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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.

Source:        http://termcoord.eu/2016/04/the-magical-search-engine-for-terminology/



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.

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A legal text always reflects a specific national legal system, in the sense that it is based on the laws, rules and regulations of that legal system. Any national legal system is, in turn, culture-based, since it is created in accordance with the needs of a specific culture and aims to ensure harmonious co-existence between the members of that culture. In this sense, law is an integral component of culture. Since no two cultures are identical, no national legal system can be identical to another, even if both of them belong to the same legal family. The logical consequence of this simple fact, and one that is of course anticipated by professional legal translators, is that difficulties and challenges are bound to come up while transferring a legal text’s message from one national legal system to another, due to the differences and non-equivalences between the respective legal systems. These differences and inconsistencies are, of course, also reflected in the legal language, which is the means of expressing the national law.

The differences therefore between the source culture and the target culture create inconsistencies in legal texts. There are different kinds of inconsistencies, but in this post we are going to talk about what is perhaps the most common kind of inconsistency that can be found in legal texts, one that arises due to the non-existence of a culture’s realia (institutions, concepts and systems) in another culture. This type of inconsistency is called factual inconsistency. I wonder if there is a professional legal translator who hasn’t encountered terms, phrases or concepts in legal texts that refer to realia that exist in the source culture, while no equivalent realia exist in the target culture. An example of a factual inconsistency that I recently encountered while translating an English legal text into Greek is the term “fiduciary”. This general term, that can be found in Common Law systems, refers to the person that somebody entrusted with the management of their affairs. The individual who acts as fiduciary is someone who undertakes to act for the benefit of and on behalf of the person who trusted them in relation to a particular affair. In bilingual English to Greek legal dictionaries the term fiduciary is usually translated as θεματοφύλακας (thematofylakas). The term θεματοφύλακας (thematofylakas) however refers to the contract of deposit under Article 822 of the Greek Civil Code, according to which “the depositary takes delivery from another person of a moveable thing with a view to keeping it subject to the undertaking of restitution upon demand”. It doesn’t take long for a professional legal translator, who is familiar with the Greek law of obligations, to realise not only that the term fiduciary cannot be translated as θεματοφύλακας (thematofylakas) in Greek, since a fiduciary relationship does not include only guarding a moveable thing, but also that there isn’t really an equivalent term or concept in the Greek legal system with exactly the same meaning and an identical content.

The next question that logically comes up is how should a legal translator tackle these inconsistencies?

We will try and give an answer to this question in a future post. In the meantime, you can read more about inconsistencies in legal texts and the legal translator’s approach in this article by Stefanos Vlachopoulos  in Greek or in this one  by Radegundis Stolze in English.


by Eva Angelopoulou

TransLaw 2016, Tampere, Finland – preliminary programme

Last year we reported on the announcement of a conference to be held in Tampere, Finland, entitled “Translation and Interpreting as a Means of Guaranteeing Equality under Law”.

You can read our post about the conference here.

The conference’s preliminary programme has now been released and there are a few talks that look really worthwhile from the viewpoint of legal translation.

For example, it might be interesting to find out how legal translators are certified in different countries (“Certifying legal translators – a comparative approach”). On the second day there is a talk entitled “Background knowledge of the legal systems involved as a precondition for successful translation”, which refers (i) to teaching methods for legal translation in Norway and (ii) to JurDist, an online course on legal translation for legal translators who translate from Norwegian into English, French, Spanish or German. Later the same day there’s another talk entitled “Translating deontic modality in legal texts”. Given current general trend in English towards simplifying the language of the law, this talk should provide an up-to-date picture of the subject of how the verb ‘shall’ can and should be used to express an obligation. The majority of other talks refer to legal interpreting in police and courtroom settings.

Registration for this conference closes on Monday, 4 April. For further details, including fees and accommodation, visit their website.


By: Eva Angelopoulou

The German Society for Forensic Linguistics (GSFL) has just announced an event indirectly relevant to legal translation which explores issues of language, evidence, multilingualism and the law, and court interpreting.
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Translating the workings of a civil law system into English (common law) terminology can be extremely difficult, as all those who have ever attempted it will know. The reason for the complexity is simple; translating from one system to another system is far from straightforward. When, for example a Dutch lawyer has to explain his legal system to a common law lawyer, it is not simply a matter of replacing Dutch words with English words. The Dutch system is not a carbon copy of the English system, which means that there will not always be equivalent English terminology at hand for translation purposes. In order to use English legal terminology correctly and effectively, the practitioner must not only be familiar with his own legal system, but also have a basic grasp of the structure of the common law system.

Source: Helen Gubby, English legal terminology: Legal concepts in language (Boom Juridische Studieboeken)

by Eva Angelopoulou

Terminology Management for legal translators

Terminology management is the process of documenting terms in an organized and systematic way. Given that up to 40% of translation time can be spent on terminology research, documented terminology is of vital importance to translators since it helps greatly reduce the time spent to re-research each term. Terminology management files, like glossaries, are useful not only to linguists, but to clients as well, who can re-use them for similar future projects. Being able to leverage terminology means that professional legal translators ensure consistency and high-quality content in their legal translations.

For those interested in terminology management there are two summer schools that provide respective training.

To begin with, the International Terminology Summer School (TSS) is a one-week, practice-oriented training course about the methods and principles of terminology management, organized and lectured by some of the most renowned and respected trainers and experts in the field of terminology. This year it is going to take place in Vienna, Austria from the 11th until the 15th of July 2016.

This summer school is designed for translators, terminology professionals, students and researchers who are looking for an introduction to terminology management in theory and practice. No specific background or knowledge level is required to participate.

