Translating Judgments
Thread poster: pkanji

Spanish to English
Oct 3, 2011

Hello all,

I am curious to know why foreign judgments might need to be translated into English, for example, a french judgment or Spanish judgment of the supreme court?

I gather that for an English audience, perhaps judgments need to be translated for a judge of the highest position of the uk supreme court , and those judges of the European Court of human rights but does the audience extend beyond these recipients?

I am curious because the law is ever changing, particularly in EU countries . The cases I am interested in are criminal appeals to the supreme court in the case of infringement of rights. Of course such cases are of the greatest public importance so perhaps it within the realm of law that one should be aware of how certain cases are dealt with in foreign jurisdictions. But could the recipients also be lawyers?

Any thoughts are welcome on this subject. It would be interesting to understand this because I am not a professional translator, but certainly knowledge from translators who do specialize in this field is invaluable.



Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:05
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Myriad reasons Oct 3, 2011

I don't understand why this would puzzle you. There are hundreds of reasons why a foreign judgment needs to be translated:

The client is a foreign company and the head office needs to read the judgment affecting its subsidiary.

A lawyer in another country needs to read it when it affects his client.

It's used as an exhibit in arbitration conducted in another language.

The client is a foreigner and can't read the language of the judgment.

A foreign judge needs to verify a judgment used in support of an argument.

And so on and so on....


Spanish to English
Thanks Mark Oct 27, 2011

Thank you Mark

I know there are any reasons why one would need to translate a foreign judgment but I am doing a translation thesis and have never translated a judgment before. As a student I am still learning about the intended recipients etc so any insight from a professional trans is very much appreciated.

Thank you so much for this. This has made things clearer.

I have an additional question for any professional trans..

Given that my intended recipients are likely to be specialized readers, i.e Judges and lawyers, as I am translating a judgment from Spanish into English regarding cassation appeals, I would assume their presupposed knowledge regarding the Spanish legal system would be limited.

as regards translation problems,I point out the names of Spanish courts, some of which may not exist in the UK , however is this something the professional translator would see as a 'translation problem' given the conceptual gap and taking into account the intended recipient?

This is where I am struggling slightly as unlike the spanish audience, the TT audience is limted.#


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Translating Judgments

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