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Book review: Guide pratique de la traduction juridique (F. Houbert)

08 July 2019 - by Helene Walters-Steinberg

Frédéric Houbert’s Guide pratique de la traduction juridique is intended for university students and translation professionals. It provides a clear overview of issues related to legal translation and includes an index, a glossary and a detailed bibliography.

In the first part of the book, Frédéric Houbert presents the main characteristics of legal language in English and in French and the specificities of legal translation from English to French. In the second part, entitled “Culture and legal translation”, he focuses on specific topics such as the translation of culture-bound terms and  the translation of film titles containing legal expressions, . Finally, the last section of the book, is a selection of 16 legal documents translated with commentary, providing a practical illustration of the points mentioned in the rest of the book.

I very much enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to all those who are interested in legal translation from English to French or French to English. Its practical focus, with the commented translations at the end of the book and the many examples provided for each point, makes it quite suited to translation professionals who are starting to specialise in the field of legal translation or who would like to refresh their knowledge on the topic. Application exercises are provided at the end of each chapter, although unfortunately the answers are not provided, which reduces their utility somewhat.

The author has also compiled an excellent dictionary, which is a good addition to this volume. While the Guide pratique de la traduction juridique sheds some light on the complexities of legal translation and culture, the Dictionnaire de terminologie juridique works as a quick reference for legal terms and concepts, as it provides numerous explanations with translation suggestions.

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