Your Translation - Dutch Lawyer/Linguist


Translation is a passion and a profession. Probably in that order. Translators are often trained in other professions before they start translating, which is certainly true for me. I studied law and later worked as a marine engineer before starting my translator training.


Developments in translation and my activities - transcreation

The use of tools such as Machine Translation and Google Translate lead to a shift in emphasis - I actually enjoy the fact that I am more often asked to edit texts and to be creative localising marketing and website texts. I translate these texts from Spanish and English into Dutch, my native language. This is sometimes called transcreation - adapting the style and register to the targeted audience. A good example is the Dutch version of the Spanish website for Gran Canaria. Where a Spanish description can be "over the top", the Dutch version needs to be more "subtle".

The nice thing of being a translator is that you get to translate about recent developments in business. One of my larger projects was for a company offering Information Management Services - from warehousing physical paper documents to back-up tapes and managing and digitising incoming data flows and how to take advantage of "Big Data".

The GDPR coming into force also meant I translated many privacy policies. Checking the GDPR more closely, I found a mistranslation, which is now corrected:


Technical translation

I find it very important to understand what I am translating. If we are talking about an engine or a machine in a factory, I put myself in the place of the engineer or the operator working on it. Would I understand it? If there are problems with the original manual (the source text) I always ask my clients. Nothing is worse than an ambiguous instruction in a manual which is then repeated in all the translated manuals. An added difficulty in technical translation is consistency throughout the translations. One concept, a specific tool, an engine part, may be correctly translated by four different words. Each manufacturer tends to have its own terminology. Luckily, we have translation memory tools to be able to ensure consistency throughout the translation.  


Legal texts

Legal texts are even more of a challenge. Specific legal concepts may exist in one language but not in the other language. Unfortunately, legal translation between Dutch and English does not have the resources that are available between Spanish and English. The same difficulties arise: a common law system and a civil law system are bound to work with different concepts that are not easy or impossible to translate. An example of such a concept is the Dutch 'ontbinding' of a contract. Possible translations are: termination, rescission, dissolution, setting aside. The best translation may depend on the context and the actual concept, i.e. in court (employment contract) or out of court.


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