Translation of legal documents requires specialist knowledge and linguistic precision. A legal translator must be able to identify the correct legal meaning of the original text and reproduce that meaning in a different language version.
Based on our extensive experience working with the drafters and translators of EU legislation, we have developed a training course that teaches translators how to:
- analyse the original legal text
- ensure that their translation has the same legal meaning and effect
- apply clear legal writing principles
The training is in English but the method can be applied to translation from and to any language.
Training workshops for translators at the European Commission and European Council
Feedback from translator at European Commission DG Translation
"I very much appreciated the "element boxes" model developed by the lecturers. It provides a useful and detailed framework and toolbox for examining legal provisions and their elements, and also for trying to make sense of problematic situations where elements do not go neatly into the boxes. In a way, the approach resembles the propositional analysis method used in linguistics and discourse analysis to segment texts/paragraphs /sentences/expressions into their basic elements, then determining the discursive function of each element. A similar element model has been used, for instance, for the analysis of news.
The explanations provided were clear, and the examples presented by the lecturers were illustrative. What I also found very positive was that the lecturers had done a lot of research to find out the meaning that the drafters of the legal acts had actually tried to achieve. Thanks to this, the analysis of the examples was based on hard facts and not just (educated) guesswork. Further, discussion of the various expressions typically used in conjunction with the different elements of legal acts (to express a condition, an exception, a relationship with another provision, etc.), and the problems often encountered with them, was very useful!
I was very happy with the training and wish to thank the lecturers for their excellent work. I'm also glad that the lecturers had wished to approach us translators to find out more about our work and the way we deal with various issues in the source texts. Interestingly, many of their pre-conceptions proved to be more or less correct, but I am convinced that they now have an even clearer picture of translation issues after the pilot workshop. Hopefully, similar future sessions will be organised for translators.
Finally, I'm looking forward to the book on this subject that the lecturers are planning to publish.