THE FUTURE OF LEGAL DICTIONARIES
BOOKS FOR YOU TO HAVE A JUMP START IN LEARNING LEGAL ENGLISH
In an interview published in the periodical of the Directorate General for Translation of the European Parliament*, entitled ”Why is terminology your passion”, Professor Lynne Bowker - a Full Professor of Translation (FR-EN) at the University of Ottawa, a Certified Translator, and a Member of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) - when asked "how would you describe the future of dictionaries” - answered as follows:
(…) it’s not really surprising that dictionary users have become more demanding. Language is about communicating. Lexical items are certainly a key feature of a language, but to communicate effectively, we need more. And so, in their linguistic “superstore”, users would like to see more examples, contexts, usage information, phraseology, and more. They want guidance about how they should use lexical items in the broader linguistic structures. (…)
In other words, knowing a legal term is twofold: you need to know
(i) the MEANING of the term and
(ii) you need to know HOW TO USE the term.
Let us see the term ”burden of proof" for example:
Black’s Law Dictionary gives an excellent definition for the term:
"A party's duty to prove a disputed assertion or charge"
The Dictionary surely provides a good example on usage, but it is hardly a detailed guidance.
Let us have a look at the description of this term, with guidance as to its use, as in a linguistic superstore, where all information is provided to guide the reader to write legal texts to native pro standard. This legal term is described with the minimum of grammar, in the most user-friedly way, by presenting sentence patterns and sample sentences, as below:
The term 'burden of proof'
person + has +burden + to prove + fact
as in: A person charged with an offense has no burden to prove innocence.
entity + has + burden of proof + to demonstrate + that + subject + verb
as in: In a criminal trial, the prosecution has the burden of proof to demonstrate that the defendant committed the specified crime(s) beyond a reasonable doubt.
burden of proof + is + on person + to verb1
as in: The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish that s/he was the victim of unlawful discrimination.
burden of proof + rest + on person + to verb1
as in: The burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to establish that he or she will be an adequate class representative.
burden of proof + lie + with person
as in: The burden of proof lies with the party requesting the hearing.
burden of proof + shift + from person + to person
as in: The burden of proof will shift from the complainant to the respondent if the complainant can prove facts.
burden + of proving + fact + is borne + by person
as in: The burden of proving intentional discrimination is borne by the plaintiff.
burden + of proving + that + subject + verb + is + upon person
as in: The burden of proving that a sale of tangible personal property, services, substances or things was not a sale at retail shall be upon the person who made the sale.
Just one reading, and you already have a good understanding of how to use this term as native professionals (UK and US judges, attorneys...) use it.
This term is from the ebook entitled
(1) Terminology of Civil Procedure in Use
The 157 page book describes civil procedure, and guides you to use 133 civil procedure terms at native professional level.
Further titles include:
(2) Terminology of Property Law In Use
The 105 page book describes Property Law, and guides you to use 124 property law terms at native professional level.
(3) Terminology of Contract Law In Use
The 112 page book describes contract law, and guides you to use 133 contract law terms at native professional level.
(4) Terminology of IP Law In Use
The 50 page book describes contract law, and guides you to use 44 contract law terms at native professional level.
(5) A User-Friendly Legal English Grammar
The 194 page book describes legal English Grammar, and guides you to use 313 terms.
(6) Terminology of Inheritance Law In Use
The 36 page book describes inheritance law, and guides you to use 48 inheritance law terms at native professional level.
(7) A Practical Guide To English for Law
The 1000 page and 50 chapter book describes seven practice areas, and guides you to use 1550 legal terms at native pro level.
These books provide comprehensive and detailed - easy to understand - descriptions, with no fancy grammar terms. This is how a total of 1550 legal terms are described in these books ... a linguistic superstore for legal terms, as foreseen by Professor Lynne Bowker.
These books have been duly proofread by an U.S. attorney (Yale) with a degree in linguistics, and was prefaced by an Oxford Law Professor. In the preface he wrote to the book, he acknowledged it as being "a masterly work”.
These books are useful for
(1) law students, to use these books in tandem with their studies in law, to quickly learn how to use legal terms,
(2) lawyers, to use these books to improve and excel in legal English, thereby promoting their career,
(3) legal translators when they are to write legal texts in these practice areas,
(4) law professors, as it provides inspirational content for use in classes,
(5) instructors at university translation courses, in teaching students terminology of these practice areas,
(6) translation course students, to select any of these practice areas as their area of specialisation.
Collect all seven terminology ebooks, and you can have a jump start in getting familiar with, and then become an expert in these practice areas, as your areas of specialisations.
* This periodical is available here for free: