Awareness of the Language of the Law and the Preservation of Register in the Training of Legal Translators and Interpreters

by Holly Mikkelson

I. The Language of the Law

The legal profession is perhaps the most universally reviled of all occupations. Lawyers are the people we love to hate. The number of derogatory terms for them is evidence of the contempt in which they are held: in English, shyster, pettifogger, ambulance chaser, mouthpiece, shark, hired gun; in Spanish, buscapleitos , leguleyo, picapleitos, rábula, tinterillo, abogado firmón; in French, avocassier, chicaneur, avocat marron, and so on. Sir Thomas More imagined an ideal world, a Utopia in which "they have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters" (Bartlett, 1955: 86). And who can forget the suggestion "let's kill all the lawyers" in Shakespeare's King Henry VI?

One reason for this animosity is the reputation lawyers have earned for obfuscation, for using "dead and deadly words" and "swarming imprecision" (Mellinkoff, 1992: vii, viii). The language of the law tends to violate many of the precepts of style and syntax that grammar teachers try to instill in their students. When language experts not familiar with the legal register are confronted with passages of text written by legislators or attorneys, they itch to get out the red pen. "This is not English (or Spanish, or Russian, or Chinese)!" they cry, and they are incredulous when told this is an excerpt from their own constitution or penal code.

Experts in comparative law and legal translation contend that the language of the law "results from legal traditions, thought, and culture" (Smith, 1995: 190), and that in translating legal texts, "one is translating not only the words on the page but the underlying legal system as well" (Beyer and Conradsen, 1995: 146). Nonetheless, there are still some shared elements in the "lawyer-speak" of countries with quite different legal traditions. A look at these registers in English and Spanish, one a reflection of common law and the other of the civil law tradition, illustrates this point.

I.A. English Legal Language

David Mellinkoff wrote the seminal work on the English legal register, The Language of the Law (Mellinkoff, 1963). In this book he traces the history of English legal usage from the earliest days of Celtic England through successive invasions by the Anglo-Saxons, the Romans, and the French, with the resultant borrowings, impositions, and amalgamations. He identifies a number of patterns that characterize the style of legal texts: foreign phrases left intact (mainly Latin and French: ex post facto, voir dire, etc.), doublets and triplets (cease and desist; in my name, place, and stead), alliteration (lewd and lascivious; rest, residue, and remainder), archaic usage such as the compound words of Old English (hereinbefore, whomsoever) and words that are no longer in current use (slay), as well as vague, pompous, and inflated verbiage. Mellinkoff does not mince words when he takes lawyers to task for their bad writing:

The language of the law is often unclear — plain "muddy." This is not to say that the language is devoid of meaning. Simply that if there is any meaning, it is hard to find. It is puzzling not merely to the untutored non-lawyer. Puzzlement extends to bar and bench. (Mellinkoff, 1963: 25, footnotes omitted).

Witness some of Mellinkoff's scathing critiques of lawyers' excessiveness:

In or out of the law, pompous language gives an air of importance out of proportion to the substance of what is said. Cardozo called the style "magisterial." Incongruity is its essence, self-esteem its badge. (Mellinkoff, 1963: 27)

[...] a sampling of some law words which have been used long and often, with never a healthy smell of precision about them. They are flabby words; and in addition, many of them are treacherous, for unlike such as reasonable [...] and substantial [...] they are not obviously vague. [...] As a kind of fetish supposed to endow with precision whatever it stuck to, aforesaid has been glued to everything [...] (Mellinkoff, 1963: 304-05; italics in original)

Condemned and praised, but most of all used, whereas is one of the most persistently typical and most consistently vague words in the language of the law. It has as many meanings as you have patience, some of them poles apart. One moment whereas means the-fact-is, and the next moment it reverses course to mean in-spite-of-the-fact (although); now it is on-the-contrary. (Mellinkoff, 1963: 321-22; footnotes omitted, italics in original)

Mellinkoff does not hesitate to prescribe his own remedies for these ills. For example:

There are only two cures for the long sentence:

(1) Say less;

(2) Put a period in the middle.

