RSS feed


Legal translation has been present in the Journal of Specialised Translation since its early beginnings, already in Issue 1 in January 2004. The theme has reappeared throughout the journal in individual papers, as well as in a guest-edited issue by Karen Seago et al. on Crime in Translation in 2014 (Issue 24). In 2017 the Journal of Specialised Translation offers its readers another special issue on legal translation, entitled Quality in Legal Translation, guest-edited by Hendrik H.J. Kockaert and Nadia Rahab. This issue showcases the results of the EU-funded project QUALETRA, conducted by a consortium of universities, professional bodies and other stakeholders led by KU Leuven, as a response to EU Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings.

The underlying concept which binds the issue is quality — a concept which has always been at the core of research into legal translation. Above all, it is a concept which binds the theory and practice of legal translation. Prieto Ramos goes even further in recognising its driving force for practice and the academia: “The demand for quality has been a catalyst for both the recognition of legal translation as professional practice, particularly in multilingual contexts, and for the development of Legal Translation Studies (LTS)” (2015: 12).

The special issue addresses quality in legal translation from diverse angles showing its many faces. It comprises the editors’ introduction, 9 research papers, 1 contribution to the translator’s corner, and an interview. First of all, quality of legal translation is seen as a legal procedural right (Brannan, Čavoški). Secondly, it is approached at the macro level through translators (competences they require — Scarpa and Orlando), cooperation between the actors involved, including governmental agencies and courts, and their agency (Hara). Thirdly, quality may be viewed through translation resources, such as multilingual legal databases (Chiocchetti et al.). Next quality is researched at the micro textual level of translation solutions (Paolucci, Ross and Magris, Krogsgaard Vesterager), as well as their evaluation and assessment (Kockaert and Segers, Phelan). Finally, it is addressed in terms of research quality (interview with Engberg).

Overall, this special issue attests to the centrality of legal translation to specialised translation and to the academic development and methodological refinement of Legal Translation Studies as a discipline.

  • Prieto Ramos, Fernando (2015). “Quality Assurance in Legal Translation: Evaluating Process, Competence and Product in the Pursuit of Adequacy.” International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 28, 11-30.

Łucja Biel