Legal Translation: Basic Principles

Legal Translation: Basic Principles


Workshop Leader: Dr. Ahmad Al-Harahsheh
Workshop Schedule Date: 03 February 19 - 06 February 19
Workshop Schedule Time: 4:00 - 7:00 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Venue: LAS Building - Classroom A015

About the Workshop


Law is a part of culture; hence legal translation is “documentary translation” (secondary text to help understanding). Though the translation does not replace the original text with its legal status, it should be transparent enough to produce the same legal effects in practice. The legal translator’s work is based on Hermeneutics, since one needs to understand the text without necessarily being a jurist. The source text offers the input on the basis of which a new autonomous text is created in the target language taking into account mainly the needs of the final users. Written legal documents are characterized by a specific style and rhetorical structure to prevent fraud, additions, omissions or alterations in legal text. These characteristics differ across languages.

This workshop aims to present the basic principles of legal translation, highlighting the common features of the language of the law and legal documents, problems and challenges. Participants will be introduced to the role and functions of translation in the various forms of legal texts, and will be familiarized with the principles, techniques and constraints of legal translation.

Target Participants

This Workshop is recommended for translation students, new entrants to the profession and established practitioners of legal translation. The maximum capacity is 20 participants.


The workshop will be divided into four parts, the first of which explores the language of the law, its characteristics, types and forms of legal documents. The second part will address the challenges commonly encountered by legal translators and interpreters, highlighting the structure of legal documents. The third and fourth parts will provide participants with an opportunity to translate some real legal documents from English into Arabic and vice versa.

Day 1: Introduction to Legal Translation

  • Language of the language
  • The grammatical structure of legal sentence in English
  • Legal terminology

Day 2: Practical Session

Translating certificates (school, university, birth, marriage… etc.)

Day 3: Practical Session

Translating contracts (rent, buy, sell, maintenance… etc.)

Day 4: Practical Session

Translating companies’ documents (shares sale and purchase agreement)


This workshop is theoretical and practical in nature as it provides participants with the strategies and techniques used by legal translators to overcome the challenges encountered during the translation process:

  • Real exercises of legal documents that legal translator deals with in day-to day practice.
  • Find the best solution rather than the final cut-and-dried solution, keeping the same thematic structure of the source text;
  • Focus on translating as text-production (textuality test).
  • Practicing participants will be invited to bring in their own experience as to the dilemmas they have encountered in their careers.

Learning Objectives

  • To familiarize and to develop participants’ knowledge of legal terms and their definitions;
  • To improve participants’ ability to analyze and to develop comprehension and translation skills of different legal texts from English into Arabic and vice versa;
  • Raise awareness to the major problems encountered in legal translation;
  • Build capacity to develop the translation strategies professional translators use to solve such problems.


  1. Participants develop their understanding of legal language and terms, and the skills required to take informed decisions in the translation process.
  2. Participants develop the skill of analyzing legal texts for translation purposes.
  3. Participants acquire new skills and techniques in legal translation.
  4. Participants develop the skill of repairing aspects of loss.

Register for this workshop

About the Leader/Instructor
Dr. Ahmad Al-Harahsheh

Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Al-Harahsheh has an MA in English linguistics, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics, with a dissertation on the socio-pragmatic functions of silence in Jordanian and Australian societies. He completed his PhD at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, Perth in 2012.

He started his career as an English language teacher. He was an Associate Professor in Translation Department at Yarmouk University, Jordan where he has been a faculty member since 2012. He served as the Chairman of Translation Department at Yarmouk University in the period between 2016 and 2017. He is also a sworn translator before the Jordanian courts. Now, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at HBKU, Qatar.