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Polysemy in Legal English

The same word may have more than one meaning. This is what we called “polysemy”.  We should pay attention to pick up the appropriate meaning for the word when we are doing the translation. The wrongfully selected word may make the sentence go to the opposite direction and thus destroy the whole translation. When we encounter polysemy, the best way to distinguish the meanings is to make reference to the context and understand the purpose of the drafter. Here I raise some examples for your reference. 1. Discharge. 1) to perform one's duties. He discharged his obligations after the call of the creditors. 他在债权人的督促下履行了自己的义务。 2) to dismiss someone from a job. The judge discharged the jury.法官解除了该陪审员的职务。 3) to pay one's debts or obligations. He discharged all his debts before he went abroad. 他在出国前清偿了所有债务。 4) to release from some legal obligations. His liability to pay the loan to the bank was discharged due to his bankruptcy. 他对银行的借款偿还义务因其破产而被免除。 2. Execute. 1) to finish, complete, or perform as required, as in fulfilling one's obligations under a contract or a court order. in the course of the execution of the contract 在合同履行/执行过程中 2) to sign and otherwise complete a document, such as acknowledging the signature if required to make the document valid. The contract shall take effect upon its execution 合同自签订之日起生效。 3. Good. 1) Effective. Now therefore, in consideration of the premises, and the representations, warranties, covenants, and undertakings of the parties hereinafter set forth, and for other good and valuable consideration, the parties agree among themselves as follows. 鉴于上述事实个各方在下文所作的陈述、保证、立约和承诺,及其他有效的有价约因,现各方达成协议如下。 2) Legally sufficient Neglect of duty is good cause for removal of a trustee. 受托人玩忽职守,理应解除其职务。 “good cause” here means a legally sufficient reason (“法律上有充分理由”). 3) to be qualified under relevant laws and regulation. Party A is a company duly organized, validly existing and in good standing as a legal person under the laws of the PRC. 甲方是依据中国法律正式成立、有效存续和资格完备的公司。 4) to be honest, fair If any term or provision of this Agreement shall become or be declared illegal, invalid or unenforceable for any reason whatsoever, such term or provision shall be severed from this Agreement shall be deemed to be deleted from this Agreement, provided that if such deletion materially affects or alters the basis of this Agreement, the parties shall negotiate in good faith to amend and modify the provisions and terms of this Agreement as may be necessary or desirable in the circumstances. 如果因任何原因本协议的任一条款或规定变为或被宣布为不合法、无效或不可执行,该条款或规定须与本协议分离,且被视为从本协议中删除,但如果删除该条款或规定会实质性影响或改变本协议的基础,双方应以诚信的态度进行谈判,以期在必要或可取的情况下对本协议的规定和条款进行修改和变更。 4. Accept 1) "accept" is a concept in contract law, which is corresponding to “offer”. A contract may be formed if an offer is accepted within the specified time and in the required manner. 如果在规定的时间并以特定的方式对一项要约作出承诺,合同即可成立。 2) "accept “ is often used in law of negotiable instrument, meaning "to consent to pay”. The draft is accepted by the negotiating bank. 议付行对汇票进行了承兑。 5. Action “Action” is one of the words that most commonly used in legal English. 1)      Lawsuit. Party A shall defend Party B in any action resulting from the infringement of the licensed intellectual property。 就与授权使用的知识产权相关的诉讼,甲方应当为乙方进行抗辩。 Other phrases like “file an action”(提起诉讼), “cause of action”(诉因)etc. 2)      the conduct that is corresponding to "forbearance” Any negligent conduct of Party A, whether it is action or forbearance, that resulted in loss of party B shall be deemed to be breach of this Contract. 甲方的任何疏忽行为,无论是作为还是不作为,只要造成乙方损失,即可视为甲方对本合同的违反。 6. Advise 1) "Advise” means the attorneys or legal professions provide their advice. The partner of the law firm advised the Manager on various specialist legal issues. 该律师事务所的合伙人就各种专业法律问题向经理提出了法律建议。 2) to notify or inform. The use of advise in the sense of “inform, notify,” was restricted to business correspondence and legal contexts. For example, The suspects were advised of their rights. 嫌疑人被告知他们所拥有的权利。

Words translated by CCJK

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