This page contains links, notes and references for my METM15 talk on contract translation. You can download a PDF of the talk here.
The notes are listed by the order of the sides and are basically just further explanation on some of the points in the talk and links to blog posts and other resources. (NB: Not all the slides and points in the talk appear in this page.)
Why the talk in the first place?
See this post for background as to how this talk came about.
The useful distinction: form vs content
See this blog post for more on this distinction.
A modern vs a traditional legal register
Where to get authentic models from
- The Internet, but be critical of the quality and what register is being used (i.e., traditional versus modern).
- Drafting guides, which usually provide samples.
- Contracts you’ve signed, which can be very useful.
Why a drafting book and which one to get
Having a drafting book helps you fill in the gaps. You can learn the philosophy behind the style of contract drafting you want to emulate, which enables you to more quickly come up with authentic solutions to translation problems.
While any English contract drafting book would be a useful place to start, and any of the books listed in references below would do, I’d first recommend A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting by Kenneth A. Adams. It’s very thorough and has a lot of practical and easy-to-follow advice. I wrote this post about it when I first bought it.
What about the clause library?
See this post for more on clause libraries and the CAT-tool shortcoming they overcome.
I got the idea for a clause library from Tiffany Kemp’s Essential Contract Drafting.
Do change tenses: What tense to use where
See this post for more information about what tense to you use there.
Chapter 3 of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting by Kenneth A. Adams (Chapter 3) has an excellent breakdown of what tense and even what verb to use for different types of contract language.
Be specific and consistent, even when the source text isn’t
See this post for more about how Spanish uses synonyms and pronouns more often than English.
Be brave with term research!
Here I’m referring to non-equivalent legal terms, which is one of the main focuses on this blog. From one angle or another, I have written quite a few posts on this topic, although perhaps the most relevant ones for this talk are:
- The term research process, it’s about the process; not the type of dictionary (The term research process in general.)
- Legal and menu translation (Why you need to be brave.)
- Safe-bet errors: a translation’s worst enemy (What happens when you fudge it.)
- Don’t throw your skopos out with the neologisms (Functional vs literal/transparent translation of legal terms.)
For more on contracts
For more tips and resources on translating contracts, visit the following pages:
I’d love to hear what you thought of the ideas in the talk (or just the slides if you didn’t go to the talk). Please leave any comments you wish or send me a message via this form.
Adams, K.A., (2013) A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. 3rd edn. Chicago: ABA Publishing
Asensio, R.M., (2007) ‘Comparación de los contratos en inglés y en español como ayuda al traductoror’, Papers Lextra, 3, pp. 55–61, [Online]. Available in PDF here
Alvarado, I., (2004) Guía para la traducción de contratos de arrendamiento. Master’s dissertation Universidad Nacional. Available in PDF here
Ferran, E., (2006) ‘El traductor jurídico y la intertextualidad: El ordenamiento jurídico como contexto comunicativo-documental del documento de partida’ Quaderns. Revista de traducció 13, pp. 155–168. [Online]. Available in PDF here
Garner, B.A., (2013) Legal Writing in Plain English. 2nd edn. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
Kemp, T., (2012) Essential Contract Drafting Skills. Leipzig: Amazon Distribution
Kaplan, D., (2011) ‘Some tips for improving Spanish-to-English legal translations’, Mutatis Mutandis. Vol. 4, No. 2. pp. 287–293, [Online]. Available in PDF here
Lassaque, L., (2006) La traducción de los contratos : inglés-castellano/castellano-inglés : elementos teóricos y traducciones comentadas, 1st ed. Buenos Aires : self-published. Available in PDF here
Moya, I.A., (2004) Guía para la Traducción de Contratos de Arrendamiento. Coursework. Universidad Nacional, [Online]. Available in PDF here
Nebot, A., (2006) ‘Comparación de los contratos de arrendamiento ingleses con los españoles’, Fòrum de recerca nº 12,2006-2007 Jornades de Foment de la Investigació Univeritat Jaume I [Online]. Available in PDF here
Rutledge, A., (2012) Basic Legal Drafting: Litigation Documents, Contracts, Legislative Documents. Createspace