Return to ATA Homepage

General Information

Tentative Program


Speaker Bios

Hotel Information

Exhibitors & Sponsors

Job Exchange


Registration Form in Word

Registration Form in HTML

Registration Form in PDF

Jersey City, New Jersey · Hyatt Regency · May 2-4, 2003

Spanish-Language Presentations

Lexical Pitfalls and Collocational Variation in Legal Texts
180 minutes; Language-Spanish
Ricardo Chiesa

This presentation will discuss the following topics:

· Terminology
Explanation of terms common to legal documents; False cognates and Latin terms and phrases which work in one language but not in another.

· Principles of Legal Translation
How an understanding of basic legal concepts can make you a better translator; General guidelines for avoiding serious errors in English<>Spanish legal translation.

· Content Focus
The connotative and collocational meaning of a number of legal terms commonly used in different areas of the law, which pose translation problems for one or more of the following reasons:
- they are not univocal but polysemous
- they are used to signify both genus and species
- they are total or partial false cognates of their apparent target-language equivalent
- they reveal the existence of lexical gaps in the target language
- they have a broader or narrower range of meaning than their traditionally accepted equivalents
- they have led to dictionary-fossilized translation mistakes
- they vary in meaning according to collocation

· Some of the terms to be discussed include:
- concurso, testimonio, sustanciar, resolución-revocación-rescisión, privilegio-preferencia-gravamen, daño moral, and peticionario;
- lien, affiliate, enjoin, libel-slander, garnishee, security interest, heir apparent, and apparent easement;
- a quo, sub lite, exequatur, ex officio, and duces tecum;
- and many others.

Participants will be encouraged to pinpoint the difference between selected terms, ascertain the meaning of specific lexical items in self-sufficient contexts, and provide accurate translations of the texts given. Language exercises include multiple choice, error analysis, and rephrasing.

Workshop: English to Spanish Translation of Legal Aspects of Mergers and Acquisitions
90 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Silvana Debonis

This workshop will introduce participants to U.S. mergers and acquisitions (M & A) law. It is intended to provide translators with a basic understanding of the legal aspects of corporate M & A transactions. The speaker will describe the mechanics of an acquisition and explain various acquisition methods and how they differ legally. The workshop will also include a description of acquisition documents (i.e., confidentiality agreements, letters of intent, stock purchase agreements, merger agreements, asset purchase agreements), typical provisions (i.e., lockups, bust-up fees, no-shop clauses, fiduciary outs), and a brief discussion of antitrust issues.

Doing Business in Mexico and the Role of the Legal Translator
90 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Javier F. Becerra

The beginning of this presentation will introduce and explain the framework within which a legal translator works when dealing with two different legal systems-the U.S. (a common-law system) and Mexico (a civil-law system). Examples of major similarities and differences will be discussed.

The majority of the presentation will be devoted to dealing with the problems that arise when a U.S. company decides for the first time to set up a manufacturing facility in Mexico and begins to market its products in countries bound by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The legal intricacies that the company and its U.S. legal counsel will encounter in achieving the desired objective will be illustrated. The discussion will focus on the process of legal communication between the involved parties of U.S. and Mexico when creating a new company, entering into a long-term lease, hiring local management employees, negotiating and signing a union contract, establishing non-discrimination corporate policies, and distributing products in the local market through local distributors. Emphasis will be placed on the enormous difficulties that a legal translator faces when dealing with U.S. lawyers working in an unfamiliar legal environment and the essential role that the translator has to play in bridging such a gap.

The audience will be given examples of concepts with which to work. Active participation in discussing the role of the translator when preparing and reviewing English<>Spanish legal documents will be strongly encouraged.

Translating Selected Provisions of a Stock Purchase Agreement
180 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Javier F. Becerra

This English<>Spanish workshop will take a typical U.S. stock purchase agreement (initially designed to be governed by Mexico laws and, in case of dispute, submitted to the jurisdiction of Mexico courts) to be used by a U.S. company to buy from a Mexico party the shares of stock of a Mexico corporation engaged in the manufacture and sale of food products.

Participants planning to attend may visit the ATA website to print a copy of this agreement prior to the workshop so that they may have an opportunity to thoroughly review and understand the document and the underlying transaction. Participants are recommended to bring a translation into Spanish of selected provisions of the agreement and a translation into English of the changes to the provisions requested by the Mexico party. For this purpose, a rough draft of the translations should be prepared following the normal procedure for translating non-legal documents and a second draft should be prepared to come up with a non-literal translation that accurately conveys the meaning of the legal concepts used.

During this workshop, attendees may share their versions with the audience in order to compare their respective translations. A discussion will follow to ensure the general understanding of the concepts used (based on comparative law methods), the accuracy of the translated terms, drafting styles used for the different languages, the use of synonyms, false cognates, and explanations of unknown terms, and other translation problems. The discussion may also touch on other provisions of the agreement that may present specific issues to the audience.

If you are planning to attend this session, please download the accompanying handout by Clicking Here.

