About the Video

A systematic approach to translating contracts into English

What’s the best way to translate a contract? As there’s more than one way of doing it, it’s easy to fall into the trap of dillydallying between different approaches and terminology options. This can lead to wasted time and effort and inconsistent translations. This webinar provides principles and tips that will save you some of that time and effort. It will also help you produce more consistent and coherent contract translations. The aim of the webinar is to help you produce better translations that you will have more confidence in.

Please note that this is a video on how to translate contracts; not the law. The focus is practical and on technique and approach.

Takeaways: You will come away with a framework for translating contracts. You will also learn practical tips you can apply in your next contract translation.

Specifically, you will come away knowing:

  • How to not get bogged down in the more formal elements of the source contract.
  • What verbs and tenses to use for translating the different types of language in a contract.
  • How and when to replicate English contract syntax and conventions in a translation.
  • How to recognise and deal with non-equivalent legal terms in contracts.
  • How to use legalese usefully.


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


Rob Lunn

Rob has worked as a full-time independent translator since 2008. He translates from Spanish and Catalan into English and specialises in legal, business and IT translation. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and has an MA in Legal Translation. He is based in Barcelona. You can contact him through his blog Legally Yours from Spain.


1 hour 12 min

Who should watch it?

Anyone who translates contracts into English, experienced or otherwise. Some examples are taken from Spanish. However, these examples are explained and the principles and tips are applicable to translating into English from any language. The focus is always on the English translation. Indeed, the point of the workshop is to provide an approach and guidelines; not a list of translations.

What are the benefits to you?

You will come away with a framework for translating contracts. See the takeaways above.

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  1. Informative and interesting seminar with very specific and useful tips on the linguistic problems that plague all translators of contracts, like when to use “will” and “shall”, or how to identify redundant legalese. A great resource and confidence booster for anyone getting into the field who is still unsure of quite how to approach contract translation.

  2. This was a really excellent webinar full of useful information that can be applied straight away by translators working on contracts. As well as giving a broad overview, Rob hones in on specific issues that translators often fret over, and makes it all seem perfectly do-able. Great for those keen on moving into legal translation but lacking the confidence to get started.

  3. A very useful and informative webinar with lots of practical tips and advice for translating contracts. The guidelines on terminology and legalese are especially helpful if you don’t have a background in law and provide a good reference of things to consider and avoid using when translating contracts.

  4. This was an extremely useful webinar pitched at exactly the right level for people who have done some legal translation work but possibly feel they could do with further pointers and help. The section on categories of language that appear in contracts, e.g. obligatory, discretionary, prohibitory, performance, etc., and the verbs that best go with them was particularly useful, as was some interesting coverage of issues to consider when opting (or not) to use the word ‘shall’. I can’t recommend this webinar enough.

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