Interpretation versus translation at the US Supreme Court

I think that most people reading this will agree that interpretation (or interpreting) is not the same as translation. However, outside the strict circle of the profession, the difference is not so well known.

Today we shall see how this distinction is causing a real furore!

The US Supreme Court is currently deliberating over whether costs of translation differ from costs of interpretation, in a case involving a Japanese man. Indeed the transcript of last Tuesday’s session goes into great detail. It’s 63 pages long (perhaps demonstrating the complexity of the issues involved), but well worth reading if the issue piques your interest.

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Tenacious Teflon®

I think you might find this very witty post on the So Meta blog, After DuPont bans Teflon® from WordNet, the world is their non-sticky oyster, amusing (or possibly sad).

It involves the giant DuPont that has threatened WordNet, an open-source database of the English language, with legal action because it wasn’t happy with the entry concerning Teflon®.

WordNet, based at Princeton University, provides data for researchers in many fields. It is not a commercial undertaking.

Here are some questions for you. Was WordNet right to capitulate and change the entry? Did DuPont have legal standing to threaten action anyway? (see Dr Butters’ comment at the end of the So Meta post) How much responsibility does a lexicographer have for entries they provide?

Brought to my attention by Dr Tim Grant at Aston among others.

Another excellent Spanish legal dictionary

This week is proving to have a distinctly hispanophone flavour. That has had me dreaming about tapas of course… hoping to indulge on a possible work trip to Madrid in the near future.

Anyway, back to dictionaries. This recently published work was brought to my attention by Professor Esther Monzó at University Jaume I (Spain). She thoroughly recommends it, having had personal experience of the original glossaries.

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English-Spanish / Spanish-English legal dictionaries

Today I am delighted to tell you about two Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionaries of Mexican and US legal terminology. They were kindly brought to my attention by their author, Javier F. Becerra.

It is important to stress that the dictionaries not only provide translations of legal concepts, but also include explanations of such concepts in the target language and in some cases examples of use.

Javier studied law at the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City and after graduating in 1967, undertook postgraduate studies in England, in the field of comparative law at Cambridge University, as a member of Trinity College. He worked for more than 40 years with a leading Mexico City law firm, first as an associate and then as partner and managing partner.

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Reminder – Twitter moot tomorrow!

As you may remember, a little while ago I posted some information about the world’s first ever Twitter moot – click here to read more.

Well, it’s almost here already! It should start at 10 am Pacific Standard Time tomorrow, Tuesday 21st February 2012, which will be 7 pm Central European Time, if I’m not mistaken. My poor brain cannot work out what that will be for those of you in Australia, but I’m sure you can!

Poll results – How about inviting a lawyer?

As promised, dear readers, here are the results of the poll to find out who is reading this blog. A big thank you to everyone that participated!

We have a nice range of people from different areas, and it’s very interesting to see that lots of you have several roles – just like me!

If we want to build those bridges I keep talking about, I think it would be good to have some more input from more people who are legal professionals only. What do you think?

How about inviting a lawyer you know?

What exactly is forensic linguistics?

This post tries to collect together a few definitions of a subject that is in the news more and more often – forensic linguistics.

The 2010 publication The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics states, in its introduction: “Forensic Linguistics is the study of language and the law, covering topics from legal language and courtroom discourse to plagiarism. It also concerns the applied (forensic) linguist who is involved in providing evidence, as an expert, for the defence and prosecution, in areas as diverse as blackmail, trademarks and warning labels.

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