Earlier this month I went to a conference on legal translation in Lisbon, held at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. I hadn’t been to a Tradulinguas conference before, and knew nothing about the company, so admit to being a little apprehensive about taking a leap into the relative unknown. What swayed me was that it offered a great opportunity to spend a few days brushing up on my Portuguese in Lisbon, as well as a chance to meet up with other translators specialising in law, including several I knew already.
The conference’s focus was very much international, with sessions delivered in English, Portuguese or French. The speakers were not afraid to be controversial and stimulate debate about legal translation at the coalface, including the background, skills, depth of knowledge, research methodology and/or qualifications a translator specialising in this area ‘should’ have. A key theme was the role of comparative law, since countries’ legal systems are rarely directly comparable, even if they follow the same legal tradition and use the same language.
I was both surprised and impressed at the strength of opinion expressed in the sessions. It was great to see so many attendees speak up, giving the sessions a lovely interactive feel. But I do wish that the sessions had kept more to a traditional ‘answers at the end’ format, as some speakers weren’t able to finish their presentations due to the sheer number of questions from the audience while they were in full flow.
Highlights of the conference for me were:
– Ingemar Strandvick’s and Professor Klaus-Dieter Borchardt’s opening sessions on multilingual law-making and legal translation in the European Union and Community Law. Professor Borchardt’s publication ‘The ABC of European Union law’ is available from the Publications Office of the European Union.
– Dr Pommer’s session on comparative law and its quest for a legal ‘meta language’ to facilitate international cooperation and harmonisation: is law a global discourse? Comparability vs. translatability: does translation always have to mean equivalence?
– Ana Soares’s presentation (in Portuguese) on the Portuguese legal system compared with the legal system of England and Wales.
– Juliette Scott’s session on DIY corpora in legal translation – her ‘NIFTY’ approach.
– Véronique Sauron’s session on online resources for legal translators, and mostly importantly how to use them quickly and effectively, identifying reliable sources.
– Filipe Carrera’s interactive session on networking and what it really means. Filipe is clearly a highly experienced speaker and his session got the message across without being cheesy.
Oh, and the weather was fabulous! More information on the conference, including speaker bios and abstracts can be found here: http://www.tradulinguas.com/conf-juridica/
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