Translation of Notarial Clauses from Latin American Spanish into English
180 minutes; Language-English
Daniel Giglio

One of the differences between the Latin American and the Anglo-American legal systems is the manner in which each of those systems deals with the recordation, certification, and authentication of documents. The officer known as Notario Público or Escribano Público in Latin America has no counterpart in the Anglo-Saxon system. In most civil-law countries, this public officer must be a lawyer. Subdivision (c) of Section 8219.5 of the Government Code of California, for instance, prohibits the literal translation of the phrase notary public into the Spanish-language term notario público because the term may mislead Spanish-speaking persons. The Spanish term notario público 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 Latin American notarial instruments, ranging from simple words like escritura (which is generally mistranslated as "deed") to more difficult set phrases and sentences, pose a challenge to the unaware English-language translator.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with an overview of this topic, as well as related examples, explanations, and translations. 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. Attendees will be invited to participate in the discussion and to translate sample clauses for purposes of reviewing the material covered. This is intended as a highly interactive workshop.

Workshop: English to Spanish Translation of Bankruptcy Law in the U.S.
180 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Silvana Debonis

This workshop is intended to provide a basic understanding of the laws and regulations that control the bankruptcy process. It will be divided into two parts.

Part I will be devoted to presenting the basics of bankruptcy law in the U.S., with particular focus on Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 11 (reorganization). The speaker will explain key terminology including receivers, trustees, debtor-in-possession, compositions, assignments for the benefit of creditors, workouts, garnishment, bankruptcy estate, automatic stay, proof of claim, creditors meetings, secured creditors, judicial liens, mechanic's liens, discharge of debts, and reaffirmation of debts.

Part II will allow the instructor and participants to analyze bankruptcy-related documents and work on the translation of extracts from such documents.

Legal Translation in the Globalized Economy: The Case of FTAA
90 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Georganne Weller

With the exception of longstanding regional organizations such as the Organization of American States and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean who depend heavily on staff translators and widespread use of local and online freelance translators, few bodies have so desperately needed top quality professionals in the legal field as the Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA). After a series of six ministerial meetings held throughout North America (as a follow-up to the 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas at which the Chiefs of State from 34 democracies agreed to set up a free trade area), language services have become increasingly more important.

The first texts were fairly general in nature when negotiations were taking place in Miami (1999-2001) and only one staff translator and occasional freelancers were required. With the second round in process in Panama (2001-2003), there are now six staff translators and many local and online translators on call, with increasingly difficult technical translations to deal with. In Puebla, Mexico (March 2003-December 2005) there will be a heavy burden on the translating staff and freelancers to handle regular documents and the expected output of two to three meetings to be held in tandem and on a daily basis. The volume is overwhelming-agendas, position papers, updated documents to reflect bracket removing, lawyers' observations to keep the negotiators in line, constantly evolving text of the agreement itself, etc. Desperate calls are going out to seek qualified professionals.

One might ask what trade negotiations have to do with legal translation. In addition to side groups and committees, there are nine standing negotiating groups which have specific mandates from the six ministerial meetings and summits that have taken place to date-market access; investment; services; government procurement; dispute settlement; agriculture; intellectual property rights; subsidies, antidumping, and countervailing duties; and competition policy. None of these groups is at the same stage of progress, the legal trappings have become increasingly cumbersome, and translators work under great pressure to facilitate and not hinder the negotiations.

This hands-on workshop will emphasize the differences between freelance and staff legal translation versus conference translation. Real-life documents that have been declassified will be used to illustrate the highly technical and varied nature of the legal documents one has to translate at important high-level trade negotiations.

Legal Dictionaries for the English>Spanish Legal Translator
90 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Sandro Tomasi

When looking up a definition of a legal term in English, Black's Law Dictionary is the undisputed, authoritative work of its kind in the U.S. Unfortunately, many English>Spanish legal translators have failed to realize which authoritative work they should use when looking up a definition of a legal term in Spanish and have mostly relied on bilingual legal dictionaries, fallible as they may be, for their answers. This presentation will provide an overview of 18 legal dictionaries in Spanish and 22 English>Spanish legal dictionaries in hopes of raising the bar on the level of translations for which translators use these tools of their craft.

Las resoluciones judiciales en el Derecho Argentino: desafíos léxicos y discursivos
180 minutes; Language-Spanish
Ricardo Chiesa

En este encuentro se proveerá a los participantes un panorama general de las resoluciones emanadas de tribunales argentinos, sobre la base de los siguientes aspectos:
· Clasificación y diferenciación entre conceptos tales como "auto", "providencia simple", "sentencia interlocutoria", "sentencia definitiva", "sentencia firme"
· Léxico y ritualismos frecuentes en el discurso jurisprudencial
· Latinismos y arcaísmos
· Estructura y organización textual
· Comparación de aspectos formales y expresivos entre resoluciones emanadas de tribunales argentinos y resoluciones dictadas por tribunales estadounidenses de rango equivalente

Metodología de trabajo:
· Exposición de los conceptos teóricos más importantes, que estarán sintetizados en el material escrito que se entregará a los participantes.
· Interacción con los participantes en la realización de ejercicios de aplicación de lengua y traducción.

