METM16 presentation 

Translations – the international lawyer's tale  

Christopher Lee, Barcelona, Spain  

The key to good Spanish-to-English legal translations is that an English solicitor reading an English-language translation will find that the text makes sense with a use of vocabulary familiar to that solicitor and that the sense matches the original meaning. On the basis of my experience as an English solicitor working with translated documents in Spain, I will address common misapprehensions (such as why a procurador is not a barrister and why joint tenancy has nothing to do with rental agreements) and frequent doubts (e.g. solicitor or barrister, licence or license, statutes or memorandum and articles of association). I will briefly discuss the importance of translation review by qualified lawyers and of hiring native speakers of the target language. The acceptability of improvements on the original text will be specifically considered. I will provide examples of proceedings requiring document translations, points to consider to ensure that the translation is fit for purpose and comment on an alternative gisting service in which a document is summarised rather than translated in full. Additionally, some tips and considerations will be offered for interpreters working in court or at business meetings. This presentation should benefit anyone who translates legal documents or works in courts or in negotiations or meetings involving legal arrangements, as well as language professionals involved in commissioning such work. Examples will mostly involve Spanish-to-English translation (and vice versa) but the points raised will be generally relevant to all.

Christopher Lee is a qualified English Solicitor and registered as a European Community Lawyer with the Barcelona Bar (no. 007). After practising in London for 7 years, he moved to Barcelona in 1992. His law firm, Doménech Abogados, which he founded in 1994 together with his wife, Margarita Doménech, specializes in private international law, dealing with matters that include divorce, family and child law, international child abduction, wills and successions, residential property, civil and criminal litigation and taxation. Doménech Abogados acts all over Spain. Christopher is a member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and has served as its national vice-president, Barcelona president and national secretary. He is also an elected fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and a member of the International Bar Association.