Terminology Sources: Swimming in the “Alphabet Soup” of European Union Agencies

As translators we often have to use the official names of EU agencies and their abbreviations, initialisms or acronyms in other languages. Their names are sometimes easily confused and, moreover, to further complicate matters they often appear to be in flux, being amended from time to time to more accurately reflect the agency’s purpose and scope. A prime example is the former Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs)—OHIM) (in Spanish, Oficina de Armonización del Mercado Interior (Marcas, Dibujos y Modelos)—OAMI), located in Alicante, Spain, which as of March, 2016 is now known as the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (or Oficina de Propiedad Intelectual de la Unión Europea—OPIUE).

Navigating this complicated maze is much simplified by an article published in the May/June, 2016 issue of “puntoycoma: Boletín de los traductores españoles de las instituciones de la Unión Europea” that provides the current (and some possible future) names and abbreviations for dozens of EU agencies in Spanish, English and French. It’s entitled “Las siglas de los organizmos descentralizados de la Unión Europea: situación actual” and is available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/translation/spanish/magazine/documents/pyc_149_es.pdf

Terminology Sources: “Legal Language” by Peter M. Tiersma

For anyone interested in Legal English, Peter Tiersma’s book on “Legal Language” (University of Chicago Press, 2000) is an absolute must. After tracing the origins and development of Legal English (providing sample texts in Anglo-Saxon and Law French), he then examines the nature of legal language as used by both lawyers and in the courtroom. Another remarkable source of information on legal language is the late Professor Tiersma’s webpage, part of which is still maintained and made accessible to the general public by the Loyola Law School of Los Angeles (http://www.languageandlaw.org/).

Terminology Sources: Fundéu

For anyone interested in Legal Spanish (and Spanish language in general), Fundéu (Fundación del Español Urgente) is a must. Since 2005, in this collaborative effort of the Agencia EFE news agency, BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria) and the Real Academia Española, Fundéu’s team of journalists, linguists, lexicographers, translators and other language professionals have provided a forum for promoting the correct usage of Spanish in the communications media and everywhere else. As their mission statement indicates, “mediante recomendaciones diarias y respuestas a las consultas que recibimos, pretendemos ser una herramienta que ayude a todos aquellos que utilizan el idioma en su actividad diaria en los medios de comunicación, las redes sociales, las nuevas plataformas digitales…

Terminology Sources: Glossary of Notarial Terms

Spanish-to-English translators are often called upon to translate a variety of notarial documents. An excellent source for understanding the terminology of notarially-recorded instruments and lots of basic Civil Law concepts is the Glosario de Términos Notariales available on the website of Spain’s Consejo General del Notariado at http://glosario.notariado.org/ .

The site also offers a series of folletos informativos covering many of the areas of private law in which notaries intervene: http://www.notariado.org/liferay/web/notariado/folletos-informativos .

And, finally, the Consejo publishes a searchable online magazine Escritura Pública featuring a variety of articles that seek to serve as a punto de encuentro entre este colectivo y el resto de la sociedad: http://www.notariado.org/liferay/web/notariado/publicaciones/publicaciones-periodicas/escritura-publica .

 

 

Terminology Sources: Legal Information Institute (LII)

Housed at the Cornell University Law School, the Legal Information Institute has provided open-access legal information from a variety of sources since 1992. Its “Get the Law” section includes the complete texts of the principal US legal documents. including the US Code (compendium of all permanent federal statutes), all of the Federal Rules of Procedure (civil, criminal, appellate, evidence and bankruptcy) and the Uniform Commercial Code, among others. The LII’s “Legal Encyclopedia” features hundreds of entries on business law, constitutional law, criminal law, family law, employment law, money and finances, and many other areas of law. The “Articles” section likewise has hundreds of summaries on a broad variety of legal topics. And under “Español” many of the aspects of US law are presented in Spanish. At the end of the article in Spanish there is a link to the same or similar article in English for those who may want to compare the concepts and terminology presented there in both languages.

Terminology of Civil Law Systems

Here is a short bibliography on the basic features of civil law systems and civil law-common law terminology:

Apple, James G. and Robert P. Deyling. A Primer on the Civil-Law System. Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center, 1995. http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/CivilLaw.pdf/$file/CivilLaw.pdf

Glendon, Mary Ann, et. al. Comparative Legal Traditions in a Nutshell. St. Paul: West Academic Publishing, 2015.

Kinsella, Stephan. “A Civil Law to Common Law Dictionary.” Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 5 (May 1994). as published

Kinsella, Stephan. “Civil-Law Terminology and its Relation to Common-Law Terminology” Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Division Newsletter, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Spring 1995), pp. 12-14. Civil-Law Terminology and its Relation to Common-Law Terminology

Lawson, F.H. A Common Lawyer Looks at the Civil Law. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Law School, 1953; Praeger, 1977. (Available from HeinOnLine)

Lundmark, Thomas. Charting the Divide between Common and Civil Law. NY: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Malavet, Pedro A. “Seminar: An Introduction to the Civil Code.” http://nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu/~malavet/seminar/ccmain.htm

Merryman, John Henry. The Civil Law Tradition: An Introduction to the Legal Systems of Western Europe and Latin America. Stanford: Stanford University Press (3rd ed.), 2007.

Tetley, William, “Mixed Jurisdictions: Common Law vs. Civil Law (Codified and Uncodified)” Parts I and II. 4 Uniform Law Review 1999-3, 591-619 and 1999-4, 877-907. Mixed Jurisdictions: Common Law v. Civil Law – DigitalCommons …

 

Terminology Sources: Accounting Standards

International Accounting Standards (IAS)

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

For translators who often have to translate texts dealing with International Accounting Standards (IAS) or the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into Spanish (or vice versa), here are the full English texts side-by-side with their Spanish counterparts, Normas Internacionales de Contabilidad (NIC) and Normas Internacionales de Información Financiera (NIIF) (courtesy of the Official Journal of the EU):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN-ES/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32008R1126&fromTab=ALL&from=EN