Neither expedient has taken hold in the law. (Mellinkoff, 1963: 366)

Here he takes aim at jury instructions (a phenomenon of jury trials in which the judge "explains" to the jury the legal principles that it must apply to the facts proven at trial):

It is possible that required jury instructions — like the oath — may have a precision beyond the meaning of their words. Possible that even when the jurors are sent out, their ears ringing with unprecise gobbledygook, there is left for the record a precise essence of each instruction which means has been instructed (on causation, negligence, etc.). And this may perform some function in speeding the administration of justice. [...] But if instructions are so understood, it is a function and a sort of precision that needs separate definition, and should not be muddled with any feeling within the profession that a jury is being told something about the law in precise terms. For in these required instructions may be found the cats and dogs of law language, defined and redefined, but not more precise for all of that. (Mellinkoff, 1963: 385; footnotes omitted, italics in original)

And so on. Clearly, Mellinkoff, himself a lawyer, is exasperated with the hypocrisy of his profession's claims to linguistic precision, logic, and clarity. He is not alone in noticing this phenomenon; he is merely one of the most articulate of its critics. Another expert in the language of the law, Enrique Alcaraz Varó, has studied legal English from the perspective of a Spanish-speaker who must translate such language. In El inglés jurídico (Alcaraz Varó, 1996), he notes that legal English

[...] is a complex and difficult language, not only for foreign scholars but also for native speakers of English. This is why some English law students feel frustrated in their studies, since they have to master the disciplines inherent in the curriculum while at the same time unraveling the tangled web of a language that is as difficult for them as a foreign tongue. (Alcaraz Varó, 1996: 72; translation by this author)

Alcaraz Varó identifies many of the features of English legal language that Mellinkoff discussed, plus a few more: empirical verbs in place of speculative verbs (find instead of believe, submit instead of think, etc.), euphemisms (custodial interrogation), "mutilated" and abbreviated terms (writ of a fi fa), and the frequent use of suffixes -er and -ee (Alcaraz Varó, 1996: 76-78). He notes that there is an ongoing debate between the supporters of the Plain English movement, who contend that legal language must be made more accessible to the lay public, and traditionalists who believe too many guarantees would be sacrificed if the language of the law were to be brought in line with common usage (Alcaraz Varó, 1996: 73).

As we will see below, however, English legalese is not the only target of reproach. Spanish legal language is plagued with similar afflictions, and it, too, has its champions and critics.

I.B. Spanish Legal Language

In Los conceptos jurídicos y su terminología, Argentine scholar Rafael Bielsa (1961) attempts to describe, explain, and even defend legal language. After tracing the origins of legal Spanish back to the official language of the Romans, he declares:

When we see the language degraded by the excesses and corrupt influence of demagoguery, such as the use of coarse remarks, crude language, and appeals to vulgar impulses, we cannot but recall the advice of one of our great civilizers: SARMIENTO, whose counsel is a fundamental precept of government: "Educate the sovereign." (Bielsa, 1993: 2; translation by this author)

Bielsa goes on to assert that there is no excuse for not being able to understand legal language, as ignorance of the law is no defense (Nemo jus ignorare licet) (Bielsa, 1993: 4).

With respect to the use of empirical rather than speculative verbs that Alcaraz Varó identifies in English legal usage and is also a feature of its Spanish counterpart, Bielsa argues that verb use is the most important element in clarity and precision, and that the use of the present tense in preference to the conditional is necessary in a prescriptive document, not a manifestation of tediousness. The conditional tense would make a judicial or administrative ruling seem tentative, he claims. Citing an administrative law opinion that begins with the phrase, "It would be interesting to determine, if possible," Bielsa states:

Such opinions or assertions have no place in administrative law rulings. We would note that whether or not "it is interesting" is not a question of law. The phrase "it is necessary," "proper," or "fitting" should be used. The first expression must be stated rather imperatively, because what is necessary must be; what is appropriate is contingent: it may or may not be. (Bielsa, 1993: 224-25; translation by this author)

A more disparaging view of Spanish legal language is presented by Luciana Calvo Ramos (1980), who performed a linguistic analysis of the language found in the Boletín Oficial del Estado of Spain. Calvo Ramos identifies a number of characteristics that coincide remarkably with those highlighted by Mellinkoff (1963)—and her deprecatory tone parallels Mellinkoff's as well: borrowings from French and English (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 63, 66), widespread use of Latin and Greek phrases and roots (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 57-58), doublets and triplets (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 83-86), alliteration (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 104), archaic usage (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 73), wordiness (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 105-06, 140-41), and excessive use of the passive voice and impersonal verb forms (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 130, 141). This conclusion provides an example of her acerbic style:

