nl en

Legal Translation I


Admission requirements

This course is open only to students registered for the Translation specialization.


Translating legal texts is a difficult but fascinating exercise. The legal translator has to overcome the same problems that any translator faces. But in addition, legal texts are often complicated and difficult to understand for the layman, which is what the legal translator often is. Then there are the fundamental differences between the legal system of the Netherlands and the Common-law legal systems of England and its former colonies (to complicate things: there are considerable legal and therefore also legal-linguistic differences between these systems). Legal translators have to work accurately and errors may have dire consequences. They also need to be creative, as there are very few good bilingual legal dictionaries.

The aim of this Legal Translation course, and of the second-semester Legal Translation 2 course, is to provide you with the knowledge and skills that you need to translate legal texts from Dutch to English and vice versa. We will explore three legal situations in which the services of translators are often needed, and explore the law, translation theory, and language needed to translate the documents used in these situations. In Legal Translation 1, we will focus on legal instruments (aktes), documents whose purpose it is to serve as evidence. We will deal with legislative texts; vital records in the law of persons and family law; and contracts and notarial instruments (sale, financing and transfer of an apartment). After you have completed both courses you will have a professional starting qualification in legal translation.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and understanding of the law of the Netherlands, the United States, and English and Wales, insofar as these are relevant for the legal translator.

  • Knowledge and understanding of methods of comparative law, insofar as these are relevant for the legal translator.

  • Ability to apply your knowledge and understanding of law and comparative legal methodology to pre-translation analysis of legal texts.

  • Enhancement of your knowledge of translation theory, in particular with regard to legal translation.

  • Ability to analyse and solve theoretical and practical translation problems.

  • Skill in translating legal texts from English to Dutch and vice versa; the translations should be marketable.

  • Further improvement of your oral and written proficiency in Dutch and English.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Three translations with an introduction, stylistic and legal analysis and annotations.


Each of the three translations is one-third of the final mark. The mark for each of the assignments should be at least 6.0 for a pass for the course.


Assignments that were a fail can be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized

Reading list

  • Barker, D. (2020). Law made simple (14th ed.). Routledge.

  • Janssen, L. & Blois, M. de (2020). Nederlands recht begrepen (5e druk). Boom.


This has to be filled out by the key-user of the department.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats: []