Friday, September 30, 2011

International Translation Day

In honor of International Translation Day (an event promoted by the International Federation of Translators) here are a few items about law in translation:

  1. Be careful. Law has many subtleties, and a word-for-word translation might give a horribly wrong impression.
  2. There are established sources with fairly reliable translations of different laws. For instance, Constitutions of the Countries of the World has English translations of constitutions that are prepared by experts. The set often includes copies in the original languages as well.
  3. A great source for finding laws in translation for most countries is the Foreign Law Guide, a database linked from the library's homepage.
  4. The EU's website includes a great tool: IATE (InterActive Tool for Europe). You can enter a term in one EU language and ask for the equivalent in another. For example, if I enter "jurisdiction" in English and ask for it in Spanish (abbreviated ES, for Español), I get
    • competencia,
    • competencia judicial, and
    • jurisdicción
    I can click an entry to read more:

  5. The UW's Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal often  articles or primary materials. Recent translations include:

Curious about why September 30 was chosen to be International Translation Day? It honors St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators (because of his translations of the Bible). For more about Jerome, see these articles in The Interpreter Hall of Fame, the Catholic Encyclopedia, and Catholics Online. He is also listed as the patron saint of students and of librarians, so we all have something in common.

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