Category: Legal Translation

“From a legal point of view, adding or subtracting information in legal translation is a high-risk procedure, because of the potential change of legal meaning and/or effect of the target text, and therefore it is reasonable to assume that explicitation and implicitation will be a relatively rare phenomenon in legal translation”

Hjort-Pedersen, M. & Faber, D. (2010), “Explicitation and implicitation in legal translation – A process study of trainee translators” Meta: Translators’ Journal 55(2), 237-250 at 238

The Mau Mau case involving compensation for 44,000 Kenyans tortured in the 1950s while the country was under colonial rule looks like it could be interesting from a legal translation viewpoint.Continue Reading..

“Not only does [legal translation] require basic knowledge of the respective legal systems, familiarity with the relevant terminology and competence in the target language’s specific legal style of writing, but also an extensive knowledge of the respective legal topic in both source and target language.”

Source: Bhatia/Candlin & Allori 2008:17

“Legal texts are translated in vaster quantities than books and in more varied directions. Dreary as it may seem to all but legal eagles, the translation of law is a prerequisite for the construction and maintenance of a global society. Without it, business and diplomacy would come to a stop. But there’s something important to learn from it. Law is the very model of an untranslatable text, because the language of the law is self-enclosed, and refers to nothing outside of itself. In practice however, laws do get translated, because they must.”


David Bellos, Is that a fish in your ear? Translation and the meaning of everything, p. 224

In the field of legal translation, “the challenge is to show the ‘courage of creativity’ within the restraints of the law. This demonstrates the need for a flexible methodology offering creative techniques to translate legal texts and ultimately improve the quality of legal translations. In the age of increasing employment of computer programs also in the legal translation process, the creativity debate is a unique incentive to further strengthen a transdisciplinary approach to the translation task and to develop creative strategies to adequately meet the many and difficult problems arising in legal translation. Concretising the novel understanding of creative freedom in translating legal texts will make the modern legal translator increasingly aware of his creative potential and show him how to make the most of his opportunities to be creative.”


Source: S. Pommer, No Creativity in legal translation? Babel 54/2008, 355-368, 367,

A ‘Forum on Quality in Legal Translation’ is being organised on 6 June 2016 by the Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw and the DGT Field Office in Poland as part of the #TranslatingEurope project and is one of a series of Translating Europe Workshops taking place in all EU Member States. The forum will look at quality in legal translation from three perspectives: the academic, market and training perspectives, with panels moderated by experts in the field of legal translation.

The draft programme is available at:


The Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw

The DGT Field Office in Poland

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Fernando Prieto Ramos, University of Geneva

Prof. Hendrik Kockaert, KU Leuven.

Quality in Legal Translation

The Academic Perspective moderated by Dr Anna Jopek-Bosiacka

The Market Perspective moderated by Dr Agnieszka Biernacka

The Training Perspective moderated by Dr hab. Łucja Biel



The Transius Centre will hold a Symposium on Corpus Analysis in Legal Research and Legal Translation Studies on 3 June 2016.

As part of this symposium, speakers will discuss how to make corpus analysis more accessible and fruitful in applied research. The advantages and challenges of using different types of corpora and analytical methods will be examined from various interdisciplinary angles.

The symposium will be preceded by a seminar on corpus querying and statistics for corpus linguistics led by Dr Aleksandar TRKLJA (University of Birmingham) in the afternoon of Thursday 2 June. The aim of this seminar is to introduce participants to basic principles and methods of corpus linguistics for the study of interdisciplinary issues in monolingual and multilingual contexts.

For more details please visit the following website:

Registration is now open. Please note that there is a limited number of places to participate, and that they will be attributed on a first-come, first-served basis.




I was recently reading this interesting article by Andrew Nickels about the clauses “subject to”, “notwithstanding” and “without prejudice” and it got me thinking how useful the clarification of these terms would be for the purposes of legal translation.

Every legal translator has encountered one or all of these terms in a contract or some other legal document they had to translate, either to or from English. These shorthand expressions prove to be useful tools in saving time when it comes to drafting a contract and that’s why lawyers and legal practitioners use them often.

What do they really mean though in plain English? Are they always used correctly? Continue Reading..

Considering the time legal translators spend on researching terminology for legal translations, it’s always useful to have helpful tools for the job.

MagicSearch is a new multilingual metasearch engine which allows users to look-up terms in multiple sources with a single click, meaning immense savings in terms of time and effort.

Users can customize the sources by changing the order the results appear in, or by adding or removing sources.

MagicSearch supports over 10,000 language pairs, including all 24 languages of the European Union. The engine searches in IATE, the terminology database of the European Institutions, but also in TAUS, ProZ, Linguee or Glosbe among others, meaning it could well prove to be a useful tool for finding the terminology that appears in legal translations.




By Eva Angelopoulou

Some interesting comments in this interview published in the Guardian about the ECJ, how the common law approach helped the workings of the Court, and some brief mentions of legal translation in the context of the Court.

Continue Reading..


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