About me, my work and what I think a translation should look like

Rob LunnHello! My name’s Rob Lunn. I’m a translator specialising in the Spanish legal system. I translate legal, business and marketing documents from Spain (from Spanish and Catalan) into UK English.

Welcome to my blog and this about me page! If you just wanted to find out how I might be able to help you, please skip through to the But can I help you? section. For the full story, keep reading!

How I got to be a translator

After finishing university and backpacking somewhat aimlessly for probably too many years, I learnt Spanish and stumbled across a job I really liked: translating. I did it on the side for a couple of years while getting some training, and in 2008 I took the plunge and became a full-time freelancer. Nearly eight years on, I’m still grateful I was lucky enough to find this profession.

But why translating?

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Why was translating such a good match for me? Because it combined one of my greatest achievements — learning Spanish as an adult — with a forever aspiration of mine: writing.

Evolution as a translator

I started out translating business, marketing and technical documents but soon gravitated towards legal translation. I liked it and found the challenge of translating across legal systems — not just languages — rewarding.

City University Snow

City University in London.

I fully committed to this field when I enrolled to do a master’s degree in legal translation in 2010 (finished in 2012) at City University in London. (Read here to see what I learnt.)

Main type of work I do now

These days I find myself doing three types of work:

1) Translating legal documents (contracts, court documents, etc.) and documents about the law (e.g., academic, blog and informative articles) for all kinds of clients, from law firms, companies and universities to fellow translators, translation agencies and individuals.

2) Translating business, especially marketing, documents for Spanish and Catalan companies that do business abroad or with foreigners in Spain.

3) Doing what I call marketing in English for lawyers: translating, revising or writing marketing or informative content to help Spanish lawyers and law firms connect with and advise their clients. Basically, writing about the law and legal services in plain English.

Effective English + deep subject knowledge

While this third area of marketing in English for lawyers is really just a subset of the second, it has been a logical progression that suits my experience, training and profile: a native English speaker with a good knowledge of Spanish and English law and a creative translation style that puts an emphasis on authentic English and writing.

scales_of_justice

Because in addition to knowing about the law, to translate this kind of material well, you must be willing to completely break the spell cast by the words and sentence structure of the original text.

Indeed, I believe you need to do this for all translations. Although it’s especially important for marketing and informative texts (e.g., web copy, blog articles and newsletters).

What I believe a translation should look like

A translation shouldn’t look like a translation. It should look and read like a similar piece of writing done by a native speaker who knows what they’re doing.

This may sound obvious. It does at least to translators. But many people think a translation will necessarily read awkwardly and sound foreign. I know I did before I became a translator. Maybe we have this idea because when a translator succeeds, you don’t know you’re reading a translation.

In any case, a translation doesn’t have to sound like one. And my message to buyers of translations would be to demand the highest quality of specialised writing from your translation provider.

In the same vein, I think a translation should be usable, useful and understandable. But that’s another story you can read about here.

But can I help you?

By now I’m sure you get the picture. My main focus is legal, business and marketing translation. So I may be able to help you if you:

  • Need a legal document (contract, court document, etc.) or a piece of writing about the law (e.g., blog, magazine or academic article) expertly translated into plain, understandable and appropriate English.
  • Are a Spanish or Catalan lawyer or law firm looking to connect with or advise your clients in English with marketing and informative material (e.g., website, newsletters and blog articles) that people can read, understand and act on.
  • Are a Spanish or Catalan company looking to connect with and serve your foreign clients  through excellent English translations and writing.

Typical clients include lawyers, law firms, fellow translators, translation agencies, individuals, companies and universities.

Please contact me through this page or ring me on +34 657 468 393 for any questions you may have.

Themes on this blog

There are a few recurring themes on this blog that reflect my interests in legal translation:

Tricky Legal Terms

One of my main interests is how to deal with difficult-to-translate legal terms. Those terms that don’t seem to have any equivalent translation — the non-equivalent or culture-specific terms so prevalent in legal translation.dilemmas, dilemas

For me, these are what makes legal translation interesting and an adventure. It’s not all set down in a dictionary; the waters are often unchartered and always ever-changing.

On the blog I look at how to translate specific terms and also different approaches for resolving this challenge of non-equivalence.

Contract translation

Of late I’ve been particularly interested in the translation of legal contracts. This is because a little while ago I started to wonder whether I might be able to improve how I translated contracts.

I had a well-grooved system, but it felt like I was on autopilot. I thought it was time to dig a little deeper and learn a bit more.

In addition to wanting to test and improve my method, I wanted to identify rules of thumb that would make translating contracts easier — for me and others. So the blog posts on contract translation are a result of this process, the investigation stage of it at least. I’m planning to piece together a style guide for translating contracts into English from this work.

Legal Spain

I also like to write posts on Spanish law and current affairs, although I haven’t done so for a while as it feels a little off topic for some reason.

Other things about me

running

Me and my eldest daughter!

I’m from Australia (Gladstone then Brisbane to be exact) but currently live in Spain in Premià de Mar (just outside of Barcelona) with my partner, two daughters and two cats. My other great passion is running. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, you can connect with me on Strava.

More information

For more about me, you can send me a message or visit the following pages:

Qualifications, languages and associations.

Dissertation I did for my master’s: Exploring the use of the Louisiana Civil Code as a source of English translations for Spanish legal terms

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