10 Ways to Improve Your Legal Translations

1. Read all that you can about the differences between the U.S. legal system and the civil law tradition. Two useful introductions: John Henry Merryman and Rogelio Perez-Perdomo, The Civil Law Tradition: An Introduction to the Legal Systems of Western Europe and Latin America. 3rd edition. Stanford Univ. Press, 2007. Mary Ann Glendon et al., Comparative Legal Traditions. 3rd edition. West Publishing Co., 2008. 2. Realize that not everything you need is on the Internet; reference books are still vitally important. 3. Beware of British terminology in the bilingual dictionaries: High Court (a court of first instance in England, but used by American journalists to refer to the United States

Costas, costes y costos

The fact that there are three words for "cost" in Spanish can be confusing. The general word meaning the price of something (what it costs) is "coste" in Spain and "costo" in Latin America. Thus, for example, the "cost of living" is "el coste de la vida" in Spain and "el costo de la vida" in Latin America. The word "costa" is used on both sides of the Atlantic to refer specifically to court costs. Note that the Diccionario de la Real Academia gives "gastos relacionados con un proceso" as one of the meanings of "costa." In legal documents from Peru and Argentina (among other countries), you may come across the puzzling expression "costas y costos." Volume I of the Diccionario Jurídico Abeledo

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