Faculty & Staff

Thomas West

Visiting Assistant Professor of French
B.A., University of Mississippi; M.A., Vanderbilt University; J.D., University of Virginia


Thomas West has used foreign languages in his career throughout his entire adult life and is passionate about sharing his knowledge of French with students and helping them discover how they can use French in their professional lives as well. He received his B.A. in French and English summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi. Following graduation, he studied French at the Université d'Avignon and German at the Universität Regensburg and then earned an M.A. in German at Vanderbilt University, where he also studied Russian. He obtained his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1990. After practicing law for five years, he returned to his first love—languages—and began work as a legal translator, which has kept him busy since 1995.

From 2001 to 2003 he served as President of the American Translators Association, where he was certified for translation from French, Spanish, German and Dutch into English. In addition to those languages, he also speaks Swedish, Afrikaans and Russian and can read Danish, Portuguese and Italian. Over the past two decades he has taught seminars and workshops for translators at institutions ranging from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras to Stellenbosch University and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. He is a regular presenter at the annual "universités d'été" for translators held at the stock exchanges in Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg. He has also taught French courses at the University of Mississippi and Georgia State University and German at Vanderbilt. The second edition of his Spanish-English Dictionary of Law and Business was published in 2012, and his most recent publication is a Trilingual Swiss Law Dictionary (French-German-English) released in May of this year. In addition to translation theory and legal language, he is particularly interested in comparative linguistics and second language acquisition.