[Administrative language] displays a sharp contrast between the preservation of syntactical or literary archaisms and the use of vulgarisms and grammatical errors [...] In short, it is a rigid, monotonous, stilted syntax that is often justifiably mocked by humorists. (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 198-99; translation by this author)

The more recently-published El lenguaje jurídico (Duarte & Martinez, 1995) focuses on the frequent complaint that legal language is inaccessible to the uninitiated. After discussing the Plain English movement and attempts to modernize French legal language, the authors note that a similar debate is raging in the Spanish-speaking world, particularly with respect to legislative language. They cite a number of works that have been written to guide legislators in drafting laws, some of them obligatory and prescriptive and others merely advisory (Duarte & Martinez, 1995: 68-72). According to these authors, the issue really is, Who is the intended audience of legislation — the people or jurists? They advocate a middle ground:

If the audience is universal, legislators must take special care to avoid using linguistic forms that hinder understanding of the text. On the other hand, those who contend that the law is really written for jurists justify their position by arguing that if laws are drafted with a non-specialized audience in mind, it is impossible to ensure the precision that is necessary in a legal text, and the result is a mere list of vague notions. As is often the case, the best option, albeit not the most comfortable or the easiest, is somewhere between the two we have described: striking a balance between intelligibility and precision. (Duarte & Martinez, 1995: 65; translation by this author)

While remaining ostensibly neutral in their treatment of legal language, Duarte and Martinez are implicitly critical of legal professionals when they identify characteristics of the legal writing style and recommend ways to avoid common pitfalls:

The attempt to give texts an objective image often entails introducing linguistic elements that obscure the text and make writing and understanding difficult. For example, the use of impersonal constructions and erudite and unusual linguistic forms helps create a distance between the text and the author by straying from the characteristics of spontaneous expression. (Duarte & Martinez, 1995: 99; translation by this author)

Bielsa, in contrast, defends the use of erudite language by legal scholars, contending that legal writing has "literary value," and literary style is the highest form of expression in a language (Bielsa, 1993: 5-6). Contrary to Mellinkoff's complaints about musty legal language that has no relationship to modern usage, Bielsa asserts that using terms in the sense closest to their original Latin meaning, rather than in more recently evolved senses, is preferable in the legal context because centuries of consistent usage have made their meaning precise and predictable (Bielsa, 1993: 10).

Like Calvo Ramos (1980: 186-88), Duarte and Martinez also chastise legal writers for using excessively long sentences (Duarte & Martinez, 1995: 115) and for

[...] the abuse of adjectives, nouns, verbs, and other forms that repeat already stated ideas and that appear in redundant, often empty filler phrases in judicial and administrative texts [...] and unnecessary periphrasis [...] (Duarte & Martinez, 1995: 115; translation by this author)

Bielsa (1961) counters criticism of frequent repetition with the assertion that

The repetition of a word whose meaning is intrinsic or relevant to a legal text is a virtue. There are those who confuse legal style with other types of rhetoric, and they react to repetitiveness with a kind of horror. This is absurd, as repetitions may be necessary. (Bielsa, 1993: 218-19; translation by this author)

Even Bielsa quibbles with the excessive use of gerunds and convoluted sentences in legal writing, however, on the grounds that they can render a text illogical, a "common vice in laws and contracts":

The following text is an example of this kind of construction: "The entity shall be administered by a board of directors consisting of six members (or directors) and a chairman, all of them having the title of (such and such) and earning (such and such salary) and being precluded from holding another paid position." This clause should be written as follows: "The entity shall be administered by a board of directors consisting of six directors and a chairman. Each of them shall have the title of, etc., and shall not hold any other paid position." (Bielsa, 1993: 20; translation by this author)

This brings to mind Mellinkoff's advice about "put[ting] a period in the middle" (Mellinkoff, 1963: 366). Bielsa's defense notwithstanding, Calvo Ramos undoubtedly speaks for many when she issues this verdict:

