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Off topic: legal translation spanish to english
Thread poster: Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro

Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:31
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 10, 2006

I´m trying to translate a court order from spanish to english. As many of you will know, Spanish court orders follow a very archaic style. Obviously, you can´t translate it word for word. Does anybody know of any models I can follow?

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:31
Swedish to English
+ ...
Am I missing something here? Nov 10, 2006

Or are you, a native Spanish speaker, trying do a professional Spanish-English LEGAL translation?

I'm not surprised your having problems.

Good luck.

[Edited at 2006-11-10 22:28]


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claudia bagnardi  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
There are many links... Nov 10, 2006

The one that comes to my mind first is

www.allaboutforms.com

Hope this helps, Alfonso.

Claudia


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:31
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Spanish court orders follow a very archaic style... and so does legal English Nov 11, 2006

It uses a lot of archaic and formulaic expressions, very different from everyday English; it is commonly known as legalese.

The Kudoz glossary is full of legal expressions. You can begin by searching there. You may also Google the expressions. Write the expression in Spanish and some words in English and you are likely to hit a document where the phrase appears in both languages. Also, search for "court order".

I have seen legal documents from Spain and the first hurdle is to understand them completely. They are quite complicated and intricate. Now try to translate something that specific and special into something equally specific and special. Good luck, you are swimming in deep waters!


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:31
Dutch to English
+ ...
No quick fix ..... Nov 11, 2006

"You teach yourselves the law. I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush, and if you survive, you'll leave thinking like a lawyer."

- Professor Kingsfield, Harvard Law ("The Paper Chase")


Can make their stuff pretty hard to translate if you haven't been through those ropes.

Good luck, but as you surely must know already - specialising in legal translations, with 20 years of experience, some of which were spent in-house at Barcelona law firms - there is unfortunately NO quick fix.

Yes, there'll be some standard expressions, particularly at the end of the judgment where the Court decides to uphold/dismiss, award (in the former case) and then rules on costs - but you must have those down pat already with your background.

As for the facts and the merits, they differ from case-to-case and the key is to understanding the reasoning of the Court as it applies the law to the facts. There is no template for that.

And, of course, once you've understood it, you then have to render it into EN legalese, at native-level, recognising and providing for the difference between legal systems.

Quite a tall order, as many who jump on the legal bandwagon find out too late to their and their clients' peril.

But you'll be fine - you've been around the legalese block for a long time, right?

You're also in the fortunate position of having worked in-house at law firms - there's no shame in calling an ex-colleague (lawyer) to explain a few things from a legal perspective.

I'm a qualified lawyer but I didn't study law in Portugal (I studied and practised in a Roman-Dutch, common-law system).

So, I sometimes phone my PT lawyer to explain some rather peculiar concepts that are not covered in my monolingual PT legal dictionaries. In turn, he sometimes phones me to help explain something to an EN client sitting in his office - system works well for us both as neither of us abuse it.

Try it - it's a valuable added source for a legal translator.

If that's not an option because it's a weekend and your deadline is Monday, I'd suggest reading up on the law in question in monolingual SP sources online (including academic commentary).

Once you've mastered the subject-matter of the particular case and can then really understand the reasoning, the rest should fall into place - after all, you've been doing it long enough.






[Edited at 2006-11-11 06:18]


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Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:31
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all. Nov 11, 2006

Thank you, you have all been very helpful. I should have checked my spelling.

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Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
"You're a better man ..." Nov 11, 2006

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Or are you, a native Spanish speaker, trying do a professional Spanish-English LEGAL translation?

I'm not surprised your having problems.



Everyone has to start somewhere.
Good luck though and rather you than me.
Sarah.

[Edited at 2006-11-11 09:45]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:31
Dutch to English
+ ...
Who said anything about starting out? Nov 11, 2006

Sarah Brenchley wrote:

Everyone has to start somewhere.



