The ultimate work-from-home checklist

This post originally appeared on the Freelancers Union blog and it is republished with permission.

Before COVID-19, I had the opportunity to switch my environment every time I needed to boost my creativity. Cozy cafes and beach bars were my go-to place of work.

This helped me set clear boundaries between work time and personal time, which consequently helped me balance my life.

If you liked getting out of the house every day like I did, being forced to work from home might be a nightmare for you. And for many of us, the blurring lines between work life and personal life can cause havoc and stress.

It helps to have work-from-home strategies in place, and the best way to approach this is with checklists.

Work-From-Home 101

Before we get to everyday best practices, we have to look at some prerequisites.

  1. Sort out that internet connection: Having fast and reliable internet at home is now non-negotiable. In the past, you might have put up with crappy internet, but now, it’s a matter of earning your living.
  2. Invest in the right gadgets/software: With the right headphones, mic, and camera, you will see your productivity soar. But you also need some feature-packed remote work software that allows screen sharing and control. Cutting off a call when you hit the time limit because you are using free services is not good for your brand. And being able to see, hear, and be heard clearly is critical.
  3. Set up a workspace: It might be tempting to laze around the house, kick back, and get on with your daily goals, but there are several reasons why you should not work where you relax. Set up a quiet place that is dedicated solely to work. This is the simplest way to create a distinction between your work life and your personal life. Make sure you have a laptop stand, ergonomic chair, etc. to stay comfortable if you are pulling off a full workday, and alternate between sitting and standing while you work.
  4. Set up a communication protocol: Communicating with your clients or team when you are working from home is significantly different from being in a shared office space. You might find that getting in sync with each other is a major issue. There are many tools to improve communication while working from home and create a communication protocol.
  5. Set boundaries with your family/friends: Your family/roommates might not be used to seeing you working from home. They might come to talk to you or ask you to do chores, disturbing your workflow. Set up clear boundaries with the people you live with — like, if you are sitting at your desk or have headphones on, you’re not available to them — so they know not to disturb you when you are working.

Once the above are taken care of, you are ready to maximize your work-from-home mode.

Daily Checklist for Maximum Productivity While Working From Home

#1: Dress as if you are actually going to the office (in a comfy way)

#2: Create and follow a daily schedule (for tomorrow)

#3: Use both text and video communication. Every day!

#4: Keep distractions at bay

#5: Spend time on lead generation/collaboration

#6: Power naps are your best friend

#7: Stay hydrated and keep munchies around

#8: Ensure that your workspace and documents are organized

#9: Physical activity. Yes! It exists.

#10: Engage in team-building activities outside of work

#1: Dress as if you are actually going to the office (in a comfy way)

Your brain has made certain associations with productivity over the years, and the primary association is how your body feels when you wear your work clothes.

To put it simply, work clothes equal productivity in your head. In addition, home clothes equal relaxation and family time.

When you dress up, you tell your brain that it is working time. This also acts as a signal for those at home that you are now in work mode, meaning you are not to be disturbed.

#2: Create and follow a daily schedule (for tomorrow)

When you are working from home, the boundaries between work life and home life can easily blur and you might find yourself overworking.

This is why it is best to stick to your former schedule as much as possible and plan your day accordingly.

This also applies to taking lunch breaks and coffee breaks — don’t skip them. There are break and stretch extensions that you can add to your browser that will remind you when to take a pause. They have helped me tremendously, mentally and physically!

At the end of the day, get up and walk away from your workstation and avoid using the space till the next morning.

#3: Use both text and video communication. Every day!

We communicate a lot through our facial expressions and body language, which is all lost when you only ever speak with clients or colleagues via email/Slack/text.

When you set up a communication protocol, make sure you combine text updates and video conferences, or you can start feel lost or distracted and get out of sync with your team.

#4: Keep distractions at bay

At home, you are on your own and it is up to you to actually be productive. This is where certain apps and systems can come in handy.

Social media is one of the biggest distractions, but there are both Android and iOS apps that help you avoid social media or restrict the amount of time you can spend on social media.

