On translation, copywriting, literature, language, culture and education
Translating legal acts: specifics and opportunities
What problems do translators encounter when translating legal acts? And what possible solutions are there to overcome those problems?
Translators and those who are on a friendly footing with translation will probably agree that the specialized translation and the legal translation in particular, is among the most complicated tasks translation professional regularly encounters. Law regulates all the spheres of our life ranging from imports of automobiles to safety requirements for materials used in toys production. Armenia and Armenian enterprises expand the geography of their partners every year: cooperation with EU and EEU countries, which have shared legislation and regulations, grows consistently. Circulation of documents, as well as the need to deal with foreign language legislation grows, too.

Legal translations are abundant in specific terms and business language, which require both proper comprehension and accurate interpretation. That is why translator's profound knowledge of both the source and the target languages, and equally the legal jargon of the target culture are crucial.

Lost in legalese: whither found, too?

When undertaking a legal translation a specialist clearly understands that the target may not suggest structures, which are sufficient to translate the meaning of the term in the source language, and is therefore obliged to search for equivalents, which are able to convey the meaning of the term in the best possible way.

The results of those explorations oftentimes depend (besides the availability of professional dictionaries and the translator's searching skills in online resources) on one's ability to investigate and to research on legal and legislative specifics and differences in the countries, where documentation is produced in the source and target languages. Legal systems of countries are shaped by their cultures, traditions, customs, as well as historic, political, and economic realities. The text in the target language shall at all times remain loyal to the source text, and yet, shall correspond to the rules of the legal tradition of the target language to give the reader an adequate perception about the phenomenon the source text is all about.

Besides the proper understanding of the legal and legislative language and tradition, the translator is expected to be closely familiar with the translation cycle, the specifics of language apprehension in both cultures, the principles of organizing translator's work, the narrative of legal texts (to avoid misperception), as well as be in good command of a number of software and research tools.

The practicum on translation of legal acts organized by "Pen" Copywriting Studio later in June 2018 brought together practicing and bidding translators. Mher Sharoyan, who led the workshop, is a professional translator with more than 15 years of expertise, and is currently the head of legal authentication and review department, Translation centre of the Ministry of Justice.

Photos of the event are available here.
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