Webinar Recap: Working with Non-English Materials for the English Speaker

By Jessica Pierucci

On June 6, 2019, the FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee hosted its inaugural webinar, Working with Non-English Materials for the English Speaker. This engaging and information-packed session featured three panelists who discussed the best resources and provided research tips for finding the most helpful English translations of laws in European, Asian, and African countries.

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This post briefly discusses some key takeaways from the webinar, but for a complete list of resources, please check out a helpful handout and set of slides from the presentation both freely available through the Continuing Education page on the FCIL-SIS section of the AALL website. A webinar recording is also available to AALL members at this site.

Europe

Erin Gow, Online Services Librarian at University of Louisville Law Library, started the panel with European languages. She suggested starting with EUR-Lex and N-Lex when looking for documents from EU member states. In EUR-Lex, she pointed out annotations noting the source of translation (official, machine translation, etc.). In N-Lex, Gow demonstrated how the search boxes helpfully translate English language searches to other languages.

Gow also recommended places to find guides for this type of research. GlobaLex is often her first stop. She also checks for research guides from European law libraries, because those guides are generally developed by librarians who regularly work with European resources. Gow specifically mentioned guides from the Bodleian Law Library at Oxford and Middle Temple Library, including Middle Temple Library’s National Information Links for Lawyers PDF chart (PDF on the right).

Gow provided global tips as well. She explained that government websites, websites for relevant multinational organizations, and the International Encyclopaedia of Laws can also be potential sources of translated laws. She also recommended checking Lexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline, treatises, encyclopedias, and law review articles for any translations contained therein. For performing machine translations, Gow noted that she prefers the translation application Linguee. She also discussed the general helpfulness of Google Translate, but she cautioned to always be aware of the limits of machine translation.

Asia

Alex Zhang, Assistant Dean for Legal Information Services at Washington & Lee School of Law, focused on Asian languages. Zhang explained that for countries in which English is an official language, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, the researcher’s focus should be on finding the most authoritative source. Singapore Statutes Online is a helpful government resource for finding Singapore’s laws online, but it only contains unofficial versions of legislation. The official text is published in the print Gazette. On the other hand, electronic Hong Kong e-Legislation documents with “verified copy” marks are the official text.

For countries in which English is not an official language, the best bet is often finding a translation produced by a governmental entity (e.g. Japanese Law Translation), but it’s crucial to remember translations won’t have official status. Zhang emphasized considering the translation’s origin, focusing on the translation source, date, version history, and format. She also encouraged comparing multiple translations where possible.

Zhang also shared some broadly applicable tips. Great research guides may come from academic libraries in a relevant country, such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library. The Foreign Law Guide, GlobaLex, and Law Library of Congress Guide to Law Online: Nations are all great resources for locating information about the availability of translations. Further, Lyonette Louis-Jacques’ “How to Find Cases in Translation, Revisited” in Slaw is a valuable tool for case research ideas.

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Africa

Yemisi Dina, Acting Chief Law Librarian at Osgoode Hall Law School Library capped off the panel by discussing African languages. Dina focused on the presence of many indigenous languages across the continent, which can lead to loss of the true meaning during translation from language to language. One manner in which meaning can be lost occurs when customary court judges, who often do not produce written decisions, elect to have their decisions written in a language other than the indigenous language spoken during the proceedings. Meaning can also be lost during international tribunal hearings, when interpreters translate from an indigenous language to the official language of the tribunal.

Although true that many African countries have English, French, Arabic, and/or Portuguese as official languages, the text in those languages may not fully capture the meaning originally intended by law originated in an indigenous language.

Dina suggested using AfricanLII as the go-to resource, but noted that it, like LLMC and other collections, is incomplete and still has a way to go toward becoming a complete resource for African legal information.

Want more information?

Don’t forget to check out the webinar resources posted on the Continuing Education page on the FCIL-SIS section of the AALL website. They’re super helpful including citations and links to a wide array of translation-related resources.