#5: Spend time on lead generation/collaboration

The economy has fallen, but it is not going to be down forever. Make sure you’re ready to take advantage when clients do have cash to spend again. Begin by sending cold emails, and be sure to verify the email address before you start writing your pitch.

You can also focus on pitching your existing clients a bigger package or retainer. Try a ready-to-use proposal format that has been proven to be effective.

I would suggest looking at bulking your efforts with media and email campaigns. If you send a thousand emails, at least one will convert.

#6: Power naps are your best friend

Now that you are working from home, there really is no shame in taking a power nap when you need it.

Don’t feel guilty about it. Remember that a power nap can boost your energy levels and make you more productive. (As long as you fulfill your everyday checklist!)

NASA has conducted research that pointed out that these “power naps” could improve memory and cognitive functions, among other things.

Breathing exercises can help you sleep at times when you have too much going on to focus on sleeping.

#7: Stay hydrated and keep munchies around

The idea is to not have to think about food or water during the day. The moment you feel hungry or thirsty, you can reach out for the bottle of water or snacks, satiate your needs, and get straight back to work. No distractions!

Avoid sugary and greasy foods, as they will make you feel lethargic.

#8: Ensure that your workspace and documents are organized

A tidy workspace will ensure that you have a clear and focused mind. And when you are in need of something, you’ll know where to find it immediately.

Arrange everything neatly at the end of your workday so that when you return to work the next morning, you have a neat and clean workspace ready to greet you.

#9: Physical activity. Yes! It exists.

Get your daily dose of exercises at a time convenient to you. You do not need equipment and a large space to churn those calories into energy.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has helped me a lot. Especially after sitting on a chair and working long hours, your back and glutes do tend to get sore.

Following a system like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for 25 minutes using a timer and then take a 5-minute break, can help you boost productivity by ensuring your mind does not get too stressed out.

I make sure to move around and stretch during these breaks.

#10: Engage in team-building activities (outside of work)

Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an epidemic of loneliness and depression taking over the world.

As social beings, it is difficult to be confined. How much is social media going to fill the void, anyway?

Take time to connect with your colleagues. Be there for them even for 10 minutes a day instead of getting lost in your own world and you will find your own spirits soaring.

Author bio

Himaan Chatterji is a B2B SaaS content writer and a full-time digital nomad working with SaaS brands around the world to create a web of interconnected long-form actionable resources.

Book Review: Never Split the Difference

Never Split the Difference is a book by former police officer and FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss that offers “a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.” Well, it may be your home office, but the book has some helpful ideas and skills of great use to freelance translators and interpreters. These tactics are not always easy to implement in email or phone conversations, which tend to form the majority of a freelance translator’s conversations since we don’t often have face-to-face interaction with our clients, but they are absolutely worth considering when contacting new clients, negotiating rates and terms, or dealing with conflicts that may arise in a business relationship. Below I’ve compiled some thoughts about the author’s most salient points and some examples of how his tips could be used in our professions.

  • Use “no” to evoke more explanation.

When interacting with clients, we generally want to come across as knowledgeable. It may feel counter-intuitive to ask a question to which you know the answer will be “no,” but Voss suggests that we use questions like this to get more information. For instance, if you reach out to a potential direct client by email, you’ll probably research the company online and get an idea of what they do first. But instead of regurgitating what you’ve learned about the company from their website when you write to them, instead ask a question to draw out more information about their company or how they work. This will evoke further conversation and show you are interested in learning more about them. Voss says “no” can help the client feel more secure in their response and will allow them to clarify their position. “No” is not a failure, he says; it’s an opportunity. Here’s an example:

Translator: Hello, client. I read about your company in Article Y and am interested in connecting with you as an independent Spanish translator. Do you often work with companies in other countries?

 

Client: Yes, we do.

Translator: Hello, client. I read about your company in Article Y and am interested in connecting with you as an independent Spanish translator. Are your current translation solutions fulfilling your needs and meeting your expectations?

 

Client: No, we’ve struggled to complete all the translations we need in-house with our own bilingual employees and are finding that they don’t have the know-how to translate accurately and consistently. We’re also not sure how to manage translation projects and keep files organized. Is this something you can help us with?

