YTI Legal Translation Workshop – University of Leeds Students, Sophie Roche and Emma McNaught write:

On Saturday 18 November, the YTI and NERG members gathered at the Quaker Meeting House in York to get to grips with the world of legal translation. Some arrived early to catch up with fellow linguists over lunch and a cup of tea.

The workshop kicked off with a talk from legally qualified translator, Andrew Leigh, who gave us some top tips on translating the subject matter:

1. Do your background research – this will enable you to fully understand the ST

2. Put accuracy first – and creative flair second

3. Find parallel texts – so you know the terms in the target language

4. Know your audience – to know what to simplify or explain

5. Research international law – from institutions such as the OECD and the World Bank

With these pointers in mind, we then split off into our language groups to get some hands-on experience translating the somewhat intimidating texts. Sophie joined the French-English group who picked out problematic sections of the documents provided. Emma worked alongside the Spanish-English translators, focusing primarily on specific terminology and the expectations of the target culture.

After some insightful discussions, all language groups reconvened to share how they approached the task at hand. For example, the Italian translators proofread and assessed the quality of an official translation of their text; the German-English and English-German translators joined forces to compare notes. Whilst the overall feedback showed how different the approaches were, everyone had the same response: they all thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from the afternoon.

We wonder what the workshop will cover next year… Watch this space.