Andrew has collaborated with Aart van den End as a native-speaker adviser to the Juridisch en Economisch Lexicon since 2011, but the way that collaboration actually came about was the result of a choice of subject and career that isn’t exactly usual for a native speaker of English.
Born in an industrial area of North Yorkshire, England, Andrew grew up in a purely English-speaking environment, but became fascinated by foreign languages from a young age. After first learning French and then German, he was particularly drawn towards German and decided to study it at university. Studying two subjects rather than just one was regarded as more academically challenging, however and as a North European, Andrew felt a much closer affinity to nearby countries such as the Netherlands, as opposed to more distant countries, such as France. The Dutch language seemed somewhat familiar, but extremely intriguing. And so in 1982, Andrew began studying for a joint honours (two-subject) degree in Dutch Studies and German at the University of Hull in Northern England. The “Dutch Studies” part of the degree programme not only included intensive study of the Dutch language, but also Dutch literature and the economic and social history of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Border and language hopping
Always a practical linguist, switching rapidly from German, to Dutch and then to English soon became second nature. In 1984-85, Andrew spent the year on a work placement in the German town of Bocholt, only 6 kilometres from Germany’s border with the Netherlands. Visiting the Netherlands was a weekly activity and using both languages side by side a daily reality. At the end of the year, Andrew arranged a month’s work placement at a school in the nearby Dutch village of Winterswijk. After graduating from university, Andrew’s first job led him back to the Netherlands, this time to Eindhoven, as an assistant teacher in a secondary school.
Becoming a legal translator
After working for 12 years as a teacher of German in the U.K., Andrew left teaching in 2001 to become a Translator/Project Manager in a small translation company in the North of England. Soon after, he carried out his first translation of a legal text, a 10-page court judgment, from Dutch into English. Andrew rose to the challenge and soon found that he particularly enjoyed legal translation. By 2008, Andrew had become Senior Translator within a much larger company, RWS, and had noticed that new Dutch legal terminology was being created almost weekly, so he set up his own blog, detailing how some of those difficult terms could be translated into English.
The path that led to the Lexicon
In 2011, Andrew contacted Aart to purchase the download version of the Juridisch en Economisch Lexicon for the company. In conversation, he mentioned that he wrote a blog about translating Dutch legal terminology into English. Aart looked at the blog and immediately asked Andrew if he would translate terminology and advise on English translations for the Lexicon. And so since 2011, Andrew has collaborated with Aart on a weekly basis, translating selected new terminology and providing responses to users’ questions. Andrew says “Helping Aart to identify the most suitable English translations of the latest Dutch legal terms for inclusion in the Lexicon is a both a challenge and a pleasure, as it combines in-depth background research with exposure to the very dynamic terminological innovations that arise in legal and economic domains in the Netherlands.”