Zeitschrift für interlinguale und interkulturelle Kommunikation
Ed. by Schmitt, Peter A. / Lee-Jahnke, Hannelore
CiteScore 2016: 0.04
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.111
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.003
Translating legal texts is a highly complex and multilayered process, especially for non-professionals. The first obstacle is the discipline itself. Legal systems differ from one another and each has its own specific norms, which is especially reflected at the lexical level, or in the terminology. Translating legal texts is thus primarily a type of comparative law because we continually ponder to what extent the terms in the target text correspond to the terms in the source text; they only rarely match completely in terms of content and they most often differ from one another to various degrees. Lexical gaps are also frequent; for example, a term exists in the source legal system, but there is no equivalent for it in the target system.
An important criterion is also the text type; different text types (e.g., normative, descriptive, etc.) demand different translation approaches and strategies. The text type also determines whether a translation equivalent is easy or difficult to obtain.
This article presents some of the main problems that translation students encounter in the elective translation module Translating Legal Texts. Each group of problems first includes the theoretical premises for the issue in translation studies, followed by specific illustrative examples and recommended translation strategies.