Translation Criteria of Business Contracts
1. Accuracy and Faithfulness
Contract English is unlike other English, in which the lexis used is formal and the structure is tight. A contract, as a legal trading agreement, is also a basis for settlement of disputes. That is to say, the aim of the contract is to define the rights and obligations of the parties concerned. Therefore, to a contract, accuracy is of first and utmost importance and it should be given priority to. So in translation, the lexis and the structure should be accurately translated. Meanwhile, the translated one should be faithful to the original document without changing any important meanings or omitting some detailed points. Faithfulness is also crucial to successful translating.
E.g. The date of receipt issued by the transportation department concerned shall be regarded as the date of the delivery of goods.
From the overall understanding of the sentence mentioned above, we can concluded that, the meaning of the word “concerned” should not be translated according to its literal meaning. That is to say, its meaning should be translated as “acceptance for carriage(承运)” to reach the criteria of accuracy and faithfulness.
2．Expressiveness and Smoothness
Expressiveness means that the translated content of the contract can be fully and completely understood. In translation, it is far from enough to simply transfer every single word without making any meaningful or indicative changes. Otherwise, the document would be seen as mistranslated and disordered. Rather the translation must conform to the target language in the specialized lexis, sentence structures and characteristics. Therefore, expressiveness should be attached great importance to. Meanwhile, to make the documents fluent to the readers, smoothness should also be valued.
E.g. The buyer shall make a claim against the seller (including replacement of the goods) by the further inspection certificate and all the expenses incurred therefrom shall be borne by the seller.
The expressiveness of the translated contract lies greatly in the coherent logic, especially in dealing with the long and complicated sentences. In the example above, every word is translated to its fullest. Besides, the logic of the translated sentences is coherent. Therefore, expressiveness and smoothness are of great importance.
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