Reporting from Brussels – Translation Studies Days, part 4

In this fourth and final part of my report from Brussels on the Translation Studies Days held on 20 & 21 September 2012, I’d like to present four projects from members of the European Master’s in Translation (EMT) research network, and the European Comparable and Parallel Corpora research group project.

Analysis of the legislation on the right to translation and interpreting in criminal proceedings in the European Union and the adoption of the new European Directive (Spain, France, Belgium and Luxemburg)

Araceli Rojo Chacón, an MA graduate from the University of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain, presented her study, and highlighted heterogenous access to the profession and training, and a lack of regulation. Regarding suggestions for improvement, Ms Chacón mentioned the following key issues: being informed of or preferably provided with documents on the case, and giving breaks to interpreters.

For those who are interested, especially readers from outside Europe, here is a link to European Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, and here is a summary.

Legal (criminal law) terminology: Design and creation of a trilingual ontological glossary (Spanish-Romanian-English)

Bianca Vitalaru, a PhD student also from the University of Alcalá de Henares, specializes in Wikis and collaborative work in terminological contexts. Her project involves a trilingual corpus, and was designed using maps of legal concepts and ontologies, which has led to the production of a termbase using the same conceptual and ontological structure. Examples of categories used include procedures, phases, judicial bodies, regulations, types of crime, and types of punishment, to name but a few. Looking forward to the publication of this work – sounds very interesting.

Terminological Equivalence in European, British and Italian Criminal Law Texts: A Case Study on Victims of Crime

Katia Peruzzo, a PhD student from the University of Trieste, summarized her project as “How do legal terms behave in context?”. She has created an ad hoc EU corpus, divided into two parts (EU>EN and EU>IT) with around half a million words each, which includes 3 types of documents: judicial (e.g. opinions, judgments), non-legally binding texts (e.g. reports, proposals), and legally binding texts (e.g. decisions, directives).

Using software, she identified candidate terms, carried out a conceptual analysis, selected certain terms from national texts, once again analyzed the concepts to see whether the terms meant the same thing, and finally recorded the terms in a term bank. Having looked, from the translator‘s perspective, at what features legal translation-oriented termbases need, and also using conceptual relationships, she then produced a termbase with a KISS+S interface – Keep It Short and Simple and as Specific as possible 🙂 to include her findings.

Information provided for each term includes: area of law, concept field, part of speech, usage, region of use, style, grammar and legal system. Personally I can’t wait for this project to be published – it sounds not only rigorous in preparation and very well structured, but of great use to translators in practice.

Concordancing software in practice: an investigation of translation problems across EU official languages

Once again of great value to practicing translators, in particular those working in-house at EU institutions, is Paola Valli‘s project. She is also a PhD student from the University of Trieste, and she has examined searches made by translators when using a multilingual concordance tool called EURAMIS.

A very large number of search queries (collected from the tool’s logs) were interpreted in terms of information needs, i.e. translation problems that translators were attempting to solve using the tool. The research project seeks to determine both type and nature of searches, whether translation problems vary across different language pairs, and the kinds of relationship linking them.

The European Comparable and Parallel Corpora (ECPC) research group

María Calzada Pérez, Professor at Universitat Jaume I, in Castellón de la Plana, Spain, the coordinator of the research group, made a fantastic presentation of the ECPC project. We listeners were just disappointed that the time allotted to her was extremely short. The project compares and contrasts parliamentary speeches from different European Chambers with a corpus-based methodology and infrastructure (developed within the group). The Chambers include: the European Parliament, the British Parliament, the Spanish Congreso de los Diputados and the Irish Dáil Éireann. The group’s aim is to:

  • align original and translate speeches in English and Spanish from the European Parliament (“parallel corpora”).
  • study European Parliament corpora and also speeches delivered at the other parliaments in search of concordances and other similar kinds of data (“comparable corpora”).
  • develop (aligning and concordancing) on-line tools to be used by the research community free of charge.


Professor Perez promised that the material would be made public very soon!


Among various comments made by the panel, that space does not allow me to report on here, Prof. Dr Frieda Steurs, from Lessius University, Antwerp, Belgium announced a new project to be funded by DG Justice on quality in legal translation. Its aims will include:

  • an impact assessment of the 2010 Directive (see earlier in this post for more details)
  • priority on practical results
  • developing models for legal practitioners to interact effectively with legal translators
  • a focus on legal translation as opposed to interpreting which has been the subject of other projects
  • a case study of the European Arrest Warrant.

Project partners include all members of EMT and CIUTI, and EULITA (the European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association), as well as legal bodies.


You might also be interested in the other parts of this report: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Also, several of the above projects refer to ‘corpora’ – if you want to find out more see this post on What exactly is corpus linguistics?

7 thoughts on “Reporting from Brussels – Translation Studies Days, part 4

  1. Excellent reporting as always. Thanks so much for providing a glimpse of these interesting conferences. I only wish that I could get over there more often in order to attend personally.

  2. Pingback: Reporting from Brussels – Translation Studies Days, part 1 « From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

  3. Pingback: Reporting from Brussels – Translation Studies Days, part 2 « From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

  4. Pingback: Reporting from Brussels – Translation Studies Days, part 3 « From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

  5. Pingback: Translating Europe Days 2013, Brussels | From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

  6. Pingback: Stop press – English translation of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure | From Words to Deeds: translation & the law

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