Recently I had to work on a long translation of a legal document, which is not the field I work with most often. I found myself once again working very hard on conforming to the standards and practices of “legal writing” in English. The concept is quite vague, since many options exist for word choice, tone, and structure vary according to levels and regions. However, I found myself relying upon a couple of resources in addition to my well-worn general dictionaries:

http://cherylstephens.com/professional/communication/Crashcourse%20in%20pld.pdf

This is a very direct approach for how to choose the correct wording and style for concise legal writing. When you write by using these guidelines consistently, then it results in a sharp and professional written legal document.

http://www.in.gov/judiciary/interpreter/glossary2.pdf

This is a great resource I found that was created for legal interpreters by the Administrative Office of the Courts in Trenton, New Jersey. It compiles the correct translation for terms in legal settings, both isolated words and stock phrases commonly seen in legal documents.

Whether you choose to incorporate these glossaries into your workflow when composing or translating a legal document in English, I would highly recommend always having multiple reference sources available to you at all times, due to the complexity of the issue.

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