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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 second-semester Legal Translation 2 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 three 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. In Legal Translation 2, we will deal with law in action and translate the documents used in civil and criminal law procedures. We'll also study a procedure brought before the European Court of Human Rights. 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 your oral and written proficiency in Dutch and English.


The timetable is available on the website of the MA Linguistics.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load EC x 28 hours= hours

  • Seminars: 26 hours

  • Preparation of tutorials, assignments and annotated translations: 70 hours

  • Two written translation tests: 6 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 38 hours

Assessment method

  • Weekly assignments on comparative law and translation theory and short translations (50%).

  • Two written translation tests (one Dutch to English; one English to Dutch)

You can resit assignments that were a fail.

Exam Review

Students are entitled to view their marked examination within a period of 30 days, following publication of the results of a written examination.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Presentation of course information, notification of changes to the course, and course materials.

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

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


This has to be filled out by the key-user of the department.

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai

Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof