Books on legal writing in English

There are many useful books for lawyers on how to write better legal English. How useful they are for translators is another matter. By all means, if you have time, work through some of the suggestions on legal writing (an internet search for ‘drafting’ is also a good idea). Consider whether you mind whether the book is for British or U.S. or another form of legal English.

But as I suggested in the post on virtual synonyms, when translating into English you can’t simplify at will. Consequently we tend to spend more time researching specific law and language problems than taking the wider view.

As a member of the BDÜ it probably doesn’t behoove me to look at the publications of the BDÜ Fachverlag with as much suspicion as I do, but I’ve never recovered from how a colleague salivated over a book on how to translated GmbH articles into English. The book was a student’s work written for a non-lawyer lecturer and was full of problems. But then, caveat emptor.

The latest book advertised to me is probably not at all bad, in fact it may be good, but is it a book for lawyers on how to write legal English or does it address translators into English too?


I couldn’t trace the LexisNexis edition, but what is that keyboard on the cover telling us? I suppose it is implying that there is a German element.

I am told (my emphasis):

Wenn Sie juristische Texte ins Englische übersetzen, dann kann ich Ihnen die jüngste Neuerscheinung aus dem BDÜ Fachverlag ans Herz legen, den „Legal Writing Coach“ – eine Sammlung von leicht verwendbaren Materialien, die an das begrenzte Zeitbudget von vielbeschäftigten Anwälten und Übersetzern angepasst ist. Der „Legal Writing Coach“ basiert auf der langjährigen internationalen Erfahrung des Autors und bietet eine Fülle von echten Praxisbeispielen und zielt auf die häufigsten Probleme beim Schreiben juristischer Texte ab. Die angebotenen Lösungen lassen sich schnell und einfach umsetzen. Mit diesem Buch können Sie Ihre Fähigkeiten verbessern, gute juristische Texte in englischer Sprache zu verfassen.

You can see the table of contents in a PDF linked to here. I can’t tell what about it is for translators. It does appear that the author is based in Vienna.

It does have an Annex on British and American legal usage and one on slutations, titles, and closings which might be interesting for translators.

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