Legal Translation

Teachers: Livas Sotiris
Code: SOT223
Category: Specific Background
Type: Elective
Level: Postgraduate
Language: Greek
Delivery Method: Lectures
Semester: 2nd
ECTS: 10
Teaching Units: 10
Teaching Hours: 3
E Class Webpage:
Short Description:

The course aims at introducing the students in the world of legal translation. The course is based on three axes:

a) teaching the basic notion of Law and description of the Greek and British legal system,

b) research of the basic legal terminology in English,

c) translation of legal texts from English into Greek (e.g., court decisions, law-interpretive texts, reasonings etc.).

The module seeks to further enhance the students’ ability to translate legal texts from Greek into English and from English into Greek, by carrying out the appropriate lexical, stylistic, semantic and cultural shifts, transpositions and modulations. It also aims at familiarising them with the fundamental differences between source language (SL) and target language (TL) and at introducing them to an array of sources and tools. In addition, the module further introduces the students to contemporary theoretical approaches to translating specialised texts, and in particular legal texts, and helps them apply the main principles of Translation Studies (TS) to actual practice. Finally, the module seeks to help students approach the translation of legal texts globally and render them aware of their role as mediators.

Objectives - Learning Results:

Upon successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  • translate specialised, legal texts
  • identify the various translation genres (with special emphasis on legal) and the specificities of each one
  • carry out extensive textual analysis based on the TS theory and make decisions on the translation strategy they choose in relation to specialised, legal texts
  • recognise the significance of context, co-text and pragmatics in analysing and translating a legal source text (ST)
  • be aware of the key points of the theory of translation equivalence
  • successfully address the translation challenges in the legal ST and suggest appropriate solutions

Week 1: Introduction to the module: suggestions on how to study and translate legal texts, and guidance on the use of printed and electronic dictionaries, encyclopedias and other translation tools. Translating specialised texts from and into the mother tongue, the challenges and the main difficulties it poses. Τextual analysis of a legal text.

Week 2:

Theory of Translation: Definition of subject in the fields of special knowledge: Law and Legal Science. Special subject language, Language for Special Purposes, Relationship between Legal Language and General Language. The Legal Language: a Language for Special Purposes, definition and linguistic peculiarities. Interlinguistic characteristics of the Legal Language. The Modern Legal Language: peculiarities, analysis of Legal Terminology, Linguistic Dimension of Terminology.

Week 3:

The Structure of Justice, Introduction to Law. Basic and normative features of Law, Distinction of Laws. Division of Law: Domestic and International Law, Division of Domestic Law: Private and Public. Areas of Law: Private, Civil, Commercial, Labour. Intellectual - Industrial Property Law. Civil Procedure or Civil Procedure Law. Criminal Law: Penalty, Differentiation of Penalties, Special Criminal Law, Criminal Procedural Law or Criminal Procedure. Courts, Judges. Civil Courts: District Court, Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal. Supreme Court. Criminal Courts, Administrative Courts, Council of State, Court of Audit, Military Courts, Special Courts. Petitions: presentation of various types of petitions.

Week 4:

Hands-on session: Translation of a legal document titled ‘Dept Waiver Agreement with Better Fortunes Clause’. Source text and target text-Comparison, translation and error analysis, translation strategy and translation competence

Week 5:

Hands-on session: Translation of a legal document titled ‘Declaration of a Handwritten Will’. Analysis of the problems that arise from the translation of this type of legal texts. Different types of meaning, the importance of context, co-text and pragmatics.

Week 6:

Hands-on session: Translation of a legal document titled ‘Publication of a Will’. Challenges, problems and strategies to tackle them. Text analysis.

Week 7:

Hands-on session: Translation of a legal document titled ‘Power of attorney’. Source text and target text-Comparison, translation and error analysis, Translation strategies.

Week 8:

Hands-on session: Translation of a legal document titled ‘Special Process of Marriage Disputes’. Translation analysis. Translation strategies, translation programming, the role of the translator.

Week 9:

Hands-on session: Translation of legal documents concerning the Single-member Court of First Instance. Translation analysis. Translation strategies, translation programming, the role of the translator.

Week 10:

Presentation of the translations made by the students themselves, with emphasis on the translation difficulties and the way with which they were dealt. Discussion.

Recommended Bibliography:

Alcaraz, E. (2000). El inglés jurídico. Textos y documentos. 4th edition. Barelona: Ariel.

Alcaraz, E. &  Hughes, B. (2002). Legal Translation Explained. Manchester: St Jerome.

Ashley, A. (1998) A Handbook of Commercial Correspondence. Oxford: OUP.

Bassnett, S. and Bielsa, E. (2008). Translation in Global News. London: Routledge.

Bhatia, Vijay K. (1993). Analysing Genre, Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman.

Beaugrande, R. de and  W. Dressler (1998). Introduction to Text Linguistics. London: Longman.

Borja, A. (2000). El texto jurídico inglés y su traducción al español. Barcelona: Ariel.

Desblache, L. (ed) (2001). Aspects of Specialised Translation. Paris: La Maison du Dictionnaire.

Fabre, C. (1991). A Companion to Economic Translation. Paris: Masson.

Garner, B. (2001). A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. 2nd edition. Oxford: OUP.

Gibbons, J. (2003). Forensic Linguistics: An Introduction to Language in the Justice System. Oxford: Blackwell.

MCCloskey, D. (1998). The Rhetoric of Economics. 2nd edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Mayoral Asensio, R. (2000). "Official (sworn) translation and its functions". Babel 46(4): 300-331.

Mayoral Asensio, R. (2003) Translating Official Documents. Manchester: St Jerome.

Olsson, J (2004). Forensic Linguistics: An Introduction to Language, Crime and the Law. London: Continuum.

Šarcevic, S. (1997). New Approach to Legal Translation. New York: Aspen Publishers.

Tomaszczyk, J. (1999). Aspecs of Legal Language and Legal Translation. Łodz: Łodz University Press.

Teaching and Learning Methods:

Lectures, Study and analysis of bibliography.

ICT Usage:

Use of ICT in teaching.

Grading and Evaluation Methods:

Α. Students are asked to translate, on a weekly basis, from English to Greek and from Greek into English a 300-word legal text. The use of monolingual, bilingual and multilingual dictionaries, both specialised and general, is allowed. The participation and the delivery of assignments are taken into consideration.

Β. The students are also evaluated by a final written essay at the end of the semester.



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