“Pitfalls in Spanish-English Legal Translation (I) (Linguistic Aspects)”

In March I was invited by the European Commission’s Spanish translators at the Directorate General for Translation (DGT) to give a conference on Spanish-English legal translation in Brussels and in Luxembourg. The conference is being published in three issues of puntoycoma, Boletín de los traductores españoles de las instituciones de la Unión Europea, and in the event it may prove of interest, the second installment published yesterday and entitled “‘Trampas’ en la traducción del español jurídico (I) (Aspectos lingüísticos)” is available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/translation/spanish/magazine/documents/pyc_153_es.pdf

In this installment I review some of the most common pitfalls that Spanish-English legal translators encounter when rendering legal concepts, including different levels of “false friends,” polysemy in legal language, the problem of legal synonyms that appear to be the “same thing with a different name,” whether to translate expressions in Latin, and differences between the legal language of the US and the UK.

The first installment of this article, published in the May/June 2017 issue of puntoycoma is entitled “Aciertos y desafíos en la traducción jurídica español-inglés” and focuses on four aspects of Spanish-English legal translation: “Traducciones que sí ‘encajan’” (concepts of Spanish law that fortunately have a close “functional equivalent” in Anglo-American law); “Traducciones (dudosas) generalmente aceptadas” (a controversial topic concerning generally-accepted renderings that are actually mistranslations in certain contexts); “Traducciones inventadas” (a look at a couple of invented translations that, nevertheless, appear in Internet publications and elsewhere; and “Traducciones imposibles” (which addresses the problem of translating legal terms that have no corresponding concept in Common Law):

http://ec.europa.eu/translation/spanish/magazine/documents/pyc_152_es.pdf

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