his bishop as “saddeningly liberal”. We shall have occasion to return to that question later. We may also note his pathetic attempt at spelling archimandrite. It would have taken less than a minute to look it up in an on-line dictionary, but the Vadney is not inclined to show even that minor level of respect for his readers. It also speaks volumes for his level of classical education: doesn’t he even recognize the Greek prefix αρχι- (as in archiepiscopal, to maintain the ecclesiastical tone)? In this regard, I would note his propensity to try to give the appearance of erudition with Latin quotations, which he almost invariably stuffs up. (It must be admitted that the ostentatious interpolation of blundered Latin is widespread on that forum.) For example, another post contains the alleged Latin sentence Laudate Jesu Christi! Perhaps the Vadney would care to explain why he has put Jesu Christi in the genitive...? Didn’t think so; so I will explain: He has lifted the quotation from a longer sentence in which he did not understand the grammatical relationships.

Returning to our muttons, it seems that How-Old has been told he is too old to enter the diaconate. He has made numerous postings to the Catholic Answers Forum about this, some of them addressing the issue of age directly, others just attacking his bishop with greater or lesser degrees of explicitness. For example:
In the meantime, I have received about 130 responses from about 161 dioceses across the USA re: whether the diocese has age limits on vocations (specifically the permanent diaconate).

Interestingly, many of the poorer performers (e.g. my own Albany NY diocese) have caps on vocations.


This is the second post to the thread, which How-Old himself started, on “Scriptural Bases for Agism” (not to be confused with another one of his threads, Scripture and Agism: Any Refuting Passages?). In other words, he was replying to himself. There is no indication in either this posting or its predecessor as to what he is on about, but it seems from yet another thread that he is referring to a report on the per-capita level of ordinations by diocese. He apparently is trying to claim that there is some correlation between the “success” of a diocese in attracting vocations and its lack of age limit. He uses this as a platform for another irrelevant and gratuitous attack on his bishop:
Fr Roger Hunter-Hall and his co-author Steven Wagner, despite what appears to be a methodology problem, have nevertheless produced a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the state of the Catholic Church and the situation of the dioceses and their CEOs, the bishops.

In summary, Hunter-Hall and Wagner, provide us with five very convincing characteristics of the successful bishop:
(1) successful bishops [...].

Hunter-Hall would have been more complete if they were to have enumerated the same number of characteristics of the unsuccessful bishop. I'd like to propose the following based on the Hunter-Hall model of the 5 Characteristics (with the proviso that I am using my own bishop and Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany (NY) as a general model):

(1) an unsuccessful bishop abuses discretion or relies too heavily on underlings or delegates his authority to subordinates in matters requiring his personal pastoral and paternal attention; discretion takes the place of the Holy Spirit;
(2) an unsuccessful bishop is not cheerful or joyful and does not inspire his flock with evangelical enthusiasm and joy in their faith;
(3) an unsuccessful bishop delegates his responsibility for outcomes to subordinates;
(4) an unsuccessful bishop is not personally involved in discernment for vocations and uses discretionary authority as a weapon rather than a tool; he fails in promoting the morale of his priests, ministers, and flock; he fails in his pastoral and paternal obligations and fails in his teaching and evangelization obligations by not inspiring the faithful to build the church, becoming overly focused on ulterior activities;
(5) an unsuccessful bishop accepts the decline of his dioceses faithful, parishes, vocations, ministries and does not take proactive and decisive steps to ensure that his diocese flourishes;
(6) an unsuccessful bishop surrounds himself with administrators and bureaucrats, insulating himself from his priests, religious, and flock;
(7) an unsuccessful bishop is not paternal or fraternal but is arrogant and distanced;
(8) an unsuccessful bishop frequently is too long in the one diocese and is literally burnt out and ineffective;
(9) an unsuccessful bishop becomes the victim of his own unwieldy administrative system and its lethargy;
(10) an unsuccessful bishop does not seek his flock's inputs and concerns; he ceases to himself discern.


Note that the Vadney does not even name his bishop (Howard J. Hubbard), but makes it very clear that the reference is to him, by citing his diocese “as a general model” and referring to “an unsuccessful bishop”. So which bishop did you have in mind, How-Old? This is standard practice for him: he just happens to take Judge Teresi, who heard his case, as an “example” for his attack on the judiciary, just as I was an “example” of an “Internet troll” (I wonder whether he ever worked out what that term actually means), because I happened to be involved in his exposure as an impostor and fraud.

Funny that he should attack the bishop as too “liberal”, though. Does the Vadney know the Roman Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality? His own views seem somewhat “liberal” by comparison, for example:
I am pretty well read in Holy Scripture and would be hard-put to cite any outright statement that condemns homosexuality and those that are interpreted by some as lending support for such condemnation are less than convincing on closer scrutiny.


While not "homosexual" myself, I do know many homosexuals who are pretty well-balanced and would put some agressively
[sic] Christian people to shame in terms of caritas, generosity, faith, etc. I know of some homosexuals who are in long-term relationships that any Christian would be proud of and many Catholic divorcees should have endeavored to have emulated. I know some brilliant and saintly religious who are homosexual. Are all of these to be lumped together and prime candidates for prime property in Gehenna?


One has to wonder why the Vadney has put the word “homosexual” in quotes. Cynics might cast doubt on his disclaimer, pointing out that almost all the Vadney’s public utterances, whether they concern Suzuki dealers, judges, bishops or translators, are self-serving. Those same cynics might even ask why the Vadney posted to the Gay Bombay mailing list. But let us not let such uncharitable thoughts detain us. Let us assume that the Vadney’s threat to stick his “big red dick up [Mr Edward Hayes III’s] ass”, reported in the depositions the Vadney was always promising to post but never did, was some kind of abstruse metaphor. The Vadney provides enough occasion for nausea without the need to delve into his private life. The fact remains that his views are in direct opposition to Roman Catholic doctrine. So why does he even want to be a deacon? Why does he bag his bishop for being “liberal” when his own views (on that particular subject) are so incompatible with traditional doctrine? I think I can answer both questions. The Vadney wants to be ordained to give him a feeling of power and importance, and he is bagging the bishop because he apparently is an obstacle to the Vadney’s latest pet project.

To round off this post, a Latin (mis)quotation of my own....

Ceterum censeo Vadneium esse delendum

Note that I have adjusted the case-endings to fit the change of object. Pity the Vadney can’t do that.

About Me

I am a professional translator in the combinations French>English and German>English. I hold qualifications from the University of Adelaide (BA, DipCompSc), the Australian National University (LittB), the University of Geneva (Certificat de spécialisation en linguistique), and the the UK-based Institute of Linguists (Diploma in Translation for both my language combinations). I am an implacable opponent of bullshit in all its forms.