I recently received the new edition of Clarity, on plain language in legal English, by email and post, but I don’t really have time to read it. The website gives more information. Some articles are available there (most of them are by Mark Adler, who originated Clarity).

The most interesting thing for translators, as in plain drafting books (and all drafting books nowadays), is the information about unplain legal English. From an article there called Better drafting (a will extract), here is the beginning of the original, taken from a 1992 book of precedents:

bq. (1) 1 I bequeath 2 to the vicar and churchwarden 3 of the parish church of ….. 4 , 5 and their successors the sum of 6 £….. upon 7 trust 8 to invest the same 9 and during the period of twenty-one years from 10 my death (which period 11 shall 12 be the perpetuity period 13 applicable to this gift)

This is followed by 41 explanatory notes and a simpler version, of which this is the beginning:

bq. I give £…. to the parish church of ….. on trust to use the income:
(A) For the first 21 years after my death:

These articles are good reading for anyone translating English wills into German. Translators are dealing with this kind of language all the time.The site also has full copies of some past issues of Clarity (the journal). The booklist link is not working, but there are some links to other sites.

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