Here’s another example of how I use “no” on a regular basis:

Translator: Hello, client. I’m checking in about the project you inquired about last week. Is this project still on hold?

 

Client: Yes, it is.

Translator: Hello, client. I’m checking in about the project you inquired about last week. Has this project been cancelled?

 

Client: No, we are actually waiting on another department to finalize the documents and expect to get back to you tomorrow with approval.

  • Listen and mirror the last few words the other person said. Empathize by labeling the other person’s emotions (or pain points).

When communicating with a client or colleague by phone or email, we aren’t able to see the other person’s emotions or reactions but can listen for cues to learn what they are thinking and feeling instead. Voss’s recommendation to mirror the last few words the other person said is emotionally resounding when used in person (“I’ve been feeling really sad lately.” “You’ve been feeling sad lately? Why is that?”), and it can also be very effective in writing. Everyone wants to know they are being heard, so repeating back what the other person has said can reaffirm to them that you’ve understood what they said and aren’t simply thinking about your own response. Voss calls this “tactical empathy.” Here’s an example of how this could work while speaking with a client over the phone:

Client: I have a project for you and it’s a bit urgent. The client just sent over three files and they want them back by tomorrow. We’re really short-staffed here and I didn’t have time to wait for an email response so I thought I’d call and see if you’re available. Can you take this job?

 

Translator: What’s the rate, and can you pay a rush fee?

Client: I have a project for you and it’s a bit urgent. The client just sent over three files and they want them back by tomorrow. We’re really short-staffed here and I didn’t have time to wait for an email response so I thought I’d call and see if you’re available. Can you take this job?

 

Translator: It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate right now! Those three urgent files for tomorrow sound doable to me but I’d like to take a look before confirming. I’m at my computer now, so can you send over the files and I’ll reply right away to confirm availability and rates?

  • Don’t be afraid of silence.

Many of us are naturally uncomfortable in situations of silence when face-to-face with another person, and this can happen in writing too. When a client doesn’t get back to you about a project for several days and the project sits in your inbox as “pending approval,” does that make you a little uneasy? Voss says not to be afraid of silence; it can serve as an opportunity to put pressure on the person you’re speaking with, or it may allow them a chance to think harder on what you’ve discussed. Pestering your client more than once about a pending project won’t make them any more likely to approve it; it may just have the opposite effect! Give people time to think by scheduling your communications carefully.

  • Affirm the worst things they could say about you first.

I’ve saved this idea for last because I haven’t tried it yet but am intrigued by the concept! One of Voss’s recommendations is to confront your fellow negotiator head-on by affirming the worst right at the onset. He says that in business negotiations he will often come out of the gate saying, “My price is higher than the next guy’s,” and “We don’t skimp on quality for the sake of saving money,” so that the negotiator can only affirm what has already been said and can’t attack him with new criticism. For me, to open a negotiation with a new client by saying, “I know my rate isn’t cheap” would be very uncomfortable… but may be worth a try!

—–

Lots of other great advice from this book can be used in all kinds of scenarios that are common for professional translators and interpreters; I hope from this small taste of the author’s expertise and out-of-the-box thinking you get an idea of what you could learn from this book and are encouraged to pick up a copy. Whether or not my negotiations ever involve another person’s life hanging in the balance (I sure hope not), you can bet I’ll be taking a page out of this book to use in my own business communications.

Purchase Orders Revisited

This post originally appeared on the blog My Words for a Change and it is republished with permission.

Way back in 2015, I asked my blog readers whether the purchase order I’d produced was merely a pipe dream or a document I could actually use with my clients. The general consensus was that my overly long PO would prove daunting for direct clients and unnecessary for agencies. After tweaking it a bit based on the many suggestions I received, I instead came up with a purchase order checklist. The idea was to fill it in ourselves using the information we gleaned in negotiations with clients and for it to be a handy reminder of what questions we should be asking.

However, I have to admit this hasn’t always been my approach as I have given it to direct clients for two main reasons. Firstly, it serves as a more formal record of the provision of services than an email exchange, especially as I’ve included a link to my privacy notice and to the ITI terms and conditions. And secondly, clients can also provide me with the details I need to perform that service better.

