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Uncomplicating People's Lives



Raise your hand if you don´t have a weak spot and you don´t have a professional area that you would like to develop or improve upon. Me? The famous, yet feared by many, area known as Legal English. For more than 20 years I have been translating medical documents, but because of one of those unexpected occurrences which, by their very nature, catches people by surprise, I ended up in Switzerland, where I started my career as a conference interpreter. Each market has its own characteristics and the majority of the work done here takes place in the international institutions and organizations with their headquarters in Geneva. In spite of the conferences ́ rich wealth of diplomatic terminology, it is impossible to escape from the use of legalese, which permeates documents, lectures and speeches. As the expression alludes to, a “comfort zone” is that area in our professional lives that gives us a sense of security, where we believe that we are doing an impeccable piece of work and this is being done with ease. Who doesn't like comfort? I do. However, in order to develop in a professional way, we need to leave our so-called comfort zone and accept new challenges, because these will allow us to grow as professionals and human beings. As I don ́t have a solid grounding in law outside of the general, day to day knowledge that any citizen in the world has, my major difficulty has always been in trying to find surgical precision-esque translations for any legal term. Maybe this is connected to my need to find an exact equivalent in a dictionary or technical, legal glossary. Different to medical texts, is it very difficult to translate legal texts through just using glossaries and technical dictionaries. Listen, I am not saying that the translation of medical documents is easy. It isn´t. However, broadly speaking, it is possible to find an exact translation without having to be a specialist in philosophy, anatomy, endocrinology, surgery or using a good, technical dictionary. So, legal translation go beyond this. It is necessary to understand how the legal system works in the source and target language. One needs to make parallels and find equivalents in order to produce a text which makes sense to the reader. The Uncomplicating Legal English course, which has been carefully and meticulously designed and is presided over by Bruna Marchi, does exactly this. It is not simply a legal translation course, but it is a veritable comparative law course. The lessons are given by qualified teachers in both areas namely law and translation and the course is divided into different modules. Currently and in relation to the first course in the module, I have been studying the structure of the judicial systems in Brazil and the United States of America and I have to confess that it has ignited my desire to go back to university to study law. I have learnt, amongst other things, that those Hollywood courtroom dramas that we watch on Netflix only ever take place in the lower courts rather than in the appellate courts. It might appear to be silly, but many people don't know this. Now I know. I have also learnt about the different courts that have become famous, at least for me, due to Operation Carwash. Speaking of which, the Uncomplicating classes were essential for preparing me to work at the most important event in my career, which was the World Economic Forum in Davos where I had the privilege to interpret into English a speech given by the Brazilian Justice Minister. Classes are given via an on-line application called Zoom, with participants from different locations. My class, for example, has people from Brasília, São Paulo and me, directly from Switzerland. If, for whatever reason, a student cannot make a class, the course administrators will ensure that a recording of the class is available, so that it can be watched at another time and, this way, no one misses out. The Uncomplicating team also uses the on-line platform Google Classroom, where all of the classes and accompanying material are filed away for students to access during their studies. Also, since all work and no play is not good for anyone, we have Quizlets, which are little games that can be accessed on your mobile phone. The idea is that you can, while away, spend your time playing these games, which allows you to learn whilst you wait for your doctor's appointment or whilst waiting in a queue, to take a plane trip somewhere. They can be played whenever you have a free moment.

Do you want to uncomplicate your life? Speak to Bruna on the Uncomplicating Legal English Team and follow us on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Source: Uncomplicating People´s Lives

Author: Mônica Lange is a translator and conference interpreter, whose working languages are: English, French and Portuguese. She is a student on the Uncomplicating Legal English course.

On the Uncomplicating Legal English course you will find the following:

*Legal English * A course of Legal English * Legal English course * Online Legal English * Legal English geared towards Translation and Terminology * Legal English Course

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