What is the best way to get up to speed in a particular subject matter?
Thread poster: C_Eitle

French to English
Jan 29, 2002

Hi! I\'m just starting out as a French-to-English translator. I\'ve been getting some work lately translating material of a legal nature - contracts and the like.

I have the basic skills of translation in that I understand my source language well and have good writing skills in my target language. However, I would like to have more English legal vocabulary at my (mental) fingertips.

What is the best way to acquire this vocuabulary? Can anyone recommend a few books in English that would help familiarize me with legal terminology? Would it be worth my while to take a few law-related college courses? (I already have a BA in French.)

Also, if anyone can recommend any good online F>E legal dictionaries, or good legal dictionaries in book form or CD-ROM, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for your help!

C. Eitle


Alison Schwitzgebel
Local time: 16:24
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Work in that particular area Jan 30, 2002


One of my specialist areas is investment banking - which I feel confindent about translating because I worked for an investment bank in M&A for many years. But that wasn\'t enough so I studied marketing and business admin. - which really brought me up to speed on what the concepts I was translating meant.

If you get the opportunity to work for a lawers\' office, then go for it. It may not be the fastest way (see it as a learning period taking a couple of years) but it will certainly get you there - especially if you combine it with studying the subject.




williamson (X)
Local time: 16:24
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dictionaries don't always tell truth. Jan 30, 2002

I agree with Alison. I have a language degree, but I wasn\'t afraid to get dirty hands: A vocational training in car-mechanics did not only had the advantage that I can repair 75% of the defects of my car. It also provided an insight that a car is just a composition of parts, which can be replaced. At such a training technical terminology was used, which at a later moment proved to be useful for translation.

At the moment, I am enrolled in a business education and in certain computer courses.

This gives an insight in business, programming and how to build a computer.

In these course specialist terminology is also used.

For other domains: If you highlight the terminology you do not know and have the explanation of the term written above the term you do not know by a specialist, who uses this term in his daily working environment and whose mother-tongue is the target-language, you can considerably speed up the process of translation. If you have voice-recognition software, you can interpret your text with the explained terminology into Word. (Sometimes needs correction due to mistaken voice-recognition).

This method of working has been proven to be efficient insofar that the agency I worked with wanted a \"direct contact\" with the engineer who provided the terminology, because the rest of the translators working on the project did not know what was meant.


Jon Zuber (X)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's usually difficult to take many loose courses in such a field. Jan 30, 2002


On 2002-01-29 20:56, C_Eitle wrote:


Would it be worth my while to take a few law-related college courses?


I looked into taking a few architecture courses, but with very few, low-level exceptions they were open only to students working on an architecture degree. I imagine it\'s the same in other professional fields. But if you can do it, you probably should.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

What is the best way to get up to speed in a particular subject matter?

Advanced search

CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search