As we gear up for the ATA Conference in San Francisco this November,
the PLD blog will be featuring speaker profiles
so that our readers can learn more about

the upcoming sessions and start organizing their schedule.

Interviews conducted by
Elenice Barbosa de Araújo, member of the PLD Leadership Council

amanda“Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication:
Translating Legalese into Plain Language”

Legal Translation and Portuguese ― LW4
Friday, 2:00pm-3:00pm; All Levels; Presented in: English

Legal writers have long been advocating the use of plain language. In an ideal world, legal translators would never have to deal with circuitous writing and archaisms. But this is reality. So, can a translator use plain language if the source text does not? The speaker will answer this question! She will also talk about what constitutes clear, precise, and, ultimately, good legal writing, with translation-specific tips.

Amanda Morris is a word enthusiast and Portuguese to/from English freelance translator. Previously, she worked as legal translation instructor, a lawyer, a professor of law, and a legal adviser to television shows. She has a Master’s and a PhD in law from University of São Paulo.


What made you choose this theme?
I worked as an attorney and law professor for a very long time and I’ve always been fascinated (or obsessed: potato, potahto) by language and communication, and always believed that legal documents should be, above all, intelligible. Now, as a translator, I have different goals and tools, but similar concerns.

How long have you been working in your area of specialization?
About four years.

How many times have you presented at an ATA Conference?
This will be my second time.

How will the audience profit from your session?
Basically, the idea is to demystify legalese and encourage legal translators to use plain, yet appropriate and specific, language in their work. I hope it’s useful.

What did you want to be as a child?
Oddly enough, a translator. I truly believed it was a world of glamour and international intrigue. I wanted to be an expert in Ancient Greek and Latin and travel all over the world solving ancient mysteries, so I think my ten-year-old mind might have been slightly misguided.

What was your first career choice?
Lawyer. I went to law school.

What is your favorite book/movie?
That’s a difficult question, because there’s more than one answer for each category. But I love “To Kill a Mockingbird,” both the book and the movie. I’m currently trying to pretend that “Go Set a Watchman” never happened.

What is your favorite hobby?
Reading. Netflix bingeing. Cooking.

What/Who inspires you in the profession?
Bryan Garner. I learned so much about legal writing from him!



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