Monday, October 20, 2008
Of course I state this in a positive light. Pretending and acting are great strategies when translating. I advocate researching the roles of the people in the documents you translate.
Do you know anyone like them? Can you find a photo of them on Internet? How about a video of similar legal proceedings on YouTube? Watch for gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. You could also visit Google Maps to pinpoint geographic locations to better imagine where plaintiffs and defendants live and what their surroundings look like.
You can read more about this concept in Becoming a Translator.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Legal translators will definitely benefit from this blog!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Well, you can't very well meet everyone (or hardly anyone) who appears in your translations. However, time permitting, you can do some research and put some of the puzzle pieces together. This is where mindmaps come in handy. A mindmap is a visual representation of all related information. The advantage of mindmaps over plain written notes is that they are visual. You can establish spatial relationships. You can make the petitioner bigger than the respondent. You can use different colors to signify relationships. Another great feature are the links. Instead of pasting an entire web site into your mindmap, you can add the URL or even link to a file on your hard drive.
To make a mindmap, I recommend evaluating Mindmapper. Please take a look at a sample mindmap about Puerto Rican divorce decrees I put together.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Many people write about pros and cons. I am going to stick to the pros and leave the cons to someone else. There are so many reasons to choose legal translations that I couldn't possibly list them all here, but I will give you the most compelling ones.
Laws are necessary and unavoidable. Every day, day in and day out, babies are born, people both emigrate and immigrate, people get married and a percentage of them divorced. Companies hire and fire employees; buy and sell equipment.
Legal language is verbose and repetitive. Lawyers write an awful lot, and they often use five words where two or three could have been used. Since translators get paid for the word, this is a better situation than translating sentences with densely packed ideas where it is necessary to make several trips to the dictionary for each paragraph.
Ever since Phillip II of Spain, Spanish-speaking countries have had a long tradition of bureaucracy. Red tape means paperwork. Paperwork means many words. Many words mean plenty of work for legal translators.
Legal documents tell a story. There is beauty in law. Law lays down what is right and wrong. It uses words to do so and these words and phrases are powerful and compelling. It is interesting to learn new things about the people and places involved in each document. No two documents are alike. Each has its own "personality".