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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 is what the legal translator often is. Then there are the fundamental differences between the Common Law and Dutch law. Legal translators have to work accurately and errors may have dire consequences. They also need to be creative, as there are very few good bilingual legal dictionaries.

The aim of this Legal Translation course is to introduce its participants to the knowledge and skills they need to translate legal texts from Dutch to English and vice versa. We will explore five legal situations in which the services of translators are often needed, and explore the texts used in these situations. These texts will eventually be translated in the Legal Translation 2 follow-up course and this will still be quite a challenge, but at least their content and function in the legal system will no longer be a mystery.

Course objectives

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

  • 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 and comparative legal methodology to pre-translation analysis of legal texts.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

  • Weblectures

  • Seminar

  • Reading List

Course Load

  • time spent on attending seminars: 12 hours

  • time spent on studying the compulsory literature: 108 hours

  • time spent on preparing for the exam and/or writea paper (including reading/research): 20 hours

Assessment Method

  • classpapers 20%

  • written test 80%


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Barker, D. (2007). Law Made Simple. Elsevier.

  • Loonstra, C.J. (2012). Hoofdlijnen Nederlands Recht. Noordhoff.

Additional texts will be made available to the course participants.


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration via Studeren à la carte
Registration via Contractonderwijs


MA Linguistics departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;