Therefore, lest they neutralize themselves, administrative actions should be expressed clearly and concisely. Administrative language should be clear enough to be understood by those affected by it, who are generally from quite varied social and cultural backgrounds, and especially by those who must interpret and enforce administrative decisions. In fact, the language of administrative law, like judicial language, does aim at concision and clarity. The very structure of official regulations is intended to make them clear and accessible to civil servants and the public alike, though they are sometimes very complex. Nevertheless, excessive reserve or prudence in some cases, the difficulty of circumstances in others, and the mediocrity of writers in many instances, lead to the use of ambiguous terms, euphemisms that distort reality, explanatory clauses, very lengthy periphrastic constructions, interminably long phrases that detract from the desired clarity and concision. Needless to say, the clarity we expect in administrative language is not, and should not be, the clarity of the literary elegance that characterizes artistic works. As for concision, this is about as much as we can expect of a language that is sometimes forced to go into excessive detail. That is why we often see the vices that militate against clarity and concision: obscurity and prolixity. (Calvo Ramos, 1980: 253; translation by this author)

II. Translation and Interpretation of Legal Texts

As noted above, legal translators (and interpreters) are expected to convey the meaning not just of words but of the legal system that dictates the writer's choice of those words. This is no easy task. One definition of a good translation is one that has the same impact on the target-language audience as the original text has on the source-language audience, what Nida and Taber (1974) call "dynamic equivalence." Thus, the translator/interpreter must ask the same question that Duarte and Martinez (1995) ask: Who is the intended audience? A related question is, What is the purpose of the text? In fact, Matt Hammond notes that

Modern translation theory, like communication theory, cognitive psychology, and reading theory, recognizes the importance, or even supremacy, of the purpose of a translation as a guiding factor in the creation of the target text. [...] This means that what a translated text is going to be used for has much more bearing on how translators should approach the translation than does the foreign-language original. (Hammond, 1995: 235; italics in original)

Hammond also emphasizes that "the intended use of a target text more often than not differs from the use of the original" (Hammond, 1995: 240). Consequently, when a translator is given a text to translate, he or she must find out who is going to be reading the translation and for what purpose it is to be used. Is the translation for informational purposes only, or will it be legally binding on the target-language receptor? Is it going to be submitted as evidence in a court of law, or is the translation merely a formality to comply with legal requirements?

In legal interpreting, such questions are also extremely relevant, but the legal doctrine is contradictory on this point. In the United States, as in many countries, the court interpreter is expected to ensure the constitutional right of a non-English-speaking defendant to be "present" at his or her trial by simultaneously interpreting all proceedings into "a language the defendant understands" (California Evidence Code, Chapter 4, Section 751), and to eliminate the language barrier for non-English-speaking witnesses so that their testimony is rendered "verbatim" into English for the record; on the other hand, the interpreter is not to add, omit, clarify or explain anything (Mikkelson, 1996: 2). "It is, therefore, the interpreter's task to mediate between these two extremes: the verbatim requirement of the legal record and the need to convey a meaningful message in the [target language]" (Gonzalez, et al., 1991: 17). As Morris (1995) points out, it is doubtful whether both of these criteria can be met:

When it comes to court interpreting, then, the law distinguishes between the prescribed activity of what it calls translation—defined as an objective, mechanistic, transparent process in which the interpreter acts as a mere conduit of words—and the proscribed activity of interpretation, which involves interpreters decoding and attempting to convey their understanding of speaker meanings and intentions. In the latter case, the interpreter is perceived as assuming an active role in the communication process, something that is anathema to lawyers and judges. [...] The law's attitude to interpreters is at odds with the findings of current research in communication which recognizes the importance of context in the effective exchange of messages: it simply does not allow interpreters to use their discretion or act as mediators in the judicial process. The activity of interpretation, as distinct from translation, is held by the law to be desirable and acceptable for jurists, but utterly inappropriate and prohibited for court interpreters. (Morris, 1995: 26)

Thus, translators are caught between the universal objective of fidelity to the original and the specific objective of tailoring a translated legal document to the needs of the target-language user; while interpreters must strike a balance between the legal tradition of a "verbatim" record and the requirement that they convey meaning accurately. How can they resolve this dichotomy? To put the question in a different light, we must consider that translators and interpreters operate in the real world, not in the ivory tower where legal scholars dwell. They must contend with the imperfect writing and speaking of ordinary human beings, and with audiences not always well-versed in their own native languages. Thus, the translator/interpreter is often faced with a dilemma: Is the text unintelligible to the layman but not to the expert, or is it simply unintelligible? Of course, a faithful translation of a meaningless original should be equally meaningless in the target language, though it is excruciatingly painful for a competent translator to deliberately create a nonsensical text.

