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It would seem therefore that legal translation is, at best, an approximation. Indeed, many lawyers acknowledge that this is so and that equal meaning and exact translations between legal texts are illusions that cannot be achieved in practice. Thus, many claim that the task of the legal translator is ‘to make the foreign legal text accessible for recipients with a different (legal) background’. However, that claim only works with regard to texts that do not have force of law in the target language.

Karen McAuliffe: Translating Ambiguity,The Journal of Comparative Law, Vol 9(2)

Legal translation is concerned with comparative law and the incongruency of legal systems: elements of one legal system cannot simply be transposed into another legal system. In legal translation the comparison of legal terms precedes their translation. Legal translators must compare the meaning of terms in the source and target legal systems, which will make them aware of similarities and differences in their use across languages.

Karen McAuliffe: Translating Ambiguity,The Journal of Comparative Law, Vol 9(2)

Problems in legal translation generally arise because legal systems conceptualise reality in different ways. Legal translators do not translate words. They translate terms embedded in specific cultural models. Legal systems reflect principles and values that underlie the organisation of a society. This is why the translation of legal rules is considered not as a translation of words or ideas but as an import of foreign methods of organisation of a society.

Karen McAuliffe: Translating Ambiguity,The Journal of Comparative Law, Vol 9(2)

The most recent edition of the University of Malaga’s TRANS journal (http://www.trans.uma.es) explores the current state of play of interpreting in legal settings in Europe.Διαβάστε Περισσότερα

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