I always fill in as much of the document as I can before giving it to clients and, before today’s brainwave, I put “N/A” where possible because some of the lines were irrelevant for the requested service. Then it occurred to me that it would be far better to create separate model purchase orders for every service I provide. (It’s only taken me nearly five years to think of this. Better late than never I suppose!)

Consequently, I now have four slightly different versions of the original purchase order. They are for: translation; revision; editing; and localisation into UK English. I’ve differentiated between revision and editing as I do a lot of editing of academic papers that have been written by non-native speakers directly into English (or so the client tells me, which is why I have included a question on whether MT has been used).

As before, I’d be grateful for your comments. You can download the files from the following links:

Purchase Order for Translation

Purchase Order for Revision

Purchase Order for Editing

Purchase Order for Localisation into UK English

If you decide to use the files with your own clients, don’t forget that you can’t link to the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) terms and conditions unless you’re a member. And you’ll also have to change the link to your own privacy notice (although please feel free to copy any parts of mine you wish).

Author bio:

Nikki Graham is a Spanish-to-English translator and reviser specialising in leisure, tourism, hospitality andacademic articles (social sciences and humanities). She also does editingand localisation work. After passing the ITI exam in the subject of leisure and tourism in 2015, she became a qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (MITI). In 2018 she attained the ‘Qualified’ status for ISO 17100:2015, the internationally recognised standard for translation services. Nikki is also a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET) and ProCopywriters. You can find her blog, My Words for a Change, at https://nikkigrahamtranix.com/blog.

Six International Language Associations to Join

Language associations are a great way to connect with people of different backgrounds who share a similar appreciation for learning foreign languages. By joining a language association, you have the opportunity to engage with speakers at various levels of proficiency and practice your language skills with native speakers. You’re probably already familiar with the American Translators Association since this blog is run by ATA volunteers, but what about other international associations for languages?

Learning a new language can be very difficult and it’s also a challenge to maintain proficiency. Language associations allow you to stay proficient in the languages you have worked so hard to master while also connecting with new people.

If you’re looking to improve and increase your foreign language skills, take a look at these six international language associations you should join!

  1. The International Language Association (ICC)

The International Certificate Conference (ICC) is a non-government organization that sets the standards for a transnational network of language learners. This international language association offers foreign language teaching and learning with exchange of ideas and culture.

This association provides the following to its learners:

  • Proven expertise in projects
  • Quality assurance
  • Networking
  • Theory and practice
  • Personal development
  • Independent voice

As a platform for ideas, projects, teachers, and courses, the ICC encourages research and development in language teaching by collaboration. In addition, the ICC has a local impact, representing the field of language learning and teaching, and promotes quality in both aspects.

  1. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is committed to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at varying levels of instruction. Established in 1967, this organization now has over 13,000 members including language educators and administrators ranging from elementary through graduate education, with some holding positions in government and industry.

The ACTFL strives to advance the value of world languages and empower learners to become linguistically and culturally competent through the following strategic priorities:

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Outreach and advocacy
  • Teacher recruitment and retention
  • Professional development
  • Research

If you’re looking to make your mark on the language education field, become a member of the ACTFL today.

  1. Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL)

The Association of Departments of Foreign Language (ADFL) supports the language, literature, and cultural studies communities in the United States and Canada. This association has a broad range of members, with representatives of departments and programs in diverse languages at postsecondary institutions.

The ADFL membership base provides a network to review the issues faced by language-related humanities fields and works to develop solutions and fieldwide policies. Through seminars, journals, discussion lists, and their website, the ADFL provides a forum for collegial exchange about important issues and legislation that affects the field of work.

Looking to find out more information about the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages? Check out the ADFL website.

  1. The Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (AFMLTA)

The Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (AFMLTA) is a professional body that represents educators of all languages in Australia. This association strives to provide vision, leadership, representation, advocacy, and support for promoting quality foreign language teaching and learning.

