Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Jumping in: Italian legal translation in Forlì

Translators, how good are we really at our second (third, fourth) foreign language?

I recently returned from a short course in Italian legal translation, which was held in Forlì in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy from 1 until 3 July 2019. It had been organised jointly by BDÜ Fachverlag mbH and the Translation and Interpreting Department of the University of Bologna.

BDÜ Fachverlag mBH and the University of Bologna ran a short course in Italian legal translation in Forlì

I’ll be honest and admit I felt a bit like a fish out of water, because I found myself among seasoned Italian translators, who work with Italian (and German) more or less every day, whereas I almost exclusively work with English (and German) these days.

It is, in fact, not unusual for translators to give up their second (usually weaker) language at some point to henceforth focus on just their main language in their work. I, too, had been considering this move not so long ago, but then decided that I would want to keep my Italian after all.

This consequently involved implementing certain measures that would help me bring my Italian back up to speed again. I did this by initially just dipping in here and there (for example, by listening to Italian radio at home) and then, without further ado, by jumping right in: I signed up for a translation course in Italy.

The topic of the course was Italian and German civil procedure law, an area I admit I do not know anything about and do not aim to specialise in. My motivation for signing up for the course (as opposed to that of all other participants) hence was as minimal as it could be: immersing myself into the Italian language. No more, and certainly no less!

The topic of the course was Italian and German civil procedure law

In my next post, I’m going to share some of my experiences from my trip to Italy. Note that I’m not going to write about the course and its contents, but in the interests of wider readership appeal am going to focus on the minimalism theme of this blog.