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Legal Translation 1


Admission requirements

This course is open only to students registered for the Translation in Theory and Practice specialization.


Translating legal texts is a difficult, but fascinating exercise. The legal translator has to overcome the same problems confronting any translator. But in addition, legal texts are often complicated and difficult to understand for the layman, which the legal translator often is. Then there are the fundamental differences between Anglo-American law and that of the European Continent. Legal translators have to work accurately and errors may have dire consequences. The translator also needs to be creative, as many Dutch legal terms cannot be found in a dictionary.
The aim of this first part of the Legal Translation specialization course (the second part is offered in the Spring Semester) is to provide its participants with the knowledge and skills they need to translate legal texts from Dutch to English and vice versa. The teaching consists of mini lectures and tutorials. In the lectures, we draw a comparison between the legal systems of the Netherlands and England and Wales and the United States, insofar as this comparison is relevant for legal translators. Furthermore, participants are introduced to the stylistics of legal texts.
In the tutorials, students will bring their newly-acquired knowledge and skills into practice in a number of short assignments. Furthermore, they will explore and work with translation tools.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and understanding of the law of the Netherlands, the United States, and England and Wales, insofar as this is relevant for the legal translator

  • Knowledge of legal stylistics

  • Knowledge and understanding of methods of comparative law, insofar as this is relevant for the legal translator

  • Ability to apply one’s knowledge and understanding of law, stylistics and comparative law to pre-translation analysis of legal texts

  • Ability to research translation problems with the reference tools relevant for the legal translator

Mode of instruction

2-hour weekly seminar

Assessment method

  • Presentations and class participation (25%)

  • Average mark of the short written assignments (25%)

  • Written test (50%)



Reading list

  • Barker, D.L.A. (2007). Law made simple. Oxford: Elsevier.

  • Loonstra, C.J. (2012). Hoofdlijnen Nederlands recht. Groningen: Noordhoff.

  • Reader with texts and assignments on Blackboard.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs