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Legal English Translation II

In my last blog, I illustrated some characteristics of legal English translation. I also gave some words and phrase translation examples to show its specialty. Now, I’ll make a further discussion about the legal English translation. Legal English has its authoritative characteristic, it excludes polysemy and ambiguity. Some words used in daily life has more specific concept of meaning in the legal language. For example, the term “infant”, in daily language means "baby", "children", but in the law it refers to the person who is 21 years old or under 18 years of age. “Demise” in everyday English, has many means, such as death, termination, failure, loss of job, etc., but in the law, it specifically refers to the transfer of property, or alienation, or bequests, such as referring to death. It also specifically refers to transfer of property or power to cause death (such as the King, "Jiabeng" inherited the throne after the involved). Some other examples: “action” means “行动” in ordinary English, but in legal English, it means “诉讼”; “alienation” means “疏远” in ordinary English, but in legal English, it refers to “转让”. “consideration” means “考虑” in ordinary English, but in legal English, it means ”对价”; “satisfaction” means “满意” in ordinary English, but in legal English, it means ”清偿、补偿”; “counterpart” means”对方、对手” in ordinary English, but in legal English, it refers to “有同等效力的副本”. Doing legal English translation, sometime we need consider adopt the methods of Reverse order translation. For example, we’d better translate “It has become a conventional wisdom that children have become so vulnerable that they should be protected by special right and codes.” to “孩子们容易受到伤害,应该制定特别的法律法规予以保护,这已达成了共识。” sometimes, we should reorganize the translation. For example, the sentence of “I take heart from the fact that the enemy, which boasts that it can occupy the strategic point in a couple of hours, has not yet been able to take even the outlying regions, because of the stiff resistance that gets in the way.” can be translated to “敌人吹嘘能在几小时内就占领战略要地,可是由于一路受到顽强抵抗,连外围地带都没能占领。这一事实使我增强了信心。” Therefore, legal English translation is really a hard work. Translators should do lots of practice and have a good knowledge of the field of Legal English, the local culture and law system. Only through unceasing study and practice, can they achieve a high level of translation ability.

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