AALL 2018 Recap: Education Committee Meeting – Program Planning for DC

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By: Loren Turner

The FCIL-SIS Education Committee met at the crack of dawn (7:00 am) on Tuesday, July 17th to begin brainstorming and strategizing for the AALL 2019 conference in Washington, D.C.  We were joined by two members of the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC), Sabrina Sondhi (our official FCIL liaison to the AMPC) and Alyson Drake.  Sabrina and Alyson shared the AMPC’s timeline for gathering program ideas and proposals.  Alyson will be writing a separate DipLawMatic blog post that covers the AMPC’s timeline and goals in more detail, but in a nutshell, there is a two-step process for us to get some FCIL-related programming into the DC conference: (1) submit and up-vote your undeveloped, wild and crazy ideas to the Ideascale platform (from now until August 17th) and (2) submit your developed, professional program proposals to the AMPC (Labor Day-ish until October 1).

We have an excellent location for the next conference and the Georgetown folks who joined our meeting are already on-the-ball with fab ideas on international taxation, international trade, and international human rights.  What about you?!  What programming do you want to see in D.C. for your professional development?

Dennis Sears (searsd@law.byu.edu) and I (lturner@umn.edu) would L.O.V.E. to hear from you!  Tell us what you want to learn.  Tell us what you want to teach. Tell us who you know and what they might offer.  We will do your cold-calls.  We will help craft your wild and crazy ideas into fully-developed programs (or pre-conference workshops). We need you to help us create substantive FCIL programming for the AALL 2019 conference.  Let’s do this.

You’re Invited to Join the FCIL-SIS Publicity Committee!

The FCIL-SIS Publicity Committee invites you to join us for our meeting in Austin this weekend!  We will meet during the FCIL-SIS Standing Committees Joint Meeting on Sunday, July 16, at 6:15pm–6:45pm in Hilton Room 402.

We’d love to hear your ideas for blog posts, social media, conference publicity, and anything else you have to offer!  If you’re interested in blogging or in working on one or more of our other publicity initiatives, come by and find out more!

We’ll see you there!

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Join The Electronic Resources IG at #AALL17

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By Jim Hart

We would like to invite you to our annual FCIL-SIS Electronic Resources Interest Group (ERIG) Meeting, which will be held at 7:45 – 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, July 16th, at Austin Convention Center Level 3, Room 8B.

The Electronic Resources IG provides information and support to librarians on online resources of foreign, comparative and international law research. Although most of the group’s work benefits FCIL librarians, this meeting is open to both those who are and those who are not FCIL members. Everyone is welcome! At the meeting, we will review what the group has done in the past year, gather your ideas about interesting projects for the future, and introduce you to the new Chair.

Please join us for a great networking opportunity and to catch up with old friends!

FCIL-SIS Related Programming in Chicago, 2016

SATURDAY July 16, 2016

9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Two Sides to the United Nations: Working with Public and Private International Law at the U.N. (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)

Coordinated by Thomas Mills, et al. and co-sponsored by the International Legal Research Interest Group (ILRIG) of ASIL and the FCIL-SIS. Two specialists, Susan Goard of the UN and Vikki Rogers, Director of the Institute for Int’l Commercial Law at Pace, will engage the audience in an intense full day workshop addressing the major functions of the UN, documentation of the main bodies and specialized agencies, the CISG and its application in international trade, and available UN related research platforms.

