Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary by Tom West

I am pleased to announce that Tom West has published the Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary he has been working on.
You can find details and sample pages on Tom’s website. While you’re there, take a look at his blog (I’ve never succeeded in entering the feed for this in Feedly).
The dictionary can only be ordered from the USA at the moment, at createspace, but this may change in future.

The dictionary is a kind of three-column glossary, but with some explanations in the English column. The first column is either German or French. There is a useful introduction with remarks about the problems of researching Swiss legal lanague.

German-English legal translators sometimes have to research terms from Austria, Switzerland (several cantons) and Liechtenstein – I have translated German stuff from Alto Adige but not yet from Belgium. There are fewer reference materials available for these than for Germany. French translators must have the same problem. I know one translator who poses queries on mailing lists and whenever he or she doesn’t understand the text describes it as Swiss, which suggests the kinds of problems we face.

7 thoughts on “Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary by Tom West

  1. Thanks, Bettina. I had failed before. I got ‘Add content – Sources’ now (no ‘Add feed’). But it seems OK.

  2. The first trilingual dictionary focused solely on Swiss legal terms?

    In front of me is a copy of Swiss Advokat Alfred Schreiber`s Terminology of Swiss Civil Law with the quadrilingual claim of German/French/Italian/English – 6th edition 1983, 46 pages, albeit that used to serve me badly, plus – more importantly – Robert Herbst`s nominally Swiss German/French/English dictionary of commerce, finance and law (600 pages).

    Some source-terms on the sample pages do not strike me as uniquely Swiss French or German, but the target-terms tend to be more American than British/Scots law English (e.g. vital record).

    Often there is no explanation of the context when needed (e.g. return as a debtor to better fortune(s) – with or without a debtor warrant?, recognition of a pledge – is this a general lien or a land charge?, action for maintenance – marital or mechanical? and challenging a schedule of claims – on the merits or `collocated` by ranking of priority?).

    All very baffling before we even hit a banking Klumpenrisiko, the office des faillites or Rechtsöffnungsverfahren…

  3. Well, just because there is a quadrilingual glossary, doesn’t mean this isn’t the first trilingual one!
    Is the Schreiber any use?
    I must admit to throwing Herbst away.

  4. Arithmetical point taken.

    Schreiber I had, pre-retirement, found useful only once in 30 years.

    It has a barebones selection of 150 entries with virtually no exclusively Swiss or Liechtenstein conundrums (e.g. Beistatuten) but translations like the `registrar of civil status` for der Zivilstandsbeamte and the mysterious `pledge of cattle` for Viehverpfändung cf. an inspired `debenture` for der Pfandbrief.

    Still, I never bothered going back to Grant & Cutler, when off Regent Street, for return of my fiver.

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