Eva Angelopoulou provides her overview of events for legal translators and interpreters held earlier this year by EULITA:Continue Reading..
Eva Angelopoulou provides her overview of events for legal translators and interpreters held earlier this year by EULITA:Continue Reading..
On Thursday, 21 September, the University of Birmingham will host a seminar on ” Law, translation and migration: an enlightening relationship”. The event is free but requires pre-registration. The announcement about the event and the full programme are reproduced below:
“Challenges of legal translation have existed for a long time in international law and international relations. However, the intense process of globalization since the latter half of the 20th century has led to a rapid increase of international treaties and agreements, regional governance, international organizations, NGOs and courts as well as growing reliance on international arbitration.
Much of this globalized legal work is performed through translation. In spite of its long history and recent proliferation, legal translation remains underexplored, particularly from a socio-legal perspective. In fact, research on the intersection of law and translation has tended to concentrate on a rather limited agenda with broader issues being neglected. Therefore, migration is an appropriate and innovative lens to pursue this broader investigation and to tackle the following key issues: what are the various effects of globalisation on this intersection? What is the impact of legal translation on the acceptance of concepts and ideas into other (legal) cultures? What are the effects of the ‘translated’ word on the perception of the very phenomena it portrays?
This seminar will not only further our understanding of the intersection of law and translation, but it will advance knowledge and analysis on migration, an issue central to our times. By addressing the intersection of law and translation in this way, it will reveal novel questions, effects or links to migration, thus advancing the intellectual agenda of the socio-legal community.”
Professor Ann-Marie Fortier – University of Lancaster (Department of sociology):
‘On (not) speaking English: colonial legacies in language requirements for British citizenship’
Professor Eleanor Spaventa – University of Durham (School of Law):
“Language and the internal market”
Professor François Grin – Université de Genève (Faculty of translation and interpreting)
“Language, mobility and inclusion in the EU: the MIME project”
Professor Lucja Biel – University of Warsaw (Faculty of applied linguistics):
‘Translation and the law: A case study of a corpus of (legal) translation on migration’
Professor Loredana Polezzi – University of Cardiff (School of Modern Languages):
‘The portrayal in contemporary literary texts of the relationship between migration, translation and the law”
Professor Angela Creese & Professor Adrian Blackledge – University of Birmingham (School of Education):
‘Translation in everyday practice”
Dr Frances Rock – University of Cardiff (School of English, communication and philosophy)
“Just because she’s a solicitor that doesn’t make her any better than you”: Law, translation and migration in confronting disadvantage through enlightened relationships in legal advice”
Dr Elpida Loupaki – Aristotle University of Thessalonika (Department of French studies and literature):
‘Translating migration – beyond terminology’
Piotr Wegorowski – University of Cardiff (School of English, communication and philosophy)
“Translating institutional procedures: the case of community policing”
Tools of the legal translator’s trade, a new blog by me published today on the IALS Legal Translation hub looking at the various tools legal translators use in their profession. Click here to read more:
Hard on the heels of the very interesting event “Legal translation to the next level” held on 4 February here in London come a series of other events and conferences all relating to the topic. The tagline for the London conference was that legal translators should ‘roar to the world’ about their existence. Another 5 conferences happening this year will certainly help get the message out there about what legal translators do and the important role they play. So here’s a quick round-up of forthcoming legal translation events:Continue Reading..
The role of legal translators, and of legal translation as an activity, is attracting increasing attention, with a host of conferences having been organised on the subject or closely related topics in recent years.
I’ve recently returned from a very interesting and productive conference in Seville entitled, “From Legal Translation to Jurilinguistics: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Language and Law” held at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in late October.
Some of the key themes that emerged at the conference for me were:
Prof. Jan Engberg, an expert in knowledge communication, stressed that legal translation is all about the translator being able to communicate specialised knowledge so that people (typically but not always lawyers) in one knowledge community can understand what is being said by people in another knowledge community. Legal translators mediate and broker the transfer of that knowledge and are interested in solving the linguistic problems that emerge in conveying knowledge. Their primary goal should be to create a text in the target situation that can be read in the right way by its audience. He stressed the importance of comparative law in this regard; which brings us to the next major theme at the conference.
Another broad theme at the conference was the importance of comparative law, and the importance of a transystemic approach to the study of law to enable legal translation to occur more easily because of greater understanding on the part of legal translators of what the concepts involved mean in, and across, legal systems; a topic addressed by Prof. Emerich in her keynote address.
Building on the vital communicative role legal translators play, Juliette Scott, emphasised in her presentation the importance of legal translators correctly positioning themselves in the market, and stressed how important it is for legal translators to choose the correct terms when referring to themselves, primarily because of the impact this has on how the market perceives them as professionals.
In her keynote speech Prof. L. Biel examined the historical development of corpuses in translation and discussed the importance of corpuses so far as a research tool. Since legal language is highly patterned and formulaic, corpuses are proving useful in identifying these patterns; though some translation studies have indicated that despite such high formulaicity, translators often have a tendency to use their own phrases rather than the patterns that would typically be used in corresponding target language texts. Somehow “translation as a process” is interfering. It is to be hoped that corpuses can be operationalised to ensure greater consistency across languages to improve translation quality. Gianluca Pontrandolfo also presented interesting corpus-based research on judicial phraseology, and several other speakers provided practical examples of how corpuses can promote better quality legal translations.
On a related point, several speakers analysed the difficulties one often encounters with legal dictionaries and presented projects aimed at creating better quality legal dictionaries or glossaries, presenting some interesting methodologies such as the ‘least bad possible equivalents’ for terms when two legal systems do not have the same concepts (Frison & Gavrilova) or a participative, interactive glossary-development process (Fiola).
Several other papers addressed the progress made so far in adapting the law in various EU countries to the requirements of the recent directive on translation and interpreting in criminal settings, revealing that transposition has not always been a smooth process.
Over recent years there has been increasing interest in ‘professionalizing’ legal translation and court interpreting, with a series of academic papers on the subject, many of which are of interest to legal translators and court interpreters. Much of this has been as a direct result of Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to translation and interpretation in criminal proceedings, which has stimulated debate across Europe on the need for better court interpreters and highlighted the importance of getting legal translation right. Against this background, this November Cambridge Scholars Publishing will release a book on legal translation entitled “Towards the Professionalization of Legal Translators & Court Interpreters in the EU”, edited by Martina Bajčić and Katja Dobrić Basaneže, both of whom teach at the Faculty of Law in Rijeka, Croatia.
The description of the forthcoming book provided by the publisher is as follows:
“The profession of legal translators and interpreters has been unjustly neglected despite its relevant role in international and multilingual legal settings. In order to bridge this gap, this volume brings together contributions from some of the leading experts in the field, including not only scholars, but also internationally acclaimed professional legal translators and interpreters. Coming from different EU Member States, the contributors address the status quo of the profession of legal translators and interpreters within their respective states, while proposing ways to raise the standards of the profession. In particular, effort is made to make the profession more uniform Union-wide in terms of training and accreditation of legal translators and interpreters and quality of their services. Topics covered include ISO standards for interpreting services in judicial settings, EULITA, Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to translation and interpretation in criminal proceedings, legal translation, translation of multilingual EU legislation, document translation, whispered interpreting, and the need to introduce uniform programmes for the education and training of legal translators and interpreters. Offering a mix of theory and practice, the book will appeal to scholars, practitioners and students with a special interest in legal translation and interpretation in the EU.”
Certainly sounds like it will make an interesting read for legal translators and court interpreters, though the book is set to retail at £ 61.99, which may mean it has a small audience.
In one of our previous posts we talked about the cultural inconsistencies in legal translation that often come up and specifically about inconsistencies in the realia. In this post, we are going to talk about the ways in which the legal translator can tackle these inconsistencies.
We gave an example using the term “fiduciary” and its Greek translation, but we concluded that there isn’t an equivalent term that has the exact same meaning and an identical content in the Greek legal system. What needs to be stressed here is the fact that the legal translator is able to reach this conclusion only if he is familiar with the law of both the legal systems involved: the legal system from which the source text comes and the legal system from which the target text comes. Familiarity with the first will enable the translator to have a clear grasp of the meaning, the content and the function of the concept, the term or the realia that he needs to translate. Familiarity with the second will enable him to look for the respective concept, term or realia in the target language.
As in the example that we used in our previous post, in the case where there isn’t an equivalent concept, term or realia, the translator should embrace the interpretative approach, aiming at the same time to ensure that the final recipient of the text will be able to understand it. The target text will be used in the context of a different legal system by people familiar only with their own legal system. The translator’s aim should be to clearly present the foreign legal system, without altering the structure and the legal effect of the text and of course without adding to or subtracting from the amount of information that the final recipient will draw from his translated text.
Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.
In any case, the legal translator should contact his client and advise him about the implications that arise from the inconsistencies of the two cultures involved, as well as about the ways in which he is planning to tackle those cultural inconsistencies in legal translation.
In our example I chose to translate the term “fiduciary” as “διαχειριστής αλλότριας περιουσίας” (administrator of another’s affairs), drawing my inspiration from the concept of “management of another’s affairs/voluntary agency” (διοίκηση αλλοτρίων) in Article 730 of the Hellenic Civil Code. The reason that the English term couldn’t have been translated as “διοικητής αλλοτρίων” (manager of another’s affairs/voluntary agent) is because there is a crucial difference between those two concepts: the agent mentioned in Article 730 of the Greek Civil Code manages the affairs of another person, but acts without authority, while the fiduciary acts under a mandate.
Just like any translator, the legal translator should also cultivate his multiculturalism, as this is a necessary professional tool. Since any form of cross-language communication is also cross-cultural communication (Vlachopoulos, p. 36) and every legal system is created within a specific culture, it is more than necessary for the legal translator to be aware of and be exposed to his own, as well as the foreign culture. This is the very heart of the role of the professional legal translator, as he is the person responsible for transferring the message and the content of the legal text from one culture to the other and finding solutions to the legal inconsistencies in his legal translation.
According to Vlachopoulos, who in turn refers to the research of Maddux & Galinsky in the field of business administration (Vlachopoulos, p. 37), simply knowing the language, as a sum of finite linguistic units and syntactical mechanisms, without being aware of the cultural elements reflected in the usage of a specific word or in the usage of a specific syntactical mechanism and without being conscious of the significance these elements bear in the foreign culture, dooms every effort of cross-cultural communication to failure. In other words, lack of awareness of the cultural parameters defeats creative understanding and leads to a linear and uncritical transfer of structures of the source language to the target language. It leads, above all, to an uncritical transfer of the thought structures of the source culture to the target culture. Vlachopoulos then he goes on to say that it is necessary for the translator to be familiar with the cultures with which he is working, so that, firstly, he can possess the knowledge and the experience that will support his understanding of the target culture and secondly, to be able to assess the acceptance criteria and in this way be able to converge to the highest possible extent with the communication standards that he is required to respect.
In the context of cross-cultural communication, therefore, the skilled legal translator should possess an awareness of the legal culture of both countries and keep himself constantly informed about new legislation, new case-law and the changes taking place in his own, as well as in the foreign legal system.
By Eva Angelopoulou