Complicating matters further is the Plain English movement, which as Duarte and Martinez (1995: 50) note, began in the United States in the 1940s and has since spread to all English-speaking nations. It represents an effort to render legal language more accessible to the general public. Alcaraz Varó (1996: 72-73) points out, however, that the movement has not won universal acceptance, and traditionalists still prevail in many circles. Again, translators and interpreters, who are expected to keep abreast of current usage, must choose between competing schools of thought. If a translator renders a contract in good old-fashioned legalese, replete with phrases such as "the party of the first part," "hereinafter known as," and "hereunto set their hand and seal," is he making the translation sound like an authentic legal document in English, or helping to perpetuate a stilted, frozen style that is impenetrable to the average reader? If an interpreter preserves the bombast and redundancy of the judge's admonition, "It is the order of the court that you are hereby enjoined from harassing, molesting, annoying, or in any way disturbing the peace and tranquility of the domicile of the complainant," has she really conveyed a meaningful message to the defendant in the targe language? In a sense, the rigid rules governing court interpreters make their job a little easier than that of legal translators, as the decision is taken out of their hands:

"The interpreter's job is to place the non-English speaker on an equal footing with, not at an advantage relative to an average layperson who understands ordinary English. The interpreter's task is not to ensure that the defendant understands the proceedings. (Mikkelson, 1996: 2; italics in original)

Translators, who must be much more careful about adhering to "proper" style and grammar in the target language, have a more difficult decision to make. It takes years of experience working with legal documents, reading legal texts in both source and target languages, and becoming familiar with the mentality of legal professionals and the lay public to develop a sense of current, proper legal style; and even then, translators often feel obliged to rely on common sense and instinct in deciding how much to manipulate the style of a text.

III. Training of Legal Translators and Interpreters

Students of legal translation and interpretation must be made well aware of these considerations from the outset of their training. After being introduced to the basic concepts of translation and interpretation theory and practice, special courses should be devoted to applying these principles and methods in the legal sphere. At the Monterey Institute of International Studies, for example, the curriculum for a Master of Arts in Translation and Interpretation calls for a course in legal translation and sight translation in the third semester of the two-year program, and a course in court interpreting in the fourth semester.

III.A. Legal Translation

Texts for translation practice should be chosen to illustrate specific problems or techniques. The syllabus may proceed according to types of documents (e.g., personal documents, press reports on legislation or law digests, legislation, treaties, contracts, court decisions); according to areas of law (family, business, torts, criminal, legislative, or international law); or simply according to the level of difficulty, at the instructor's discretion. Legal translation, more than other types of translation, requires particular attention to external features such as formatting and presentation, so texts should be selected with that in mind.

Students must be introduced to some basic tools before they embark on a translation, including an annotated bibliography of monolingual and bilingual references, a tour of a law library, information on software and other tools for legal research, and background reading assignments. Reading assignments may also be taken from textbooks and articles on legal translation and the language of the law, such as those cited in this article. Guest speakers with specialized knowledge of the law can provide a valuable complement to course materials.

Other methods can be used in class, depending on the nature of the text at hand. Parallel texts are often helpful for discussions of the structure of legal documents and comparative legal systems. If the class is assigned to translate a birth certificate from Spanish to English, for example, birth certificates from different Spanish- and English-speaking countries can be compared to highlight differences in format and similarities in phrasing. An official translation of a treaty may be compared with the original to analyze good and bad translation decisions. Sometimes the instructor's own translation of a text (especially if it was done for an actual client) is helpful to give students an idea of the standards of the market, as well as the time constraints and other practical considerations that translators must take into account. Having students submit an assignment by modem or e-mail, specifying different word processing programs, and giving them formatting problems can also give them valuable experience. Other uses of technology in the classroom range from the traditional overhead transparencies of text for mark-up to projection and comparison of student translations, presentations with software like Powerpoint, conducting class in a computer lab where students can access the Internet, and having students exchange texts for editing and feedback via e-mail.