On 13th July one of the topics is dedicated to legal translation and terminology.

The provisional programme is as follows:


  • What is terminology?
  • Why terminology management?
  • How terminology work is embedded in my organisation and work environment?


  • Data Modelling: Data Categories for Terminology Management
  • Terminology Tools – Terminology Management, Extraction and Control
  • Terminology Exchange
  • Creating a Terminology Database
  • Exploring TBX


  • How to present the business case for terminology
  • Terminology Policies and Terminology Planning
  • How to calculate and argue costs & return on investments for terminology
  • Legal translation and Terminology


  • Copyright Issues for Terminology Management
  • Standards for Terminology Work: Principles, Definitions and Relations
  • Terminology Work in ISO TC 37



  • Participants’ Terminology Projects, Q & A Workshop
  • Wrap-up, Final Discussion, TSS Certificates and Closing

You can find more information about fees, discounts and registration here: http://www.termnet.org/english/events/tss_2016/index.php

Similarly, the Faculty of Arts of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) is organising the 1st International Translation Technology Summer School in Antwerp, Belgium from the 29th of August till the 2nd of September 2016.

This Summer School is not focused on terminology management only, but also covers other interesting topics regarding translation and localization issues and tools.

According to the website, the overall draft programme is as follows:

Day 1

  • The translation process and translation technologies
  • Parallel workshops on multilingual workflow management, file formats and file conversion

Day 2

  • Computer-assisted translation tools (CAT): commercial vs. open-source, desktop vs. cloud
  • Parallel workshops on different translation memory tools and translation management systems.

 Day 3

  • Workshop on Machine Translation and Post-Editing
  • CAT-tools and dictation
  • Terminology management and corpus-analysis tools

 Day 4

  • Technical communication
  • Parallel workshops on website and software localization

 Day 5

  • Parallel workshops on Quality in Translation
  • How to evaluate translation technologies

This is also a one-week event, during which experienced trainers and experts from both the academic and the commercial world will give presentations, hands-on workshops, and use case scenarios. The keynote speakers are yet to be announced.

This summer school is designed for language professionals who are looking for a practice-oriented and state-of-the-art introduction to translation and localization issues and tools. It would also be very useful for legal translators, or for people looking to improve their overall translation skills, including their legal translation skills.

You can find more information about fees, discounts and registration here: https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/conference/transtech-summerschool/registration-ttsummerschool

The language of instruction and discussion for both these events is English.


By Eva Angelopoulou

Late announcement:

The University of Geneva is hosting a talk tomorrow on  “The complexities of legal translation in the drafting of bilateral treaties between Italy and English-speaking countries”. The Speaker is Dr Rocco LOIACONO (The University of Western Australia/Curtin University). The talk is at 12:00 hours in Room 6077 of the University’s Uni Mail building in Geneva tomorrow Wednesday 2 March.

This is part of the Transius Talks Series which addresses various aspects of legal translation.


Source: Transius network


By Eva Angelopoulou


Eleventh Conference on Legal Translation, Court Interpreting and Comparative Legilinguistics (Legal Linguistics) / The 17th International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law


The Institute of Linguistics at Adam Mickiewicz University will hold an international conference devoted to language and the law. The aim is to provide a forum for discussion in those scientific fields where linguistic and legal interests converge, and to facilitate integration between linguists, computer scientists and lawyers from all around the world. The conference will be held over 3 days, from 24th to 26th June (Friday-Sunday) 2016 in Poznan, Poland. Papers are invited on the following topics:


  1. (comparative) forensic linguistics
  2. forensic phonetics
  • forensic authorship attribution
  1. forensic stylistic
  2. linguists as expert witnesses
  3. linguistic features of forgeries and counterfeits of public documents


  1. legal translation;
  2. court interpreting;
  • teaching legal translation and court interpreting
  1. certified translators and interpreters in legal proceedings
  2. mistranslation and misinterpreting in legal context


  1. legal linguistics
  2. history of legal language
  • legal terminology
  1. legal genres
  2. EU legal language
  3. analysis of legal discourse
  • structure and semantics of statutes and other legal instruments;
  • development of legal languages
  1. legal and linguistic interpretation of texts formulated in legal language
  2. teaching legal language
  3. speech style in the courtroom
  • comprehensibility of legal instruments
  • Plain Language Campaigns
  • linguistic aspects of cross-examination
  1. technicality in legal language


  1. history of legal systems
  2. comparative study of legal systems
  • common law versus civil law countries


  1. language rights
  2. linguistic minorities and linguistic human rights
  • language and disadvantage before the law



Source: http://www.lingualegis.amu.edu.pl/?main_data=legi2016&lang=en

Sixth International Conference on Law, Language and Discourse

Haifa, Israel, 1-4 August 2016


Theme: The development of legal language and its interpretation; linguistic and pragmatic aspects of the evolution of the synchronic understanding


The conference addresses issues that concern the current development of theory and method in all the intersections of language with different aspects of law and legal discourse from various legal traditions, languages, and nations.

The topics include, but are not limited to:

Legal language and discourse:
– Intercultural differences in the features that make legal language a sublanguage
– Courtroom language and interpretation
– Plain language movements

Interpretation in religious and historic systems of law: 
– Jewish Rabbinic courts and the Halachah
– Jewish Halachah and the Bible
– Roman ecclesiastical courts and Catholic Canon law
– Sharia courts and the Quran and Sunnah
– Law, precedent, and application in historic legal systems

Language as evidence:
– Authorship attribution problem
– Copyright issues
– Forensic phonetics



More information on: http://lld6.haifa.ac.il/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1797&Itemid=239&lang=en



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