We kept our word! A weekend of language-specific training

02/22/2016 21:22 | Anonymous

Posted by María Luisa García Camón

Every year, NOTIS goes through the process of preparing meaningful and interesting trainings for professional linguists in the Northwest. The idea of a language-specific training has been going around in our heads for quite some time. This is a long overdue promise for many linguists. The general feeling is that we are tired of the same old type of seminars. We all want new and useful training that will teach us something new and might help us in carrying out our daily duties and developing our careers.

This year NOTIS is finally providing not one, but three language-specific trainings. It may look like the training is more focused on translation than interpretation, but let’s not forget that both areas are intrinsically related. The subjects we are proposing for this training are equally valuable to both translators and interpreters, and the dissection of the legal language will certainly benefit all of us in the long run.

Thomas West III, renowned linguist and jurist, has agreed to spend one weekend in Seattle to provide us with a very specific series of trainings that, in my opinion, is very much needed. He will teach three seminars, each one of them focusing on a different language: Spanish, Russian and French. Below please find a description of the trainings and a brief biography of Thomas West III.

Please make sure that you do not miss this great opportunity. To register, go to the NOTIS Events page and click on the event link. I hope to see you there!


Thomas West founded Intermark Language Services in 1995 after practicing law for five years with a large Atlanta law firm. Intermark recently celebrated its 21st year in business. Tom received his B.A. degree in French and English from the University of Mississippi summa cum laude and his M.A. in German from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Harold Stirling Vanderbilt fellow. He earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1990. From 2001 to 2003, he served as president of the American Translators Association (ATA), and has conducted seminars on legal translation throughout Europe and Latin America. Tom is ATA certified for translation from French, Spanish, German and Dutch into English. The second edition of his Spanish-English Dictionary of Law and Business was published to wide acclaim in June 2012. The first workshop will be provided for Spanish language translators and interpreters on March 19, 2016, at North Seattle Community College.

SPANISH. – Mexican Civil Procedure and “Hilando muy fino con el lenguaje jurídico”

During the first part of this full-day workshop Thomas West will walk us through Mexican Civil Procedure and will examine the stages of a civil lawsuit and documents related to it. “Hilando muy fino con el lenguaje jurídico” is the second part of the Spanish language-specific training, which will examine tricky aspects of legal terminology in both Spanish and English that can trip up even the most experienced translator or interpreter.

The second day, March 20, at the same venue, there will be two workshops, one each for translator and interpreters working with French and Russian.

FRENCH. – Dissecting French contracts

In this workshop Thomas West will give us insight into contracts from France and the United States and will discuss key concepts, such as “consideration” in English-language agreements and the distinction between “obligations de moyens” and “obligations de résultats” in French-language ones. We will also discuss issues of syntax and consider whether the translation of a contract should follow French word order or whether it is appropriate to change the word order in English.

RUSSIAN. – Dissecting Russian contracts

Thomas West will talk about contract law in Russia and how it differs from contract law in the United States. We will particularly focus on Russian terms that are difficult to translate because there is no equivalent in the United States. We will then look at the “anatomy of a contract” and consider the boilerplate clauses that appear in most contracts. If time permits, we will try our hand at correcting a faulty translation of a contract from Russian into English.

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