The AFMLTA strategic plan outlines actions they intend to complete in order to achieve their goals and support their members in the following key areas:

  • Member services
  • Governance and operations
  • Leadership and representation
  • Research and professional practice

For additional information on the AFMLTA and membership opportunities, contact the AFMLTA team.

  1. Association for Language Learning (ALL)

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) is an independent registered charity and the United Kingdom’s major subject association for individuals involved in the teaching of foreign language at varying levels of proficiency. It is their goal to represent and support language teachers and their ongoing professional development. The ALL supports their members by offering opportunities to access local, regional, and national training or networking events.

Founded in 1990, ALL is run by teachers for teachers and consists of thousands of members across the United Kingdom and further afield. To learn more about how the Association for Language Learning can help to improve your foreign language skills, check out the ALL website.

  1. Association of University Language Centers (AULC)

The Association of University Language Centers (AULC) is an organization for staff working in language departments and centers located in the United Kingdom and Ireland. With approximately 70 universities as current members, the AULC provides opportunities for networking for all staff involved in management, teaching, and resources.

The major goals of the association include:

  • To encourage and foster good practice and innovation in language learning and teaching
  • Effective resource management and administration
  • To conduct regular meetings to facilitate discussion and an exchange of information on the diverse activities hosted by the various language centers
  • To facilitate contacts with university departments internationally
  • To monitor emerging international and national language standards and work to develop quality assurance mechanisms

To learn more about their membership guidelines, check out the AULC site.

About the author

Molly Downey works with the Kent State Master of Arts in Translation program. This department provides a variety of courses in foreign languages, cultures, and literatures.  

Becoming a Legal Translator

This post originally appeared on Capital Translations and it is republished with permission.

Unless you have studied Law, it is rather tricky to know how to specialise in legal translation, let alone find relevant high-calibre training. Fortunately, Roehampton University’s symposium on Friday 9th January 2015 on becoming a legal translator addressed many of the issues concerning the best ways to acquire the wealth of knowledge and skills that are vital for this crucial sector of the industry. Here are some concise ideas from the programme highlights for those seeking to enter the specialism.

 Professionalising legal translation – do or die

The conference took place on a bright and crisp winter day, with the first seminar by Juliette Scott. Although the title of her talk might have been a tad dramatic, Juliette quite rightly highlighted the problem that legal translation is not viewed as a profession compared with an airline pilot or doctor, for example, based on criteria including public recognition, monopoly over work and a regulatory body, all of which are lacking in this case; threats to the occupation were identified, such as machine translation, press coverage and translators themselves.

A quote by Lanna Castellano (1988) nevertheless laid out the reality of a legal translator’s career: “Our profession is based on knowledge and experience. It has the longest apprenticeship of any profession. Not until thirty do you start to be useful as a translator; not until fifty do you start to be in your prime.”

The decisive role of academia was brought up, in particular the fact that academics can contribute to improving practice, developing innovations, transmitting knowledge and providing theoretical and professional training.

Juliette’s seminar was not short of polemic questions: how do we regulate legal translation? Should CPD be mandatory and who would oversee it? But the presentation provided clarity over many aspects, namely that the best legal translators are lawyers who have become linguists or linguists who have gone on to study law. Regardless of one’s exact career path, legal translators are themselves responsible for making their profession a profession, one of Juliette’s recurring point being it is ‘us not them’. Specifically, we need to be outward-looking and be mindful of how we dress, how we position ourselves, how our workplace is arranged and how our websites and marketing materials come across.

Finally, Juliette provided a perfect 12-step plan to professionalising legal translation:

  1. Define our status: in person, online and in print
  2. Assuage our passion for CPD
  3. Make professional bodies work for us
  4. Use Codes of Conduct as support
  5. Acquire prestige and remuneration through our actions and reactions
  6. Turn fragmentation into a strong community
  7. If academia doesn’t address our needs, let’s go into academia
  8. Support regulation
  9. Get our faces out there
  10. Change terminology (from resource/freelancer to practitioner/professional)
  11. Make sure we get the proper brief from our clients
  12. Remember it’s about us not them

The reflective translator: planning and implementing a CPD programme for legal translation

If there was one seminar that delegates could come away from thinking ‘okay, now I know what I need to do to become a legal translator’, Karen Stokes was the one to provide it.

