Legal Translation and Interpreting
Seminar

Embassy Suites LAX North
Los Angeles, California
February 21-22, 2004

Sponsored by ATA and SCATIA

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Abstracts and Bios

Overview and Analysis of Standard and Nonstandard Contract Clauses

Legalese poses a number of challenges for the legal translator. This presentation will provide participants with useful examples and information for translating various contract provisions, with emphasis on the especially complicated concepts such as torts, damages, indemnity clauses, and other similar covenants. Explanations of in-context legal terms and clauses will also be offered. The speaker encourages open participation and questions and comments from attendees.

Daniel Giglio received his Juris Doctor and Legal Translator degrees from the University of Buenos Aires and holds an MA in Conference Interpretation (Spanish<>English) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (Monterey, CA). He was an adjunct professor in the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) Legal Translation Program where he taught a core course in legal translation for eight years and also developed and conducted a number of legal English courses and an introductory interpreting course at UBA’s Continuing Education Department. He worked as an in-house senior legal translator at Intermark Language Services Corporation (Atlanta, GA) and, in that capacity, he taught seminars in Houston and Atlanta on civil litigation for translators in conjunction with the president of the company, Thomas L. West, III. He is a federally certified court interpreter (Spanish<>English) and works as a freelance interpreter for a number of international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Defense Board, and the Organization of American States, and for private market clients such as CNN en Español, where he regularly provides freelance translation and simultaneous interpreting services. He is currently preparing a compilation of U.S. idioms and their equivalents in River Plate Spanish.


The Civil Law Notary Versus the Notary Public: Dispelling the Myths

One of the differences between the civil law and the Anglo-Saxon legal systems is the manner in which each of these systems deals with the recording, certification, and authentication of documents. The officer known as Notario, Escribano Público, Notaire, or Notaio in civil law countries has no counterpart in the Anglo-Saxon system. In most civil law countries, this officer must be a lawyer. In a translation from English, the Spanish term notario público, for instance, often creates a false assumption that the notary public is a practicing attorney and can charge appropriate fees in conjunction with professional legal services. Also, the complex and often intricate language of notarial instruments creates a challenge for the unaware English-language translator.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with an overview of this topic, as well as examples and explanations related to it. A number of typical clauses, terms, and set phrases will be examined and discussed. The main differences between the common law and the civil law notarial systems will also be analyzed.

Daniel Giglio received his Juris Doctor and Legal Translator degrees from the University of Buenos Aires and holds an MA in Conference Interpretation (Spanish<>English) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (Monterey, CA). He was an adjunct professor in the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) Legal Translation Program where he taught a core course in legal translation for eight years and also developed and conducted a number of legal English courses and an introductory interpreting course at UBA’s Continuing Education Department. He worked as an in-house senior legal translator at Intermark Language Services Corporation (Atlanta, GA) and, in that capacity, he taught seminars in Houston and Atlanta on civil litigation for translators in conjunction with the president of the company, Thomas L. West, III. He is a federally certified court interpreter (Spanish<>English) and works as a freelance interpreter for a number of international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Defense Board, and the Organization of American States, and for private market clients such as CNN en Español, where he regularly provides freelance translation and simultaneous interpreting services. He is currently preparing a compilation of U.S. idioms and their equivalents in River Plate Spanish.


Why Do They Talk Like That? Peculiar Language Peculiar to Lawyers and to the Courts

Attorneys often use language that may sound strange and stilted to the ear of the average citizen, and even to the ears of those who have considerably more contact with lawyers and the courts. But why do members of the legal profession express themselves like this? Is it out of a desire for obscurantism? Is it because they derive a sadistic pleasure from confusing the uninitiated? Not at all! There are interesting historical and linguistic reasons for many of the seemingly strange language choices favored by those in legal circles. This workshop will delve into legal history to explain the background of the language—and languages—used in the courts and will briefly discuss the underlying causes for many decisions regarding legal terminology. This presentation will illustrate examples to reveal the reasoning behind general legal terminology, terms of art, and even linguistic fossils that have survived for centuries. It will also provide insight into the obviously unusual combinations and commonly heard terms that may have never been thought of as anomalies until now. The knowledge gained during this presentation should transform many of these curious words and phrases into old, familiar friends.