Granted, but NOT:

a) into a foreign language (there are exceptions, few and far between, but I don't see evidence of that here);
b) especially in fields like legal or medical; and
c) at a client's expense

but I fear you may have missed the point, poster has been a legal translator for years already according to his profile.

So, on that basis, his issue can really only be the particularly demanding subject-matter of the judgment he's translating and if he ropes in some solid, monolingual legal help to explain the concepts, the rest should, at this stage of his career, be par for the course.

[Edited at 2006-11-11 12:53]


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 20:31
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Surely only a chosen few should even contemplate translating legal into a foreign language Nov 11, 2006

Sarah Brenchley wrote:

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Or are you, a native Spanish speaker, trying do a professional Spanish-English LEGAL translation?

I'm not surprised your having problems.



Everyone has to start somewhere.
Good luck though and rather you than me.
Sarah.

[Edited at 2006-11-11 09:45]


Having had the pleasure (? ) in the past to have proofread legal translations into English by lawyers and translators who were not native Engish speakers (and just contracts, nothing complicated), I feel safe in saying that very very few (and none of those I proofed) will ever be able to do such translations to the standard required. Imho is basically a no-go area. For some reason, there is currently open season on legal translations being offered to and accepted by one and all, native speakers and non-native speakers alike. And I am not just referring to those going into English.
BTW, are schools now teaching GEFL courses? (Guessing English as a Foreign Language)?

[Edited at 2006-11-11 11:56]


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Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:31
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, again. Nov 11, 2006

I was just trying to do my homework.

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:31
Dutch to English
+ ...
Did I misunderstand you perhaps? Nov 11, 2006

Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro wrote:

I was just trying to do my homework.


OK then, so are you specifically trying to find out in a theoretical context - for coursework perhaps - whether there are specific models/templates that can be applied in legal translation and, in particular, to court judgments?

OR

By "homework", do you mean you're busy with a translation for professonal purposes?

Homework normally implies something academic, hence my question.

I understood however from your first posting (as did everyone else, I think) that you were seeking advice in a professional, practical context.


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Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:31
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
First option. Nov 11, 2006

I couldn't have said it better myself. All I wanted was the first option you mention.

Thank you once again.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:31
Dutch to English
+ ...
Well that wasn't very clear at all .... Nov 11, 2006

Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro wrote:

I couldn't have said it better myself. All I wanted was the first option you mention.

Thank you once again.



it sounded like you were someone starting out, accepting a job they shouldn't have (which didn't tally at all with your profile) rather than someone posing an academic question.

Be that as it may, my answer would simply be the following:

YES, as far as the standard phrasing is concerned (i.e. at the beginning where the Court is addressed and at the end of a judgment referring to any award that's made, what forms of interest are levied, etc, etc.)

and

NO, as far as the facts and merits are concerned as those differ from case to case.

If it's a verdict in a criminal trial, you'll find some standard phrasing regarding the elements of the specific crime, if it's a civil judgment you'll find some standard phrasing relating to what the claimant needs to prove on a balance of probabilities to succeed, but otherwise it's pretty much wide-open.

Each judge has his own style, own way of expressing things, own interpretation of the law even, it's not an exact science - if they all thought and wrote the same there would be no need for a system of appeals.


Hope this helps

[Edited at 2006-11-11 14:01]


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ideas Nov 12, 2006

Alfonso Perpiña-Robert Navarro wrote:

I´m trying to translate a court order from spanish to english. As many of you will know, Spanish court orders follow a very archaic style. Obviously, you can´t translate it word for word. Does anybody know of any models I can follow?


As someone already mentioned, the Proz glossaries have a wealth of information. I really prefer to look where you can actually see everybody's answer, and not just the one selected. Hopefully you are not too pressed for time, you have a lot of good legal dictionaries, and you can also ask questions in Kudoz, and we'll all try to give you a hand.

Good luck to you with this assignment! Buena suerte,

teju


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