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Thread: the law

  1. #1
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    the law

    I was reading something a friend of mine wrote and came across this sentence:

    The post of a translator at XXX appeals to me because it lies at the intersection between languages and law.

    I think "languages and the law" would be better, but I'm not able to explain why. What do you think?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: the law

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    I was reading something a friend of mine wrote and came across this sentence:

    The post of a translator at XXX appeals to me because it lies at the intersection between languages and law.

    I think "languages and the law" would be better, but I'm not able to explain why. What do you think?

    Thanks.
    "Intersection" is a lazy metaphor. She could have used a literal word like 'nexus', or even a better figurative word.
    But leaving that aside, the original is good English. The context supplies the meaning and there is a parallelism in "between languages and law" that make it preferable.
    Besides, 'law' describes the discipline - as with 'medicine, aeronautics, hairdressing' - and 'the law' tends to refer to a specific set of laws. Your friend's meaning is probably closer to 'law' than 'the law'.
    Last edited by Raymott; 23-Mar-2010 at 22:04.

  3. #3
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Re: the law

    Why is "intersection" a lazy metaphor? An intersection is a meeting point between two or more things, and working as a translator of legal texts would allow my friend to apply her language and legal skills at the same time.

  4. #4
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    Re: the law

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Why is "intersection" a lazy metaphor? An intersection is a meeting point between two or more things, and working as a translator of legal texts would allow my friend to apply her language and legal skills at the same time.
    OK, I've decided why I don't like it. As you say, it implies a point - as if language and law both go in their separate ways and accidentally cross somewhere.
    If it were changed to "at the intersection of language and law", that would accord with set theory, in which the intersection is that area that covers the overlapping parts of two sets - not between one thing and the other, but containing both.
    But it's only a quibble.

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