· Síntesis de los conceptos teóricos
· Ejercicios de lengua y traducción
· Glosario de términos frecuentes en el discurso judicial (español>inglés, inglés>español)

The Life of a Corporation through its Documents
90 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Teresa S. Waldes

This presentation will target Spanish>English legal translators and will be part lecture and part interactive, hands-on workshop. The presentation will focus on corporate law and corporate documents (i.e., articles of incorporation, bylaws, notices of meeting, minutes, etc.). The speaker will discuss what these documents are for, their formal structure, and the terms that usually appear in them.

The Spanish>English legal translator is often confronted with "escrituras" from Spanish-speaking countries. These documents use archaic language and sometimes refer to formalities that have no equivalent in the U.S. It is helpful to understand the procedures involved and the reasons for them, as well as to develop solutions to translate the formulas commonly used in Spanish legalese.

The first part of the presentation will illustrate examples of actual corporate documents from Mexico and the U.S. and will define corporate law terms used in Latin America and their equivalents in U.S. law. The presentation will then closely analyze some commonly used documents, their legal purpose, and how they are used to mark milestones in the life of a corporation. The speaker will also discuss the role of the notary.

During the second part of the presentation, participants will translate several fragments of corporate documents from Spanish into English and will be encouraged to share their stylistic and terminological solutions in translating problem terms and phrases. A glossary of the terms discussed and a list of references will be provided.

Propiedad intelectual en Internet: un ejemplo híbrido de traducción jurídica
90 minutes; Language-Spanish
Luis Pérez González

Los avances tecnológicos que se vienen sucediendo a un ritmo cada vez más vertiginoso no solo tienen efectos positivos sobre la convivencia social; en muchos casos, se convierten en un medio para la aparición de prácticas y comportamientos delictivos. Como resultado de este proceso, la terminología propia de las tecnologías de la información y comunicación (TIC) irrumpe en los instrumentos y normas elaboradas para evitar la proliferación de nuevos delitos, ampliando así las fronteras de lo que tradicionalmente se había considerado terminología jurídica.

Los traductores no pueden sustraerse al efecto de estos avances ni a la necesidad de familiarizarse con estos nuevos géneros híbridos. Esta presentación girará en torno a la incidencia que la generalización masiva del uso de Internet ha tenido sobre los mecanismos tradicionales de salvaguarda de la propiedad intelectual. Concretamente, se mostrará cómo dicha incidencia tiene lugar a distintos niveles: (1) prácticas ilegales que infringen las normas de propiedad intelectual mediante el uso de hipertexto; (2) mecanismos informáticos para la protección de las normas de propiedad intelectual en la red; (3) principales instrumentos legales para la salvaguarda de la propiedad intelectual. Asimismo, esta sesión (dirigida fundamentalmente a traductores de inglés a español) se detendrá en las dificultades adicionales que este tema concreto plantea para el traductor cuando sus lenguas de trabajo presentan distintos grados de tolerancia respecto a la acuñación de neologismos y la permeabilidad de calcos.

Esta sesión estará organizada de la forma siguiente: (1) introducción a los principales instrumentos y normativas protectoras de la propiedad intelectual; (2) discusión de términos y expresiones clave; (3) aplicación a la traducción de textos (inglés>español). Los asistentes recibirán un ejemplario con vocabulario y páginas web de especial relevancia para esta materia.

Translating in Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Cases: Terminology and Cultural Discrepancies
90 minutes; Language-Spanish and English
Gabriela Meilij-Romero

This presentation will highlight the importance of good translation in anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies, legislation, and complaints. The speaker will share her experience in translating policies and bulletin board notices for private companies, complaint procedures before state and federal agencies, court documents, and investigators' reports.

U.S. anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws were drafted for an Anglo-American legal system with its accompanying socio-economic environment. Many immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries find the laws hard to understand, since they have not experienced similar opportunities to complain about offensive and discriminatory behavior within their own local legal systems. Often times, the complaint is based on words that are considered offensive and demeaning by the plaintiff when used in Spanish. Does the translator have to convey the offensive meaning in a way that the English-speaking managers, attorneys, investigators, and judges can understand, or simply translate the literal meaning? Sometimes, even in Spanish, a word may be offensive to some cultural groups but not to others. Is the translator expected to research the various meanings of one Spanish word, according to the region? These topics will be discussed during this presentation.

Handouts will include:
· Glossaries-subject-specific, English<>Spanish; Definitions in English are included.
· Actual company-issued anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies with the corresponding Spanish translation.
· Summaries of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination regulations and procedures.

Participants are encouraged to propose their own translations, making it "country-specific," if possible, in order to improve the glossaries.

Language-Neutral Presentations

French-Language Presentations

German-Language Presentations

Portuguese-Language Presentations

Russian-Language Presentations

(back to top)