SUNDAY July 17, 2016

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

FCIL-SIS Jurisdictions IG Joint Meeting (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, Indigenous Peoples, Customary & Religious Law, Roman Law) (Hyatt-Water Tower)

Meeting Topics:

  • Welcome and Intro (Susan Gualtier, Louisiana State University School of Law Library) – 5 minutes
  • European Law: Recent Developments in German Law Related to Asylum and Refugees: A Brief Overview for Law Librarians (Jennifer Alison, Harvard Law School Library) – 20 minutes
  • Latin America: Cuban Legal Research Guide (Julienne Grant, Loyola University Chicago Law Library, et al.) – 10 minutes
  • Africa: Updates of the Digitization Case Law Project from South Western Nigeria (Yemisi Dina, Osgood Hall Law School Library) – 20 minutes
  • Indigenous Peoples: Indigenous Peoples and DNA Testing: Friend or Foe? (Steven Perkins, Greenberg Traurig, LLP) – 20 minutes
  • Individual Interest Groups business meetings – 15 minutes

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Asian Legal Information in English: Availability, Accessibility, and Quality Control (Hyatt-Columbus EF)

Coordinated by Alex Zhang, participants will learn about resources, tools, and tips for finding existing official ENG translations of primary legal materials in major Asian jurisdictions, the speakers will address the pros and cons of ENG translations and how to discern when ENG translation is not readily available.

5:15 PM – 6:00 PM

FCIL-SIS Foreign Law Selectors IG (Hyatt-Comiskey)

Coordinated by Marci Hoffman.

6:00 PM – 6:45 PM

FCIL-SIS Standing Committees Joint Meeting (Publicity Committee, Internships & Exchanges Committee, and Electronic Research IG) (Hyatt-Field)

Meeting Topics:

  • Welcome and Introduction (Loren Turner) – 5 minutes
  • ERIG: ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law Database (CIHL database) (Mr. Ismael Raboud, ICRC) – 15 minutes
  • ERIG: LOC Indigenous Law Portal (Steve Perkins, Library of Congress) – 15 minutes
  • Individual Standing Committees business meetings – 10 minutes

7:00 PM – who knows?

AALL Annual Meeting FCIL-SIS Reading Group (place TBD – stay in touch with Dan Wade at Daniel.wade@yale.edu)

Coordinated and lead by Dan Wade, the group will discuss East West Street: On the Origin of Genocide and “Crimes Against Humanity”

MONDAY July 18, 2016

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

FCIL-SIS Business Meeting and Breakfast (Sponsored by Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer) (Hyatt Wrigley)

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM

FCIL-SIS Teaching Foreign & International Legal Research IG (Hyatt-Michigan B)

Coordinated by Catherine Deane, this meeting will present three substantive presentations:

  • Marilyn Raisch (Georgetown University Law Center) will share her experience creating short videos to search databases using Jing
  • Alexis Fetzer (Richmond School of Law) will share her experience as a “non”-FCIL librarian proposing an FCIL research course
  • Nina E. Scholtz (Cornell Law School) will share her thoughts on teaching an experiential research course for international LLM students.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarian Recipient’s Presentation – Rhenny Pulungan of Indonesia, currently at U. of Melbourne’s Law School Library will deliver a talk entitled The Legal Research Landscape in Indonesia: Limitations and Possibilities (Hyatt-Columbus GH)

5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

International Attendees Joint Reception (AALL/FCIL/IALL) (Hyatt-Crystal Ballroom C)

TUESDAY July 19, 2016

7:30 AM – 8:15 AM

FCIL-SIS Education Committee and 2017 Summit Task Force Joint Meeting (Hyatt-Skyway 265)

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Roman Law, Roman Order, and Restatements (Hyatt-Columbus EF)

Coordinated by Marylin J. Raisch, participants will learn about digitization of historical documentation, assess the role of Roman Law and codification’s impact on American legal taxonomies, explore the influence of Roman Law on Restatements.

9:45 AM – 10:45 AM

Poster #24: Are Self-Paced Pre-Recorded Modules Better than Live Instruction for Teaching Basic Legal research Concepts? (Exhibit Hall)

Created by Lucie Olejnikova and Jane Bahnson, this poster session will be on display starting Sunday, July 17, 2016 through Tuesday, July 19, 2016. During the scheduled TUE session, presenters will be available to answer questions. This poster features a study carried out in Duke’s LLM Legal Research and Writing Course intended to measure students’ information retention when subject material was delivered in traditional live in-class lecture as compared to when the same material is delivered via self-paced pre-recorded online module.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Vanishing Online? Legal and Policy Implications for Libraries of the EU’s “Right to be Forgotten” (Hyatt-Columbus KL)

Coordinated by Michael G. Bernier, the attendees will be brought up to date on the status of data protection laws and their allocation outside the EU, understand the obligations under the “right to be forgotten” principle for libraries making personal info public, and consider the line between protection personal privacy against the public’s right to access data.

