Developing Generic Competence in Legal Translation Trainees

Main Article Content

Ondřej Klabal


This paper addresses the notion of legal genres and text types from a classroom perspective. It presents several classifications of legal texts developed for legal translation (training) purposes and a critical reflextion thereof. Drawing on the classifications, the paper discusses what the rationale behind text selection in legal translation training should be, and why certain texts are more suitable than others in this respect, depending on the length and level of training. This is followed by a series of exercises designed to raise register and genre awareness in legal translation trainees. The exercises focus on the (a)symmetry of legal genres across languages and legal systems as well as the macrostructure of certain genres.

Article Details

How to Cite
Klabal, O. “Developing Generic Competence in Legal Translation Trainees”. Linguaculture, vol. 14, no. 2, Dec. 2023, pp. 187-08, doi:10.47743/lincu-2023-2-0325.
Specialised Genres in Translation
Author Biography

Ondřej Klabal, Palacky University Olomouc

Having a background both in languages and law, Ondřej KLABAL, Ph.D. is a researcher and senior lecturer in legal translation, legal terminology and interpreting studies at the Department of English and American Studies and Department of Romance Studies, Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic. Ondřej is also involved in the training of Czech would-be court interpreters and translators and teaches legal English courses both for lawyers and translators. Ondřej’s doctoral dissertation focused on legal translation training. To complement his academic activities, Ondřej is also a professional legal translator and court interpreter working with Czech, English and Spanish.


Alcaraz Varó, Enrique, and Brian Hughes. Legal Translation Explained. Manchester, St. Jerome, 2002.

Balogh, Dorka. “The Role of Genres and Text Selection in Legal Translator Training.” Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, vol. 58, no. 71, 2019, pp. 17–34.

Bázlik, Miroslav, and Ada Böhmerová. Legal English and Its Lexical and Grammatical Structure for Czech Lawyers and Translators: A Proficiency-Level Coursebook Ideal for Both Classroom and Self-Study. 2nd edition, Prague, Wolters Kluwer, 2019.

Bhatia, Vijay K. Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-Based View. London, Continuum, 2004.

Bhatia, Vijay K. “Legal Genres.” Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, edited by Keith Brown, 2nd edition, vol. 7, Boston, Elsevier, 2006, pp. 1–7.

Biel, Łucja. “Professional Realism in the legal Translation Classroom: Translation Competence and Translator Competence.” Meta: Translators’ Journal vol. 56, no. 1, 2011, pp. 162–78.

Borja Albi, Anabel. El texto jurídico inglés y su traducción al español. Barcelona, Ariel, 2000.

Borja Albi, Anabel. “Organización del conocimiento para la traducción jurídica a través de sistemas expertos basados en el concepto de género textual.” El género textual y la traducción: Reflexiones teóricas y aplicaciones pedagógicas, edited by Isabel García Izquierdo, Bern, Peter Lang, 2005, pp. 37–68.

Borja Albi, Anabel. “A Genre Analysis Approach to the Study of the Translation of Court Documents.” Linguistica Antverpiensia: New Series – Themes in Translation Studies, no. 12, 2013, pp. 33–53.

Borja Albi, Anabel, and Amparo Hurtado Albir. “Didáctica de la traducción jurídica.” Enseñar a traducir: Metodología en la formación de traductores e intérpretes, edited by Amparo Hurtado Albir, Madrid, Edelsa, 1999, pp. 154-166.

Cao, Deborah. Translating Law. Clevedon, Multilingual Matters, 2007.

Chesterman, Andrew. Memes of Translation: The Spread of Ideas in Translation Theory. Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 1997.

Chromá, Marta. Právní překlad v teorii a praxi: Nový občanský zákoník. Prague, Karolinum, 2014.

Falzoi, Carmen. “Consideraciones teóricas para la elaboración de un proyecto didáctico de la traducción jurídica.” Revista de Lenguas para Fines Específicos, no. 10, 2003, pp. 99–114.

Ferran Larraz, Elena. “El traductor jurídico y la intertextualidad: El ordenamiento jurídico como contexto comunicativo-documental del documento de partita.” Quaderns: Revista de traducció, no. 13, 2016, pp. 155–68.

Galán-Mañas, Anabel. “Contrastive Rhetoric in Teaching How to Translate Legal Texts.” Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, vol. 21, no. 3, 2013, pp. 311–28.

Gámez, Ruth, and Fernando Cuñado. “Los tipos de textos en la traducción jurídica.” Traducción jurídica. 2009. Web. 30 June 2023.

Goźdź-Roszkowski, Stanisław. “The Role of Generic Competence and Professional Expertise in Legal Translation: The Case of English and Polish Probate Documents.” Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, vol. 45, no. 58, 2016, pp. 51–67.

Jasenská, Anna. “Kontrastivní analýza pracovní smlouvy v angličtině a češtině z hlediska překladu.” Bachelor’s thesis, Palacký University Olomouc, 2017.

