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Title: The translation of judgments in different and similar legal systems and languages/language varieties : an empirical study
Author: De Leo, Davide
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 2763
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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This study sets out to examine how the genre of court judgments is translated under certain conditions relating to the legal systems of the source and target texts as well as to the languages/language varieties concerned. The study looks in particular at two aspects of judgments: macrostructures and lexical incongruencies. These features are analysed using a text corpus of judgments and their translations specially compiled for this study (about 1,200,763 words), in two different scenarios. The first scenario involves two countries in which different legal systems are in force with two official languages; the second concerns plurilingual countries with a mixed legal system. These two different scenarios are intended to sharpen the research focus of earlier studies so that a more nuanced picture of shifts in legal translation can emerge. A further contribution is made to the role of context in shaping translation decisions through consideration of the purpose of the translations studied. The corpus has been studied manually as a semi-automatic analysis was not practicable given the nature of the research questions which looked at the translation of macrostructures and lexical items in context. The analysis of the corpus proceeds by sub-dividing the corpus into so-called ‘case studies’ according to the two main features studied and the two scenarios outlined. The macrostructure of selected judgments is analysed using case studies of French judgments into English, French Canadian into English and English Canadian into French. This last case study analyses judgments “translated” as summaries. Lexical incongruencies are studied through the translation of the names of a number of courts: two Italian courts into English, one Canadian federal court from French into English and one Canadian provincial court from English into French. Qualitative and quantitative analyses confirm that the translation of the moves can be problematic as the significance of certain linguistic cues in the Source Text is not always identified and conveyed in translation, especially in the first scenario. When it is identified, a translation strategy of explicitation is observed. The second scenario is found to be less problematic for the translation of macro structures, at least as far as the situation in Canada is concerned. With regard to the second area of enquiry, namely lexical incongruencies, the study confirms that the search for equivalence in the translation of lexical items is problematic, especially in the first scenario of translating between the legal systems of two different countries. The case studies belonging to the second scenario seem again to be less problematic, at least for Canada. The study ends with some proposals for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available