legal text translation

In recent years, with the increase of the external legal and cultural exchanges, in order to let the world know more about China’s laws and regulations, every year, a large number of legal literature have been translated into foreign languages​​. Meanwhile, in order to learn from other countries, we also translated a large number of foreign laws and regulations.

Translation of legal documents covers several areas of knowledge. Different from the other language occasions, the text of the law is a solemn text, is formal of the highest level. The legal language has the following characteristics:

1. Precision and correctness

Precision refers to the clear content expression, accurate wording, no ambiguous meaning. Correctness refers to the appropriate terminology, consistency.

2. Solemnity

(1) Common vocabulary with the meaning of legal profession

One of the important difference between legal English and common English is many common words used in legal English often has professional specific meaning. For example, “prejudice” means ”损害”, “counterpart” means ”有同等效力的副本”.

(2) Specific legal jargon

(3)The usage of Old English words

(4) Loanwords

(5) Fuzzy words

3. Complexity

4. criterion

In view of the above characteristics of legal English, we can summarize the difficulties of legal translation. In Future translation, to pay appropriate attention to the difficulties, many problems can be readily solved.

(1)To use the legal terms and terminology correctly.

(2)Literal translation should come first, master a fixed expression format, or even directly modeled.

In view of legal text related to rights, obligations, legal effect, legal consequences of particularity and has a solemn, strict, logical characteristic, fidelity to the original text is a particular emphasis aspect. Therefore, legal documents mainly used the literal translation method, and by using the fixed expression format.

Read Also: Polysemy in Legal English

(3)To use the passive voice.

This characteristic is determined by the objectivity of legal documents. The passive structure expression, whose biggest feature is which has not individual subjectivity. The legal text function is to convey information, core is the objective truth. Therefore it is suggested that translators to use passive sentences, especially in legislative language and contract.

Therefore when we deal with the legal text translation, we should not only from the legal point of view but also from the perspective of linguistic features, to ensure the meaning of the original text can be accurately delivered, Meanwhile to guarantee translation smooth, native using flexible strategy Grasp of the above difficulties and pay attention, then we can accomplish this type of text successfully.

Take a look at how we helped our client by localizing their project for Legal Industry Translation. Click here to read the complete case study

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