Lois Feuerle holds a law degree from New York University, School of Law and a PhD in German and Linguistics from the University of Kansas. She has been the manager of the Oregon Judicial Department’s Court Interpreter Certification Program since 2000 and, from 1996 through 2000, she was the coordinator of Court Interpreting Services for the New York State Office of Court Administration. From 1991 to 1995, she was coordinator of the Translation and Interpreting Studies program at New York University, School of Continuing Education where she also taught German>English translation. She has taught translation, language, and literature classes at Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ) and Marshall University (Huntington, WV). She is a frequent presenter on topics relating to court interpreting, interpreter ethics, and legal translation and has presented at regional and national conferences of the American Translators Association (ATA) and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, as well as the New York State Bar Association annual conference. She has been a legal translator and interpreter since 1988. She is ATA-certified for German>English translation and is an approved translator for the Joint Publications Research Service and the International Monetary Fund.



Untangling Legalese: Maximizing Clarity in the Translation of Pleadings into English

You've drafted your translation as faithfully as you can, and the pleading still reads like gibberish. Where do you go from here? We cannot gloss over real failings in the original, but we can avoid making matters worse. By long tradition, pleadings are often couched in exceptionally complex language. Nevertheless, the translator does have a variety of options available for reflecting these complexities. After a discussion of a few general issues and principles that apply to translating pleadings from many Western European-based legal systems into English, this hands-on presentation will present practical techniques for unraveling convoluted structures in English translations and making arguments clearer, without unduly compromising the meaning or rhetorical flavor of the original.

Joe McClinton has been a full-time professional translator for over 25 years, specializing in legal, financial, and public relations texts, as well as CD-ROMs and other publications for general readers in the fine arts, history, and science. He has taught German-English translation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies since 1995 and presents regularly at seminars and conferences of the American Translators Association.



Normalization/Modulation Techniques in the Translation of Legal Structures

Normalization/modulation techniques allow translators to restructure the original text so that it sounds more natural in the target language. Normalization/Modulation techniques are used to give the translated document an idiomatic "feel" which carries more accurate syntax and meaning in the target language. Transposition techniques will also be discussed to complement the normalization/modulation approach. Language interferences including lexical, syntactical, and conceptual anglicisms will be presented to illustrate the importance of normalizating legal structures when translating them into the target language.

Nester Wagner, certified by the State of California as a court and medical interpreter, is director of the Southern California School of Interpretation located in Santa Fe Springs, California and director of the School of Interpretation in Las Vegas, Nevada. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Washington and has published glossaries and manuals used in the training of Spanish/English interpreters. He is a member of the Judicial Council of California Court Interpreters Advisory Panel and participated in the State Personnel Board Advisory Panel for Medical and Administrative Hearings Interpreting. He has developed training programs for the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office.



Professional Development for Legal Translators and Interpreters

This panel presentation will discuss a variety of topics that are vital to the professional development of translators and interpreters working in the legal field. One aspect of this presentation will address the standards for distribution of translation work in the criminal court systems. Topics in this discussion will include professional qualifications and experience of the distributing authority, supervision of quality, translator qualifications and ethics, and other factors involved to ensure high-quality, impartial translations for the criminal court systems. Past and present court systems will be analyzed in light of these concepts. Another aspect of this presentation will address a consortium for court interpreters, including a brief description of the state testing program that has grown from four states in 1995 to 30 states in 2004.

Gregory Drapac is the manager of the Interpreter Services Division of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.

Madeline Newman Ríos is a freelance translator and interpreter certified by the American Translators Association (Spanish>English) and by the California State and U.S. District Courts. During her 20-year professional career, she has given various seminars and courses on translation and interpreting.

Greg Miller holds a BA in Spanish, an MA in International Management, and has been a California and Federally certified court interpreter since 1980. Currently, he is contracted by the Judicial Council of California Court Interpreters to provide required workshops for registered interpreters and has also overseen the writing of Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Korean, and Cantonese exams on a state level. He serves as a lead test writer for the Federal Spanish exam and has developed Russian and Armenian exams for Los Angeles County.

Nester Wagner, certified by the State of California as a court and medical interpreter, is director of the Southern California School of Interpretation located in Santa Fe Springs, California and director of the School of Interpretation in Las Vegas, Nevada. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Washington and has published glossaries and manuals used in the training of Spanish/English interpreters. He is a member of the Judicial Council of California Court Interpreters Advisory Panel and participated in the State Personnel Board Advisory Panel for Medical and Administrative Hearings Interpreting. He has developed training programs for the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office.


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