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

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Alison Schwitzgebel
Local time: 05:46
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.



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Local time: 05:46
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.

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xxxJon Zuber
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.

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