On Legal Translation


A lot of translators are always afraid of working on legal translation. To be frankly, it is quite difficult without any application of specific rules and methods. However, after being acquainted with relevant background knowledge and translating principles and ways, you will do a good job on it. As we all know that wording of legal translation should be legal, accurate, concise, serious, precise and normal.

Undoubtedly, the legal translation must conform to laws and regulations; otherwise it cannot be accepted as a good work in spite of good wording and artistic writing. Meantime, the accuracy is also very important, especially figures, numbers and dates, which may lead to misunderstanding or loss of opportunities, or even lawsuits.

For example:


译文:Labor protection of those women staff and workers that run counter to state stipulations concerning family planning should be treated according to State stipulations concerning family planning. The Regulations are thus inapplicable.

译文2:These Regulations do not apply to any violation of state family-planning measures by a woman employee whose labor protection is regulated by the said measures.

Moreover, the language of legal translation should be serious and solemn. The words in the context must express the principles precisely.


原文:The law holds that the man is responsible for his acts. The law also indicates what is good and right, and. what may and should be done.



Furthermore, the structure should be precise and normal. Example: 《全国人民代表大会常务委员会关于修改中华人民共和国公司法的决定》已由中华人民共和国第九届全国人民代表大会常务委员会第十三次会议于1999年12月25日通过,现予公布。

译文:The Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Revising the Company Law of the People’s Republic of China, adopted at the 13th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on December 25, 1999, is hereby promulgated, and the revised Company Law of the People’s Republic of China.

In addition, the words should be concise and normal. Example:


译文:Where an institution in charge of asset of valuation, capital verification or certification provides by negligence reports with major omissions, it shall be ordered to make a rectification; where the circumstances are serious, a fine from one to three times the amount of the income derived therefore shall be imposed…

In summary, no matter it is in Chinese or in English, the legal translation must be legal, accurate, concise, serious, precise and normal. The translation of law is of very important and challenging work. We should take a serious altitude to it but not being afraid of it.

Words translated by CCJK


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