Sight translation is another useful class exercise: A particularly convoluted text can be summarized, then outlined on the board, and then sight translated to help students see the steps a translator may go through when preparing a translation. Practical problems such as typographical errors, illegible faxes, and microscopic print can be introduced to give the students a taste of reality. Articles about the topic of the document may be brought in to enhance students' understanding of the subject matter; for example, students were given a section of Mexican electoral law to translate, and were assigned to read an article in The Economist on electoral procedures in general to give them a better understanding of different methods of electing representatives. Assigning translations to small groups may also give students experience in editing and polishing and teamwork.

Questions to be asked in class before analyzing students' completed translations include: What is the purpose of this document? Why might someone want it translated? How does the target-language audience differ from the source-language audience? What resources did you find most helpful for this assignment? What steps did you follow from the moment you were given the text to the production of the finished translation? What were the main problems you had with this translation? Is the translation as readable as the original?

A long-term research assignment is an effective way to familiarize students with resources for legal research. Topics might include international environmental law, extradition, comparative civil procedure, comparative family law, judicial reform or investment law in a given country, legal language, and so on. Emphasis should be placed on the research itself more than the writing of the paper; accordingly, the bibliography should be a significant part of the work.

III.B. Legal Interpretation

Because of the strict limitations imposed on court interpreters, students must develop a heightened sensitivity to register in general—not just the legal register, but those of other professions and groups that come into contact with the courts, such as police officers, social workers, criminalists, gang members, and residents of high-crime neighborhoods. Throughout their training as court interpreters, they should be exposed to a variety of registers in both languages, and critiques of their interpreting performance should emphasize conservation of register.

An initial exercise that can illustrate differences in register in an exaggerated way is to read the students a familiar nursery rhyme or proverb rewritten in legalese and ask them if they can identify it. To encourage the students to activate their own use of different registers, they can be given a list of terms for which they must find equivalents in other registers (formal, casual, legal, criminal, teenage, etc.). A text written in a neutral style can be assigned as a sight paraphrasing exercise, in which they must alter the register spontaneously as they read along. Or students can be divided into groups to draw up a hierarchy of terms according to specified criteria (for example, a list of terms that impugn someone's intelligence, one column for each language, ranging from offensive and vulgar to polite euphemistic, perhaps with separate categories for male and female terms). Exercises such as this one serve to increase awareness of different registers, stimulate cooperative learning, and keep students interested.

Improvisation and role-playing are useful techniques for practicing consecutive interpreting. Much of the role-playing involves previously prepared scripts designed to illustrate a variety of interpreting problems, such as register, ethical dilemmas, technical terminology, lengthy utterances, incoherent speech, and slang. In addition, the students derive a great deal of benefit from improvising their own role-playing situations, because it encourages them to learn and imitate different registers.

Another way to help students become more familiar with the legal register is to expose them to as many different legal texts as possible. Court decisions, penal and civil codes, court forms, and other legal documents in both languages should be compared with a view to identifying patterns of usage and common phrases. Although there is no equivalent of jury instructions in countries where there are no jury trials, these are an important part of court proceedings that interpreters must be prepared to handle; consequently, analyzing legal treatises, court decisions, and codes from other countries is the most effective way of finding equivalent terms and phrases in the target language.

Many teaching opportunities arise ad hoc as students practice interpreting or sight translating a given text. Sometimes parsing or outlining a particularly convoluted sentence on the board can help students understand it better. Often students become so bogged down in complex legal texts that they "can't see the forest for the trees," and it may be useful to have them step back from the text (literally and figuratively) and summarize it in their own words before proceeding. It has been said that legal language is so difficult to follow because it was originally intended to be read and not spoken; this is especially true of jury instructions (Gonzalez, et al., 1991: 268). As a result, it is helpful for students to see a written version of some of the texts after they have performed a simultaneous interpretation of them; this also aids in class discussions of phrasing and terminology. Students should not become dependent on seeing a script, however, as they must be prepared to interpret a great deal of spontaneous and unpredictable discourse as well.

IV. Conclusion

The considerations discussed in this paper are derived from years of experience as a practicing translator/interpreter and instructor of prospective translators and interpreters, and from the sources listed in the reference section below. In addition to carefully prepared materials, however, much of teaching involves improvised lessons devised to take advantage of a current development (a highly publicized court case, for example), a special problem plaguing an individual student, an unusual text, or a sudden flash of inspiration. For this reason, each time an instructor repeats a course it will be a new and different one. Nonetheless, it is hoped that this paper will provide useful guidelines for other instructors of legal translation and interpretation.


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