This may seem an odd choice for someone who works on more creative topics. But the truth is I enjoy a change every now and then. And translating contracts is certainly a different beast. Gone is my ability to play around with the style to my heart’s content.
Not having any prior training in the legal profession, I’ve had to learn about contracts and the terminology they contain. Which for a knowledge sponge such as myself has been great fun.
So just what have I done to learn about contracts and their terminology?
Back in 2011 I attended a one-day workshop on English contracts for translators delivered by UK solicitor David Hutchins. This was a very useful overview of the key clauses and concepts in English contract law.
And more recently I took part in a webinar on contract terminology presented by the guru of contract drafting, Kenneth A. Adams. This gave me invaluable insight into the correct usage of legal terminology in English contracts. I will (shall?) never look at the word shall in the same way again…
And of course I’ve invested in some of the legal dictionaries used by legal translators. For example the Council of Europe French-English Legal Dictionary.
But as Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”, and to keep the flame alive I recently completed another course, this time in French.
Rédaction de contrats was an online course provided by Coursera, the provider of free online courses from some of the world’s top universities. The course was delivered by Sylvain Marchand, a law professor at the University of Geneva.
The course lasted six weeks and covered all of the major elements included in an international commercial contract. Taught in French, it focused on contracts written in both French and English speaking countries.
The course was exactly what I was looking for. It offered insights into the differences between French and UK (or civil and common law). And what this means when drafting contracts in French that are to be used in an international (English-speaking) setting.
I was also able to build a 2,000 word glossary based on the 30+ video lectures presented by Professor Marchand.
And the course itself was graded, with a test after each week of lectures. Being an assiduous type, I passed with flying colours, and am now the proud holder
I would definitely recommend this course to other translators looking for a course on French commercial contracts. Or any other knowledge sponges out there.