Translation of ancient Chinese legal texts ‘as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls’

The University of California Santa Barbara has issued the following press release:

UCSB History Scholar Translates and Interprets Ancient Chinese Legal Texts

In an ancient tomb in China’s Hubei Province, archeologists discovered a basket of medical, mathematical, and legal texts that date back to the late third and early second centuries B.C. A historian at UC Santa Barbara is working to translate and interpret the legal texts, of which there are two, and describes them as “a gold mine of social and legal history.”

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Taniguchi case outcome – A good or a bad thing for justice?

Following on from my February post about the US Supreme Court case differentiating translation costs and interpretation costs, today we have a second thought-provoking guest post from Tony Rosado (see his earlier post here). In addition to discussing the outcome of the case, he also gives some very good advice on how to deal with its aftermath.

Tony has been a freelance conference interpreter for almost 30 years and is Federally, Colorado, and New Mexico certified. He also qualified as an attorney from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City. You may also be interested in his English/Spanish blog. Tony runs Rosado Professional Solutions in Chicago.

“After watching many of our colleagues celebrating because the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the definition of an interpreter in the Taniguchi case, and more importantly, after reviewing the briefs, oral arguments, full written decision, and the dissenting opinion by Justice Ginsburg, I wonder if this decision should be cause for joy or grounds for concern.

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Translating through the fog

The other day I came across this nice clean web-based tool which calculates the Gunning Fog readability score for a piece of text. Just for fun, I put a few sentences from a translation I was then doing (on VAT legislation!) into the tool. It came up with scores ranging between 23 and 29.4 depending on the sentences I chose.

Gunning Fog is not the only readability indicator – others include Flesch-Kincaid, SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook), and Coleman-Liau.  A comprehensive article by Ronald & Ruth Reck describes a number of them in detail. There are also lots of simple online tools available.

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When we are asked to translate useless materials…

A thought-provoking guest post today from Tony Rosado, of Rosado Professional Solutions in Chicago. Tony has been a freelance conference interpreter for almost 30 years and is Federally, Colorado, and New Mexico certified. He also qualified as an attorney from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City. You may also be interested in his English/Spanish blog.

Over to you, Tony!

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Translation of national legislation

In connection with a recent Law Library of Congress event which I hope to report on more fully soon, the Library has released an excellent new publication in PDF form, Translation of National Legislation into English (click on the title to download). This guide, prepared by the staff of the Law Library’s Global Legal Research Center, is a reference tool for locating translated materials from thirteen nations: Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and the Russian Federation; international organizations; and international courts and tribunals .

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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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Conference – ‘Those Who Can, Teach’: Translation, Interpreting and Training

Saturday 10 November 2012
(date changed from Saturday 3 November)
University of Portsmouth, UK

These are challenging times for translator and interpreter training. The past 40 years have seen big changes in translator training with a shift towards greater professionalization, an explosion in the number of courses, and also a shift towards lifelong learning and continuing professional development. Translator training has also moved, in part, out of the seminar room into the virtual teaching environment. The industry and student professional needs are also changing very fast. Continue reading

Collaboration or exploitation?

Something rather controversial for you today. The video presentation below discusses book digitization, use of crowd resources, and translation by non-professionals concurrently with language learning.

I think that the lawyers reading this will have plenty to say about various legal issues here, not to mention translators’ opinions.
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Conference – Comparative law: Engaging translation

The Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law invites participation in an international conference entitled “Comparative Law: Engaging Translation” to be held at Kent Law School, Canterbury, UK on 21-22 June 2012.

The conference’s main assumption is that the question of comparative law is through and through one of translation. Yet, even in today’s globalised world where the need to communicate beyond borders arises in ways that are possibly unprecedented, most comparatists, for reasons which participants will want to explore, continue not to address the issue of translation as it pertains to comparative law.

This conference seeks to attract critical and interdisciplinary papers that will draw on fields such as translation studies, linguistics, literary theory, sociology, philosophy or postcolonial studies in order to analyse the central role of translation in comparative law.

Click here to access the call for papers and further details on the conference.

Access to legal translation and interpreting

Fair Trials International and five other NGOs (Amnesty International, the Open Society Justice Initiative, JUSTICE, the European Criminal Bar Association and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties) have criticised the UK and Irish Governments for their stance on a new law on access to legal advice.

Read the Fair Trials article here.

Read the European Directive of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings by clicking here.