Starting by discussing the CPD cycle (right), Karen highlighted the prime resources for translators to utilise in their quest to specialise in legal translation, the first ports of call comprising the likes of Coursera, Open University OpenLearn and FutureLearn, with examples of more specialised sources being the Law Society Gazette, the Institute of Advance Legal Studies and Lexoligy.

Naturally, professional bodies often run specialised legal courses in association with solicitors or lawyer-linguists and it is always worth remembering to check those professional bodies in the countries of your source languages, such as the BDÜ for German.

A resource raised by a delegate was Counsel, the monthly Journal of the Bar of England and Wales. Largely written by and for barristers, the magazine is to solicitors what the ITI Bulletin is to translators, featuring items of relevance to all those with an interest in the law.

How functional can/should legal translation be? 

Legal translation is the “ultimate linguistic challenge […] combining the inventiveness of literary translation with the terminological precision of technical translation,” stated Łucja Biel of the University of Warsaw, opening with a quote from Harvey (2002), but it is nonetheless an ultimate intellectual reward.

Łucja’s workshop was a rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs, and ins and outs of the field. Firstly the challenges, which can be categorised as legal system-specific (e.g. incongruity of legal terms and difference between legal systems), language-specific (e.g. semantic differences between languages) and translation-specific (e.g. constraints of bilingual processing such as interference, simplification and explicitation). Thus, in the case of translation into or out of English, legal translation is often an operation between two languages as well as two legal systems (the judge-made common law in the England and Wales – which places importance on precedents – versus the code-made civil law on the European continent – which gives more weight to statutes), perhaps somewhat mitigated by the harmonisation of law within the European Union.

The debate of accuracy versus naturalness was broached, with delegates being introduced to clear references citing the importance of how accuracy should take precedence over style in legal translation, in other words substance over form.

The majority of legal translations are non-authoritative – merely informing about the content of the source text – but it is naturally vital for translators to know when a legal translation is intended to be authoritative, as such target texts are as equally authentic as source texts and vested with the force of law, as is the case in multilingual countries and organisations.

According to Šarčević, the ideal legal translator should have: thorough knowledge of legal terminology and legal reasoning between the source and target legal systems; the ability to solve legal problems, analyse legal texts and foresee text construal; and possess drafting skills and a basic knowledge of comparative law and methods. Alas such a translator does not, or at the very least is unlikely to, exist. Lifelong learning is therefore required.

“An acceptable legal translation is one that contains correctly translated terms, utterances that have been translated correctly according to their pragmatic function, and textual conventions that are familiar to the intended readers of target texts and conform with target-language genre conventions”

(Nielsen 2010: 33)

In terms of qualifications for legal translators, in the absence of a law degree, the IoLET’s Diploma in Translation was cited as an ideal example given that candidates can sit a legal module.

Łucja proceeded to tackle some of the facets within legal translation that we need to consider, such as the wide usage of synonyms (‘par/nominal/face value, for example), the legal vs. semi-legal nature of terms, variation in terminology for civil and criminal procedure, geographical variations (UK vs. US law or even English and Welsh law vs. Scots law), terms and their collates (such as to bring an action and to file a lawsuit). Delegates were introduced to examples of set legal formula (e.g. in witness whereof), a corresponding formula of which most likely exists in the target language and should be sought.

A more curious aspect of legal language in English is repetitions, such as ‘by and between’, ‘terms and conditions’ and ‘any and all’; translators into English should therefore be aware of such phenomena and use them accordingly. Translators out of English, on the other hand, need to recognise these and more than likely simplify them in their target language, as continental systems avoid synonymy and a redundant translation would be confusing to a continental lawyer. Elements of navigation in legal English were also raised and legal translators should understand the importance and correct usage of terms such as ‘hereinafter’ and ‘thereof’.

A further fundamental aspect of style in legal language is dealing with disjunctive syntax and ordering semantic units logically. This primarily concerns matching prepositional phrases with the nouns and verbs to which they refer, such as ‘receipt of the Order by the Contractor’ being more logical than ‘receipt by the Contractor of the Order’, the latter sounding as if the Contractor belongs to the Order of the Phoenix from the Harry Potter books.

