The word ‘Repetitor’ is mentioned in the Udo extract I just quoted. I translated it as ‘coach’. It is sometimes rendered ‘crammer’, but that may be too specifically British and too harsh. Many German law students go to these institutions to brush up their knowledge before the final exams, and in some cases it is more than brushing up, apparently. I’ve heard that lectures tend to concentrate on what the professor in charge wants to talk about, rather than to prepare students for the exam, and in any case quite a few semesters may pass between the attendance of the first important classes on civil law, criminal law and administrative law and the exam itself. So some say you have to go to the Repetitor to pass.

I found this translation in Romain (Romain/Byrd/Thielecke, Wörterbuch der Rechts- und Wirtschaftssprache, ISBN for German 3 406 48068 3 (I need some permanent links for books – this is the second time I’ve quoted this, but there is nothing in Dietl): ‘Repetitor m/-in f coach, tutor, semi-qualified person who coaches (law) students for state (bar) exam.’
I love the ‘semi-qualified’. Sure enough, the old (pre-2002) edition has ‘qualified’.

Von Beseler-Jacobs-Wüstefeld has ‘tutor, coach’ and for Repetitorium ‘repetition/refresher course’. A good source for some of this terminology is Simon and Funk-Baker, Einführung in die deutsche Rechtssprache, ISBN 3 406 44558 6 (in Germany; but there is a second edition out – maybe they have improved the German-English glossary, which is not very reliable in my edition). I quote:
‘Repetitorien sind private Einrichtungen, in denen der Prüfungsstoff in komprimierter Form dargeboten wird. Die Wissensvermittlung erfolgt nicht systematisch, sondern gezielt im Hinblick auf die Erfordernisse der Staatsprüfung. Auf Zusammenhänge wird kein Wert gelegt. Repetitoren sind eine “typisch deutsche” Einrichtung. Sie weisen sicher auf Defizite der Universitätsbildung hin, zeigen aber auch das mangelnde Interesse vieler Studierender an einem soliden Erwerb der Grundlagenkenntnisse.’
This is nice. When I get down to notaries, which needs more time than I have today, I want to say that however much information is on the Internet, there is often a lack of the comparative element that enables us to put someone else’s legal system in context. Since Simon and Funk-Baker are writing for non-Germans, they do give this information: what here is different from what happens elsewhere.
One well-known Repetitor is Alpmann und Schmidt, some of whose materials can be downloaded free of charge. They sell scripts (including two on English law, Introduction to English Civil Law I and II, but a bit Denglishy – a shame because the layout is attractive and the content good) and a monthly journal. There is an Internet Repetitorium called eJura too. Hemmer is another Repetitor.

3 thoughts on “Repetitor

  1. In my opinion the correct translation of ‘Repetitorium’ is ‘Review Course’. Most American law students attend a review course before the bar exam which is called ‘bar review’, e.g.

  2. Yes, it’s very similar to the bar review course, so if translating for a U.S. readership you could call it a law exam review course. It still leaves the Repetitor unsolved (law exam review course tutor?)

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