Klabal, Ondřej. “Quality Assurance in Translating National Legislation: The Case of Czech Companies and Cooperatives Act.” Czech and Slovak Linguistic Review, nos. 1–2, 2017, pp. 87–104.

Künnecke, Martina. “English as Common Legal Language: Its Expansion and the Effects on Civil Law and Common Law Lawyers.” European Review of Private Law, vol. 24, no. 5, 2016, pp. 733–57.

Kurzon, Dennis. “Legal Language: Varieties, Genres, Registers, Discourses.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics, no. 7, 1997, pp. 119–39.

Lunn, Rob. “Translating Notary Terms 4: Is ‘Deed’ a Good Translation for escritura pública?” Rob Lunn Legal Trans. 2019. Web. 30 June 2023.

Marek, Karel. 2015. “K úvěru a zápůjčce.” Bulletin advokacie.

Mayoral Asensio, Roberto. “Cuánto derecho debe saber el traductor jurídico?” La traducción y la interpretación en las relaciones jurídicas internacionales, edited by Esther Monzó and Anabel Borja, Castellón, Universitat Jaime I, 2005, pp. 107–12.

Monjean-Decaudin, Sylvie, and Joëlle Popineau-Lauvray. “How to Apply Comparative Law to Legal Translation.” Research Methods in Legal Translation and Interpreting: Crossing Methodological Boundaries, edited by Łucja Biel, Jan Engberg, Rosario Martín Ruano, and Vilelmini Sosoni, Abingdon, Routledge, 2019, pp. 115–29.

Montalt Ressurrecció, Vicent, Pilar Ezpeleta Piorno, and Isabel García Izquierdo. “The Acquisition of Translation Competence through Textual Genre.” Translation Journal, vol. 12, no. 4, 2008. Web. 30 June 2023.

Orts Llopis, María Ángeles. “Legal Genres in English and Spanish: Some Attempts of Analysis.” Ibérica, no. 18, 2009, pp. 119–30.

Oxford University Press. “Contract for Work Done and Materials Supplied.” Oxford Reference. Web. 30 June 2023.

Pontrandolfo, Gianluca. “Aproximación gradual a la traducción jurídica: Un recorrido didáctico.” Journal of Specialised Translation, no. 26, 2016, pp. 50–71.

Prieto Ramos, Fernando. “Interdisciplinariedad y ubicación macrotextual en traducción jurídica.” Translation Journal, vol. 13, no. 4, 2009. Web. 30 June 2023.

Prieto Ramos, Fernando. “Parameters for Problem-Solving in Legal Translation: Implications for Legal Lexicography and Institutional Terminology Management.” The Ashgate Handbook of Legal Translation, edited by Le Cheng, King Kui Sin, and Anne Wagner, Farnham, Ashgate, 2014, pp. 121–34.

Prieto Ramos, Fernando. “Implications of Text Categorisation for Corpus-Based Legal Translation Research: The Case of International Institutional Settings.” Research Methods in Legal Translation and Interpreting: Crossing Methodological Boundaries, edited by Łucja Biel, Jan Engberg, Rosario Martín Ruano, and Vilelmini Sosoni, Abingdon, Routledge, 2019, pp. 29–47.

Puig, Roberto. “Enseñanza y evaluación de la traducción jurídica.” Anales de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales, vol. 47, no. 14, 2017, pp. 886–904.

Rogers, Margaret. Specialised Translation: Shedding the “Non-literary” Tag. Houndmills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

Scott, Juliette R. Legal Translation Outsourced. Oxford University Press, 2019.

Soriano-Barabino, Guadalupe. Comparative Law for Legal Translators. Oxford, Peter Lang, 2016.

Šarčević, Susan. New Approach to Legal Translation. Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1997.

Tiersma, Peter. Legal Language. University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Trosborg, Anna. Rhetorical Strategies in Legal Language: Discourse Analysis of Statutes and Contracts. Tübingen, Gunter Narr, 1997.

Trosborg, Anna. “Text Typology: Register, Genre and Text Type.” Text Typology and Translation, edited by Anna Trosborg, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 1997, pp. 3–24.

Vogt, Nedim Peter, and Jens Drolshammer. “English as the Language of Law and the 2005 Swiss Law Bibliography.” LeGes, vol. 19, no. 2, 2007, pp. 229–38.

Way, Catherine. “Structuring Specialized Translation Courses: A Hit and Miss Affair?” In Developing Translation Competence, edited by Christina Schäffner and Beverly Adab, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2000, pp. 131–42.

Way, Catherine. “The Challenges and Opportunities of Legal Translation and Translator Training in the 21st Century.” International Journal of Communication, no. 10, 2016, pp. 1009–29.

Wiggers, Willem J. H. Drafting Contracts: Techniques, Best Practice Rules and Recommendations Related to Contract Drafting. Hague, Wolters Kluwer, 2011.