SML8001 : Fundamentals of Legal Translation

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module aims to equip students with an understanding of core concepts and practices in legal translation, and to develop their knowledge, skills and techniques in tackling practical problems in undertaking translation for legal purposes. By familiarising students with perspectives of comparative law and aspects of translating legal texts, including terminology, style and text typology as well as with necessary tools, resources and methods, the module seeks to offer students an insight into what is involved in legal translation, preparing them for work or further study in the area. Adopting a research-informed, interdisciplinary approach, this module helps students to link theoretical framework in legal translation to practical problems and solutions to them. It also encourages them to reflect critically upon their translation practices and to engage in discussions about issues of law and culture, legal systems, and functional equivalence.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Key issues in legal translation
•       Comparative legal system and theories of comparative studies
•       Linguistic features of legal texts
•       Translation of legal terminology
•       Typology of legal texts
•       Legal speech acts
•       Legal translation: challenges, approaches and strategies
•       Legal translation and technology: tools, resources and corpus-assisted legal translation
•       The profession(s) of legal translators

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion122:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading122:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0022:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures associated with this module provide students with an insight into theoretical aspects and key principles of legal translation. Seminars involve students in discussions about core readings that are assigned in advance. They also require students to apply theories presented in lectures to practical analysis of a range of legal texts. This small-group teaching method will be used to strengthen close reading skills involved in understanding legal genres and will enhance students’ understanding of legal writings and raise their awareness of more complex linguistic features commonly used in legal discourse. The practical workshop uses engagement with concrete examples to create structured involvement with issues involved in legal translation, and provides students with hands-on experience in using computers for online resources and tools. We value independent learning and at times take a flipped classroom approach, providing materials in advance and expecting students to come fully prepared, and so there might be fewer contact hours.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A100Submission of an essay 1800-2000 words at the end of the module
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MRequired to submit a writing of a commentary of 600-800 words to reflect upon their translation practice of a legal text of choice
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative assessment is designed to assess students’ reflection ability of their own translation practice that involves applying theories to real-life assignments. Students are asked to choose a 500-word legal text and translate it into another language. The choice is to be agreed by the module leader and lecturers to make sure it contains sufficient expertise. The translated text will not be assessed, but students need to reflect, evaluate and critique their own translation in relation to the challenges encountered and solutions produced. This assessment tests students’ knowledge of the area that has been introduced in the module and their skills in completing real-life assignments and their reflective learning ability.
The summative assessment in the form of an essay is focused on assessing the students’ critical, evaluative, analytical and research skills. Students are asked to work on one of the essay questions related to the themes covered in the module. They are expected to explore further based on the relevant literature.

Reading Lists