The seminar then dealt with strategies and techniques of legal translation, namely the question of equivalence: functional, descriptive or literal?

Functional equivalence is appropriate where two legal concepts are identical or similar between the two legal systems (such as ‘homicide’) and can be resolved with the approximation of a source term by the corresponding legal term. This is regarded as the ideal solution by many scholars owing to its communicative value.

Descriptive equivalence takes a legal term in the target languages and modifies it to clarify the difference, thereby bridging the knowledge gap. An example would be translating the German ‘Prokurist’ as an ‘authorised signatory’ or a ‘registered holder of power of attorney’.

Literal equivalence is, as the name suggests, a word-for-word translation, calque or a loan translation. This technique is deemed acceptable when the meaning is sufficiently transparent, it coincides with a functional equivalent and when it is not a false friend, such as the Polish ‘użytkowanie wieczyste’ being translated as ‘perpetual usufruct’, an English-language term typically used only by Polish lawyers to describe the Polish version of public ground lease.

Finally we looked at trends in legal translation, notably the fact that demand is expected to increase significantly on account of the mobility of EU citizens and the implementation of an EU directive on the right to translation and interpreting in criminal proceedings. This is coupled with the development of memories, such as the DGT Translation Memory and terminology databases, such as IATE and UNTERM. To put any fears to bed, Łucja asserted that legal translators are unlikely to be replaced by machine translation and post-editors soon, not least because of confidentiality issues and the lack of parallel corpora to train software.

Much like the conclusion to Juliette’s talk, Łucja provide some action points for translators to work towards to specialise law: build up knowledge of the source and target legal systems, terminology, phraseology and style.

Translation for the EU: making the impossible possible

In her overview of legal translation within the context of the European Union, Vilelmini Sosoni presented the either loved or more likely hated phenomenon of Eurospeak in bridging the gap between cultures and expressing new and pan-European concepts through neologisms (newly coined lexical units such as ‘flexicurity’ or existing lexical units that are bestowed a new sense such as ‘cohabitation’) and borrowings (introduction of words from one language to another such as ‘stagiaire’, ‘comitology’ and ‘third country’, all derived from French).

Once again, awareness of principles of concepts in common and civil law was emphasised, but also in this context thorough knowledge of the EU’s Institutions, decision-making and legal framework is required.

Delegates were introduced to the concept of intertextuality, that is the idea that most EU texts are recognised in terms of their dependence on other relevant texts, hence many texts will refer to other decisions, directives, and so on.

One revelation came when Vilelmini explained how EU legislation does not mention the term translation; rather translations are referred to as language versions owing to the principle of linguistic equality, whereby all official EU languages are equal or equally authentic.

Thoughts from the legal translator’s desk

Lawyer-linguist Richard Delaney rounded off the day by delivering some overarching ideas with delightful wit on, above all, client care – namely don’t treat clients like idiots and moan about them on Facebook groups, rather be helpful and go the extra mile – and setting rates – not competing on price in legal translation especially.

Summary

It would not be fair to claim that in 2015 the quantity of CPD courses and training for translators is poor, however we can challenge the quality of it. This full-day symposium on legal translation was one of the highest-quality and best-value-for-money (at £95) professional events that I have ever attended.

Packed full of practical and concrete information, and lacking the theoretical fluff that dominates many CPD events nowadays, I have come away from the conference having satisfied the two objectives that I intended to: understand the primary techniques of tackling legal translations and identify the resources for long-term training to specialise in legal translation, and then some.

If you are thinking of specialising in legal translation and would like to know more about what was learnt from this event, or perhaps you are already a seasoned legal translation and concur with or contest some of the ideas above, please do leave a message below.

Author bio

Lloyd Bingham MITI runs Capital Translations in Cardiff, Wales. He works from Dutch, German, French and Spanish into English, specialising in business, marketing, technology and education.

Lloyd has spoken at various conferences on professional standards in translation and is a tutor on ITI’s Starting Up as a Freelance Translator course.