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Nominations Sought for FCIL-SIS Vice Chair/Chair Elect

Hav2015 Nominations sought for vice chair chair electe big ideas for the future of the FCIL-SIS? Want to see that vision realized?

The FCIL-SIS is seeking nominations for a Vice-Chair/Chair Elect. Nominations of yourself or a similarly visionary colleague (with the consent of the nominated) will be happily received by Dan Donahue, Gabriela Femenia, and George Tsiakos through Monday, December 15, 2015.

For complete details, please see the call for nominees.

 

#IFLA2015 Daily: Final Update from Cape Town

IFLA2By: Marisol Floren and Sally Holterhoff

The role of the libraries in providing access to legal information in Africa was the focus of the first session of the Law Libraries Standing Committee (SC) on Tuesday: Access to Legal Information and Legislative Data in Africa: the Role of Libraries and Librarians. This session was organized in collaboration with two other sections: Library and Research Services for Parliaments and the Regional Office for Africa. The session was chaired by Margo Jeske, from the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and Victoria Okojie from Nigeria.

Four speakers presented papers:

Speakers highlighted for some of the countries the enactment of laws or the creation of institutions to encourage building local capacity to collect, publish and keep legal information up-to-date. Across the countries the speakers enunciated similar challenges to sustain technical and physical capacity to publish the law; barriers are not only financial and technical but also institutional, changes in government organizations, for example. Kenya Law was presented as a model to be followed. Speakers discussed the role that libraries can play as collectors and providers of legal information and services, especially public libraries; several examples were given in the United States. One hundred and fifty librarians attended this first session.

On Tuesday evening the Law Libraries SC held its second business meeting chaired by Sonia Poulin (filling in for Claire Germain who was unable to attend). During this second business meeting the SC reviewed the events of the week and heard the reports of the members that attended relevant business or professional meetings. Sally Holterhoff and Marisol Floren reported on a meeting they had Sunday with Patrice Landry and Frederick Zarndt from IFLA’s Committee on Standards regarding the possibility of developing a standard on authentication of online legal materials. Sonia Poulin, Elizabeth Naumczyk and Marisol Floren, as new incoming officers, attended two leadership forums and a training session on IFLA about its operation and strategic plans, which provided guidelines for the operation of the sections. The topics of next year’s programs in Ohio were defined and program coordinators and teams were assigned. Two main areas of interest for next year’s programs were (a) digital privacy including the issues raised by “the right to be forgotten;” and (b) outreach by law librarians to public libraries to increase access to legal materials, improving access to justice for the public. The section has agreed to be involved with a 2016 IFLA pre-conference in Toronto on managing human resources in the library context.

Today is the last Law Library SC session, on the Future of Law Libraries. This session will be chaired by Sonia Poulin, from Alberta Law Libraries and Information Services, Canada. Speakers are Kirsty MacPhee from Tottle Partners, Australia; Carole Aippersbach (Alberta Legal Information Society, Canada); Allen Guerra Bustamante (Library of Congress Chile); Ali Irhamni and Joko Santoso (National Library of Indonesia), Yani Nurhadyani (Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia); and Denisse Espinace y Carolina Salas (Library of Congress Chile).

This is our last report…later today we both begin our long journeys back to the U.S., tired but very inspired and full of new ideas and information from our 2015 IFLA experience. All papers from IFLA sessions are posted in IFLA Law Library and please watch for a full report from us in the fall issue of the FCIL Newsletter.