I recently received an indirect query from someone studying legal translation in the UK who wants to buy a German-English law dictionary. There was a list of the dictionaries currently available at Foyles, into which Grant & Cutler has now been integrated (I remember Grant & Cutler near Embankment Station, before it moved closer to Oxford Street and now to Foyles). Here’s the link, but it may change in time.
Title: Author: Description:
Recht Fachwörterbuch Kompakt. Law concise dictionary.: German<>English Bugg, S. G. & Simon, H. Approx. 28.000 terms and more than 50.000 translations. With short German and English introductions to the German, British and American legal system.
Rechtsenglisch: Deutsch<>Englisches Rechtswörterbuch für jedermann Köbler, G. approx. 25.000 entries, 485 pages.
Dictionaries: Specialist & Technical: Legal. Published 2007. Price: £19.95
Wörterbuch Arbeit, Recht, Wirtschaft. Dictionary of Labour, Law and Business terms. Horstenkamp, C. Approx. 5,000 terms.
Dictionaries: Specialist & Technical: Legal. Published 2006. Price: £25.95
Wörterbuch Recht German<>English Bachem, W. & Hamblock, D. Approx. 56,000 terms.
Dictionaries: Specialist & Technical: Legal. Published 2008. Price: £42.99
If you click on the first entry, it says the book and CD ROM are temporarily out of print but cost £52. The paperback (I didn’t know about this) is available and costs £30.
In response, I was taken aback at the absence of Romain and Dietl, but on reflection think they may be unavailable and about to be published in new editions.
I’ve written about small law dictionaries before (here and here). I understand why the publishers like them: because they can sell them to German law students. But they are just not big enough to be much use. If the budget doesn’t run to more, I would advise against the Köbler, although I don’t know its latest edition. The editions I have seen have all been based on a standard and peculiar shortish word list, originally created in German and put into English or whatever other language is involved. Of the others, I slightly prefer the Bachem and I don’t find the extra material in the Langenscheidt much use, but if possible you should compare the two yourself.
The Horstenkamp was unknown to me so I bought a copy. It is out of print but can be got second-hand. I actually got a new copy, but I don’t think it’s that easy to find. This dictionary of labour, law and business terms was done by a colleague. It is actually a set of seven glossaries EN>DE and seven glossaries DE>EN. This disqualifies it for me even if it were bigger, as I don’t want to spend so much time leafing through it. True, there are two global indexes in the back, which somewhat helps. The areas are:
Labour – Arbeit
Business – Wirtschaft
Education/Training – Bildung/Ausbildung
European Union – Europäische Union
Law – Recht
Politics – Politik
Health and Safety – Arbeitssicherheit
The labour part looks OK, but in particular the EU and law sections are very small and it looks more like an interpreter’s private glossary. It also has things like
sich schuldig bekennen – plead guilty (looks like a reverse of an EN>DE entry)
vorsätzlich – wilful; premeditated (Vorsatz is intention, not premeditation)
Pflichtverteidiger – duty solicitor (again, was this generated from EN>DE?)
Gewohnheitsrecht – common law (should be custom)