Borja Albi, Anabel and Prieto Ramos, Fernando (eds) (2013). Legal Translation in Context: Professional Issues and Prospects.
Bern, Peter Lang, pp. 315, £50.00. ISBN 978-3-0343-0284-5
To put it simply this book does precisely what the reader of its title would expect it to do. It sets the discipline of legal translation in context. The book begins with an introduction which sets out the current state of affairs with regard to legal translation. Following this, the book is logically divided into three distinct parts namely Legal Translation in the Private Sector, Legal Translation for National Public Institutions and Legal Translation at International Organisations.
The four chapters that make up part one are perhaps of particular relevance to the legal translator who works freelance. The first chapter considers the importance of comparative law as a conduit for successfully mediating between different jurisdictions and systems whilst also noting that the aims and objectives of comparative lawyers and legal translators are not necessarily of the same nature. Chapter two covers the issue of accreditation for certified or official translations, an issue which is of importance to many jurisidictions and which differs in many different legal systems.
The focus of chapter three is the challenges encountered by freelance translators who work for private companies and law firms. Here consideration is given to career development, client interaction and translation problems amongst other things. Chapter four also deals with areas of specific importance to the freelancer within the field of legal translation such as ethics, business practices and professional recognition to name but a few.
Part two of Legal Translation in Context analyses legal translation carried out for national public institutions. Chapter five considers translation for domestic courts in Europe and the USA placing emphasis on defendants’ rights and effetive communication between all parties involved in criminal proceedings. This theme is developed further in chapter six where a specific legal instrument, the letter of request is considered within the translation context. Another specific example of translation at national level is given in chapter seven whereby translation in the field of internation relations and diplomacy at the Spanish Ministry of Justice is presented. The final chapter of part two looks at methods of translation and co-drafting used to produce bilingual or multilingual translation and legislation; Canada and Switzerland are used as cases in point here.
For legal translators or lawyer-linguists interested in working at international level part three of this book provides a comprehensive overview of translation at European Union level, within the United Nations and at other international organisations such as the International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organisation. The final chapter of this part gives an insight into the technology relied upon by translators working within these organisations.
In conclusion, since this book offers a “systematic overview of the diverse professional profiles within legal translation and the wide range of communicative situations in which legal translators play their roles,” this publication should be of interest to all those interested in working in legal translation as well as those already established in this demanding and challenging field.
Sue Lilley, London Metropolitan University and City University