Welcome to the profile of Lawyer-Linguist, the user name for Deborah do Carmo (maiden name: Parry), and one I use because it aptly describes what I do for a living.
* native UK English speaker;
* qualified lawyer;
* experienced linguist; and
* absolute stickler for detail,
* with excellent time management and writing skills,
legal and business translations are my core business.
I also provide monolingual legal editing (for native English and ESL lawyers), abstracting and research services. Please note, however, that I do not provide revision or proofreading services to agencies or to non-native colleagues.
Subject knowledge is just one of the aspects that truly sets a specialist translation apart, perhaps best expressed by the Latin maxim rem tene; verba sequentur (master the subject and the words will follow).
I hold qualifications in:
Law: Bachelor of Laws (first class) and faculty medal recipient for best law student - University of South Africa
Translation: IoLET Diploma in Translation (Dutch to English: General, Law and Business papers) - Chartered Institute of Linguists, UK
Editing: Postgraduate Certificate in Editing and Revising Technical Texts in English - Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
Specialist area - EU Law
My translations for the European Commission are consistently rated as 'very good' (the highest possible rating) and have all met the standard required under the governing framework contract, i.e. the translation '... can be used as it stands without further revision …'.
Aspects of my work that the Commission's internal revisors have commented on as being particularly positive include my:
a) use of EU-specific or other terminology;
b) command of style and register; and
c) elegant translation solutions.
Over a decade spent in mainstream legal practice, as an insolvency practitioner, meant having to adapt quickly to the idiosyncrasies of each type of business. Whether appointed as liquidator of an airline, manufacturing concern, coal mine, farming entity, or hotel chain, I often had to step into the directors' shoes at short notice and run the show, in an attempt to sell the business as a going concern with the best possible return for creditors. I draw on that invaluable experience today, getting to grips quickly with the jargon of the specific industry my legal translation work covers.
Practising law in a bilingual system also involved legal drafting, translating, editing, abstracting, and research on a daily basis - always under pressure, in the trenches, and with absolutely zero-tolerance for errors.
My proven ability to deliver precision under pressure is a further asset I bring to the table. Precisely because I have first-hand knowledge of the legal process, I also understand and can recognise true urgency, why there are often last-minute changes to legal documents, the pressure my legal counterparts are actually working under, and the real consequences of failing to deliver. So, although I appear unflappable under pressure, that is because I know my limits and am frank about my availability and ability at all times.
Further experience with cross-border insolvencies - i.e. to retrieve assets and/or conduct legal proceedings in foreign jurisdictions - means I am truly in my element performing comparative legal research between common law and civil law systems.
Although there is no lack of competition in the translation industry when it comes to rates, the same cannot be said when it comes to tangible quality and added value. Most legal translators are not legally trained and so cannot be expected to make - and, unfortunately, sometimes do not make - the fine distinctions that are so critical in a legal text.
I offer an excellent price/quality ratio, evidenced by the fact that nearly all of my projects are from repeat clients.
My legal background also means that I really understand the subject material and intuitively act as an 'extra pair of eyes'. I am often thanked by law firms for my ability to spot legal issues and inconsistencies in source-language texts.
Lastly, the fact that I am a qualified lawyer-linguist does not necessarily mean that I charge more, I simply deliver more.
Keywords: Dutch to English, Flemish to English, Afrikaans to English, Dutch, Flemish, Afrikaans, English, translation, translator, legal translation, legal translator, lawyer-linguist, linguist, legal, law, lawyer, contract law, mercantile law, bankruptcy law, administrative law, constitutional law, criminal law, property law, labour law, real estate, business, finance, telecommunications, competition law, European Union, European Community, European Commission, EU law, EC law, journalism, editing and revising, proofreading, Trados, abstracting, research
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