About the Video

Spanish Legal Translation – a comparison of two different legal systems

This presentation is for translators working in the Spanish and English language pair. Our speaker will begin by explaining the differences between the Spanish system and that used in England and Wales*. The presentation will also outline the  jurisdictions in the English system: civil and criminal law, as well as the four distinct jurisdictions in the Continental system which are: civil law, criminal law, administrative law and employment law, in order to explain the hierarchy of Courts in both countries. Explanations will be given of some common terms used in litigation as well as in judicial decisions in both languages.

The translation of official documents – and potential translation problems – will also be covered, including linguistic problems such as omissions, borrowings, doublets and triplets, false cognates, here and there compounds, as well as technical issues such as format, seals and stamps, signatures, upper case words or letter, or intentionally omitted punctuation. The presentation will then move on to discuss sources of information and some tips on speeding up research and research options.

*Although the legal systems in Scotland, the US, Canada and Australia differ from that of England and Wales, there will be sufficient information about the Spanish system to help you relate the information to these Common Law systems.


CIOL membership discount: 10% (the code is available on the membership page)


Sofia Brough-Aparicio

Sofia is Andalucian by birth but lived in Madrid from an early age. On moving to England in 1994 she studied to become a translator, gaining the prestigious Diploma in Translation. She comes from a family of lawyers and, having studied the subject at university, decided early on to specialise in legal translation. She works for many clients in the legal field. She is fascinated by the linguistic nuances in English and Spanish that differentiate the various branches of the profession.


1 hour 11 minutes

Who should watch it?

Translators working in the Spanish <> English language pair wishing to discover the differences between the systems in Spain and in England and Wales* and to prepare themselves for work in the legal field.

What are the benefits to you?

After this video you will have a clear idea of the differences between the systems in use in Spain and in Civil Law systems, as well as some hints and tips on problem areas, terminology, and research in the area.

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