Law, Language and Translation

The demand for legal translations is on the increase due to globalization and the increased contact and exchange between people and states.

Legal translation refers to the translation of texts used in law and legal settings. For the legal translator it is important to ascertain the status and communicative purposes of the original text and the translation.

In general, the complexity and difficulty of legal translation is attributable to the nature of law and the language that law uses, and the associated differences found in intercultural and interlingual communication in translating legal texts.

The language used in law to achieve its purpose is predominantly prescriptive, directive and imperative.

Apart from long and complex sentence structure found in most legal languages, there are also syntactical peculiarities to each language. For instance, in legal English, complex structures, passive voice, multiple negations, and prepositional phrases are extensively used.

The nature of law and legal language contributes to the complexity and difficulty in legal translation. This is compounded by further complications arising from crossing two languages and legal systems in translation.

Considering the above mentioned complexity of legal language and translation, it is very important to hire a professional legal translator to ensure the best quality.

Source: CAO, DEBORAH. Translating Law. (2007)

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