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Legal Translation 2


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 that any translator faces. 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 legal system of the Netherlands and the Common-law legal systems of England and its former colonies (to complicate things: there are considerable legal and therefore also legal-linguistic differences between these systems). 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, and of the first-semester Legal Translation 1 course, is to provide you with the knowledge and skills that you need to translate legal texts from Dutch to English and vice versa. We will explore four legal situations in which the services of translators are often needed, and explore the law, translation theory, and language needed to translate the documents used in these situations. Legal Translation 2 will deal with the procedures (court documents), criminal law and contract and property law (we will study and translate the documents involved in buying and owning a house). After you have completed both courses you will have a professional starting qualification in legal translation.

Course objectives

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

  • Knowledge and understanding of methods of comparative law, insofar as these are relevant for the legal translator.

  • Ability to apply your knowledge and understanding of law and comparative legal methodology to pre-translation analysis of legal texts.

  • Enhancement of your knowledge of translation theory, in particular with regard to legal translation.

  • Ability to analyse and solve theoretical and practical translation problems.

  • Skill in translating legal texts from English to Dutch and vice versa; the translations should be marketable.

  • Further improvement of students’ oral and written proficiency in Dutch and English.

Mode of instruction

One 90-minute tutorial per week.

Course Load

The total course load is 280 hours (10 EC), allocated as follows:

  • Tutorial attendance: 26 hours.

  • Study of literature: 94 hours.

  • Preparation and discussion of assignments and annotated translations: 160 hours.

Assessment method

  • Three annotated translations (100%).


In this course, Blackboard is used to present course information, notify you of changes to the course and to make course materials available.

Reading list

  • Barker, D. (2014). Law made simple. Abingdon: Routledge.

  • Janssen, L. (2016). Nederlands recht begrepen. The Hague: Boom Juridische Uitgevers.

  • Caspel, R.D.J. van, & Klijn, C.A.W. (2012). Fockema Andreae’s juridisch woordenboek. Groningen: Noordhof

  • End, A. van den (2010). Juridisch-economisch lexicon. The legal and economic Lexicon Deventer:Kluwer or

  • Foster, T. (2009). Dutch legal terminology in English. Deventer: Kluwer

  • Garner, B.A. (2014). Black’s law dictionary. Eagan, MN: Thompson West.

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