from French and Dutch to English

Conveying the intention

Legal translation

Translation is all about conveying in the target language the intentions in the source text.

For a translation in a specialised field, that also means making sure the terminology is accurate.

But accuracy can depend on context. How do we render “faillissementsprocedure” in English? It’s “bankruptcy procedure”, right? Or is it “bankruptcy proceedings”?

The answer is, it depends. If the focus in the original is on the overall phenomenon or a particular case, “proceedings” can work. But if the original is picking apart the details of a legal framework, for instance, “procedure” may be the better choice.

Making the best choices often involves “listening” for the intentions in the original, and being judicious in rendering them. Flexibility is key.

One element is non-negotiable: the final result has to sound native, no matter how specialised the terminology. And that means no translationese.

I use Memsource, a first-rate translator’s workbench that learns from my translations as I go. It has a great quality-assurance feature that checks for consistency throughout—one more reason I can stand behind my work.

To see samples of my legal translations, please visit the samples page.

Other translation

Translating across a range of fields and disciplines, as I do, requires a combination of modesty—I’m not an expert in any technical field—and a certain kind of authority: I need to know where to go to look for a specialised term in English, and to be able to tell when I’ve found a good fit (and when I haven’t yet).

In addition to the legal translations I’ve been focusing on recently, I’ve translated or revised a whole range of materials from various fields: marketing materials, scientific texts, engineering specifications, language-school websites, and theatre reviews—you name it.

To see examples of my translation work, check out the samples page.