Legal Terminology for University Students
Thread poster: Derek Gill Franßen
This fall I will be teaching English legal terminology to German university students in their third semester (age: approx. 24). Most of them have had six or seven years of English in school. I will have eleven 2-hour classes over the course of the semester. The courses will have 25 students.
The classes are cumpulsory for all law students and must end with a graded test. I would however like to involve the students and encourage them to speak as much as possible. I would appreciate any suggestions on teaching material, useful books and websites as well as ideas and experiences.
It is a new program, so there isn't much to draw on. I will however have the opportunity to start a small library in the department which will also be offering courses in Spanish, French, Russian, Polish and Danish. I am head of the department and would also appreciate any suggestions (especially from teachers) on what I should or shouldn't do, what to avoid, etc.
Thanks in advance!
[Edited at 2004-09-25 12:54]
[Edited at 2004-09-25 12:57]
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| Legal Terminology for University Students || Sep 25, 2004 |
Derek Gill wrote:
I would like to involve the students and encourage them to speak as much as possible.
I will however have the opportunity to start a small library in the department which will also be offering courses in Spanish, French, Russian, Polish and Danish.
Hi Derek! This sounds fascinating and I hope Margaret Marks will read this posting. She taught legal translation for the University of Erlangen for many years. Kevin Pfeiffer taught English at a German university, I believe, so I hope he will chime in.
For right now, I can only offer a recommendation for two theoretical texts for your library based on your wish to "involve the students and encourage them to speak as much as possible:
Principles of Language Learning and Teaching
Teaching by Principles, An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy
| | rauhl
Local time: 16:23
French to German
| check out websites of other German universities offering this program || Sep 25, 2004 |
I took part in a program offering exactly the type of classes you're going to hold. This was 1990-1992 at the University of Passau, you can check out their program here:
I know there are quite a lot of universities offering foreign legal terminology for German law students, e.g. Universities of Augsburg, Trier, Potsdam etc.
A website that might be of particular interest is the one from Sharon Byrd, she holds similar classes to yours at the University of Jena:
And she has published several books on the subject, they are very good and detailed. I think you should have a look at one of her books, you can get them from C.H. Beck Verlag. They include practical exercises , translation tests etc., so you might use some of this when designing your own classes.
Maybe you could contact some of the universities offering similar programs and they might send you some material.
Unfortunately, I didn't keep any of my stuff from back then at university (really TOOO long ago), but I remember these classes as very helpful. In the beginning, we would read texts about the English (i.e. British) legal system and do legal-related translations, write essays etc. In the second year, we had a special class only dealing with case law (more held like a lecture). This would serve as a basis for the other class, where we would actually discuss judgments, develop arguments etc.
I really learned a lot in this program, the only thing I regret is that we didn't do a lot of translations and didn't learn anything about translation theory or typical problems when translating English legal texts into German. Because in the end, 1/3 of the final exam was translation and I remember it being quite tough because we weren't used to it, since we were mainly writing essays in English not translating.
Anyway, congratulations for this interesting job! And DO have a look at the Sharon Byrd books!
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| Introduction to Anglo-American Law & Language || Sep 25, 2004 |
I am very fond of
Einführung in die anglo-amerikanische Rechtssprache- Introduction to Anglo-American Law & Language, by Sharon Byrd, Beck Verlag.
It includes brief descriptions of the different law systems, exercises, terminology lists, case studies. It's written in English.
Introduction to Anglo-American Law & Language ist gedacht als
- eine Unterstützung f. den Fachsprachen Unterricht im Rahmen eines Studiengangs an einer Universität oder einer anderen Institution f. den Unterricht von Rechtssprachen
- eine Einführung f. Anwälte
- eine Vorbereitung f. Studenten, die es vorhaben, ein Aufbaustudium (LL.M.) oder ein Praktikum in einem Land mit einem common law system zu absolvieren.
[Edited at 2004-09-25 16:55]
Sorry - just realized this book was already mentioned above...
[Edited at 2004-09-25 16:57]
This is exactly the kind of information that I am looking for. I had already heard about the programs in Trier and Münster, but the Jena connection looks promising - I happen to know one of the law professors there personally. I'll try to get a hold of Dr. Byrd - "Ich muss das Rad nicht neu erfinden".
I also appreciate the book selections (thanks Kim)! I'm also fascinated with the possibilities that I have been given. I would really like my students to feel like they got something out of it when they are finished; considering the fact that it is compulsory, I assume there will be a certain percentage of students that won't be into it. I'd like to pleasantly surprise them and hopefully spark their interest if I can.
I was also considering some of the following books:
Black's Law Dictionary (8th edition)
The Elements of Legal Style
Burton's Legal Thesaurus
Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises
Writing to Win: The Legal Writer
Plain English for Lawyers
Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams
Could any of you comment on these?
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Kim Metzger drew my attention to this. I didn't know this forum existed.
I taught law, mainly English but some US, and legal translation and interpreting, and also grammar, computer-assisted translation and other things at the translation college (Fachakademie) in Erlangen for twenty years but I'm now a full-time legal translator. When I started teaching law as a main subject, Sharon Byrd (who's now a professor by virtue of her Erlangen work) was teaching the introduction to US law that became her first book for Beck, and I went to a couple of her classes. She may still do a little bit at Erlangen, and her main home is in Erlangen, but her main teaching is in Jena. You can find her and her web page there. Although her books are about US and British law, they start out on the basis of US law, which I think is what you want. They aren't as full on English law. Sharon was also at Augsburg for quite a few years.
A lot of the books for teaching law to students (Riley's English for Law - more British, Byrd's first volume, and a couple of others that may not be in print any long) take a long text and comment on it. The text has to be read in advance or it takes several lessons to do. I would prefer an outline of law and a shorter text.
Of the books you mentioned, I don't know Writing to Win and Getting to Maybe, but the others are fine for a library. If the budget covers it, you should have Garnder's Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage.
For teaching, please look at Introduction to the US-American Legal System for German Speaking Lawyers and Law Students, Alpmann Schmidt, vol. 1, 2002, ISBN 3-89476-583-6. The layout and content look good (there are two earlier books on British law, but the texts contain too many Germanisms). It has stuff on the court system, constitution (too much for your purposes, I should think) and contracts.
I second the suggestion of Legal Translation Explained. It's very good on legal translation, not so good on the law itself.
If that is the Dieter Stummel book on Standardvertragsmuster, I would throw it away. I wrote a review for the MDÜ that was reprinted by the ADÜ Nord in their Infoblatt (www.adue-nord.de?).
Nomos Verlag has some good books too. You should also think about talking about German law in English. I agree with Rachel that translation is not taught much. Some German lawyers are very good at speaking English, but they need to practise writing it, and perhaps translation as a third step. First speaking English, then speaking about German and English/US law in English, then writing, then translating!
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