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Thread: legal couplets

  1. #11
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: legal couplets

    Quote Originally Posted by weiming View Post
    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]

    Yes, naturally its possible that you may be translating into a language or, more specifically, culture that could care less about the difference between renting and leasing but bear in mind, if you're translating, that probably means that two organisations from separate cultures are involved and the "host" culture will almost certainly want that difference outlined in the event of a disagreement with the target organisation, even though they would be likely subject to their law. But this is very hypothetical ground.

    I wouldn't say new words will be "made up" or borrowed but sometimes they are in favour of more lengthy native terms. As an aside: Chinese is only a nationality, but not a language. Mandarin is the main dialect to which you may be referring (of course Cantonese is the main topolect in the south).

    Another thing to remember is that the word you are seeing may not have the meaning you think it does. Like "stress" for example, which has a special meaning in linguistics, a legal term may carry a special legal significance which should be noted.

    Then again I think -Buddaheart- made a great point when he(?) mentioned "cease and desist" I would fall flat on my face trying to find a distinction in translating this pair, and would probably say something like "stop completely".

    On another tangent, these word pairs may exist for the sheer "legal soundingness" they give to a document. If that is the case, this too should be duplicated in the target document, even though they may not need two terms to do it. Tone is a part of translation.
    In a poem or some sort of literary piece, tone should definitely be part of translation. But in a legal document, it may not be that important. In fact, some "sound" features may not be able to translate. But I agree that if we hold a "high" standard in translation, everything should be translated. In reality, however, some features are often sacrificed.

    Good exchange of ideas though.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: legal couplets

    Legal documents have a strong authoritative tone by nature (and not only by virtue of their legality). I feel a translation should give the same feeling, using terms the reader will recognise as equally authoritative.

    Which is why something like "The king has decreed that henceforth all issues be addressed to the minister" would be better than "The king says from now on, everyone has to ask the minister if they have a question." That is what I meant by tone.

    Legal nuance is exactly what contracts are meant to convey, and this is often why we need lawyers (not just a native speaker) to interpret them, doubly so in translation where laws and conventions (like leasing and renting) may be different. Probably for this reason the word pairs you mentioned have survived in English. Did you ever consider they might be there to avoid translation as the wrong word into other languages which may not make a distinction otherwise?

  3. #13
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: legal couplets

    Quote Originally Posted by weiming View Post
    Legal documents have a strong authoritative tone by nature (and not only by virtue of their legality). I feel a translation should give the same feeling, using terms the reader will recognise as equally authoritative.

    Which is why something like "The king has decreed that henceforth all issues be addressed to the minister" would be better than "The king says from now on, everyone has to ask the minister if they have a question." That is what I meant by tone.

    Legal nuance is exactly what contracts are meant to convey, and this is often why we need lawyers (not just a native speaker) to interpret them, doubly so in translation where laws and conventions (like leasing and renting) may be different. Probably for this reason the word pairs you mentioned have survived in English. Did you ever consider they might be there to avoid translation as the wrong word into other languages which may not make a distinction otherwise?
    Sorry I misunderstood your "soundingness" . As to your last question, there is no way to find out, but I tend not to believe that to avoid translation as wrong word into other foreign languages was the intention. It seems only you and I are talking about this issue. Interesting too.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: legal couplets

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]


    "legal soundingness" is not a term, which is why I put it in quotation marks. I am using it to mean "the quality of sounding legal". Quotation marks will be used in writing to indicate words that are using a different meaning than their traditional ones, and made-up words.

    ian2, you wrote:

    "...I tend not to believe that to avoid translation as wrong word into other foreign languages was the intention."

    Indeed, not necessarily the intention, but it could very well conceivably be a reason for not removing or simplifying these terms into one word, now that we have them.

    I think that most people might not consider a question like this incredibly important, or even realise its existence until they have had to struggle with it in translation, as you and I have.

    On a side note, you misused the word "I" here:

    "It seems only you and I are talking about this issue."

    It should be "you and me" (the subject of the sentence is "It"). There is a more detailed explanation here:

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...vs-you-me.html

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