The number of law students outside China who speak Chinese is increasing. The number of law students outside China who read Chinese is increasing as well, though that number is considerably less than those who speak it. The number of law students outside China who read Chinese legal documents with anything approaching their ability to read those documents in English is exceedingly small.
So how can you make the leap from being able to read general interest publications in Chinese to being able to read legal documents in Chinese? Our law firm’s China lawyers (nearly all of whom can fluently and seamlessly speak and read and write Chinese) are constantly asked this question and our answer is usually to take a legal Chinese course at their law school if it has one or otherwise just learn Chinese legal terminology on the job. We then are invariably asked to recommend a book to them that would help them on their quest. We would then tell them we knew of no such book.
Until now. Until China Law Reader. China Law Reader is written by Lawrence Foster, Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii, Tiffany Yajima, a practicing lawyer and Yan Lin, a Professor of Law at Jiaotong University in Shanghai. In its introduction, China Law Reader describes its purpose and its ideal reader as follows:
The primary purpose of the CLR is to introduce you to the language of Chinese law. The ideal user is someone who has completed at least two years of Chinese language study and is now ready to read actual law-related Chinese language texts in order to learn the specialized language of Chinese law.
I agree. If you already read Chinese fairly well and you will be working with Chinese language legal text I urge you to get this book now.