There was a query on Proz this week on a topic I remember once discussing on u-forum: when you translate a judgment from German to English, how do you indicate that part of it is in reported speech? I basically agreed with the solution in this case, although it wasn't quite what I would do (using words like 'allegedly' was one of the points, and I find that a bit negative). I must say that the suggestions and discussions on Proz are often extremely helpful to me. Proz has this weird system called Kudoz, whereby you get points if you help someone to answer a question. This seems to force people to put effort into their answers, because they get even more points if their answer is selected, although sometimes the asker doesn't select the best answer. There are discussions on Leo and dict. cc too, which tend to be more time-consuming to consult. So here's the problem: German uses the subjunctive for reported speech. It is absolutely clear from the verb itself that this is reported speech, even without the reporting verb. Here is a sentence from a judgment of the Bundesgerichtshof:
Nach Auffassung des Berufungsgerichts hat die Klägerin einen Anspruch darauf, dass die Beklagte die Bezeichnung der Klägerin als "Terroristentochter" unterlässt (§ 823 Abs. 1, § 1004 BGB analog). Die Bezeichnung verletze die Klägerin rechtswidrig in ihrem allgemeinen Persönlichkeitsrecht.
The judgment quotes another court. It is a vital part of the meaning that this is a quotation. In the second sentence, the verletze is subjunctive, so clearly indirect speech, without any introductory verb or 'Nach Auffassung' and so on. In English, it is essential to make this reporting clear. If the reporting verb is in the past tense, the reported verb is backshifted, but this is not always enough to show reported speech: it could mean 'verletze' or 'verletzte' ...Zum vollständigen Artikel