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Quoting the names of foreign laws
Thread poster: John Fossey

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:05
Member (2008)
French to English
Jan 23, 2009

I would like to know what is the best practise when quoting the names of a foreign law in a text.

Source documents which refer to laws, can have the names and references translated into the target language, and of course this is necessary if the target audience is going to comprehend the meaning. But when a law is referenced its usually because it applies to the document being translated. If it ever came to issue, the reader would have to know the actual name of the original law referred to.

An example is the French "Loi Informatique et Libertés" which is sometimes rendered in English as the "Data Protection Act", after the equivalent UK law.

What is the best way to handle this issue? Do you include both the source and target name in the target text? Do you translate literally or use an equivalent such as above?


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Nigel Greenwood  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I usually translate them as: Jan 23, 2009

What I do, is translate the name using the equivalent in the Target language, usually it can be found on the WEB, and I include the original name in brackets at least the first time it occurs in the text. For example:
Data Protection Act ("Loi Informatique et Libertés") in cursive letters.

Nigel


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Literal Jan 24, 2009

John Fossey wrote:


An example is the French "Loi Informatique et Libertés" which is sometimes rendered in English as the "Data Protection Act", after the equivalent UK law.

What is the best way to handle this issue? Do you include both the source and target name in the target text? Do you translate literally or use an equivalent such as above?


I tend to translate quite literally, after all the content and scope of the law in one country or a different legal system is likely to be different. Since my translations are literal I don't always include the original, except in certain circumstances.

One of the logical arguments here is the fact that there is a whole series of different kinds of "laws" in Spain, for example, if you chose to use the word "act", what do you do with "decreto ley"? "Decree Act" sounds very odd. Or what about "decreto real"? "Royal Act"? If you translate literally you reflect this hierarchy, which is completely lost if you start using "act" and "bill" in translation.

With "Loi Informatique et Libertés" I would translate it as a "law" and reflect its content as literally as possible.



[Edited at 2009-01-24 01:27 GMT]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:05
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Talk to your client Jan 24, 2009

This is an issue of style and you should discuss it with your client, particularly since different clients have different preferences. (Besides, if you ask your client, your client is in less of a position to claim you handled this issue improperly if he/she/it doesn't like your choice.)

That said, your client may put the burden back on you. A default style is to simply translate the name of the law, perhaps putting in [Belgian] or whatever applies if you think there may be a possibility of confusion.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I translate for lawyers Jan 26, 2009

Hence, I try to strike a balance between being understood and pointing to the actual reference. I always use an English title or explanation while keeping the title and/or abbreviation of the original law in parenthesis. For one, article structure (content structure) may be completely different, even if the laws are equivalent. Every country in the EU has a Data Protection Act transposing the pertinent EU Directive, for example, but they all have a different content structure. The one in Spain is called the LOPD for short, and I have to point to that, not to the UK law, even though I give it an English translation.

HTH.


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Paul Skidmore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:05
German to English
Literal translation Jan 26, 2009

I agree with earlier comments that as the content of legislation varies from state to state I tend to stick to pretty literal translations.

In addition, I follow the wishes of my clients. As a default I tend to adopt:

source language title followed by a English language version in parentheses (Law on ... ) followed by a short form, usually the default short form used in the source language so that the client can follow up other references.


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Mario Hendriks  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
Japanese to Dutch
+ ...
Brackets Jan 27, 2009

I agree with Nigel Greenwood,

First ask the client what wants (although often you'll find that the client doesn't know it himself).

I mostly use the original text and following in brackets I use the translation often mentioning that it is a note made by the translator in italics.


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helc
Italy
Local time: 17:05
Italian to Swedish
+ ...
From the point of view of a lawyer/translator... Feb 9, 2009

Hi everybody!

This is a really important topic, especially for me, since I translate a lot of material directly from courts. As a lawyer, I would strongly recommend NOT to translate into the target language/nation equivalent, as those laws not necessarily contain the same rules or have different legal scopes. This is, of course, unless you are fully aware of the contents of both laws and know that they are equivalent (which is sometimes, but very rarely, the case in the EU).

I usually translate the name of the law to the target language and then make a note stating the exact name of the law in the source language. This is necessary for instance when the "target language lawyer" analyzes the facts of the case and writes his/her statement. Otherwise, you`d risk confusing them, as they might believe the laws are exactly the same. May seem a bit sloppy for a lawyer, but it could happen.

/ Christina


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yo soy la ley Feb 21, 2009

[/quote]
One of the logical arguments here is the fact that there is a whole series of different kinds of "laws" in Spain, for example, if you chose to use the word "act", what do you do with "decreto ley"? "Decree Act" sounds very odd. Or what about "decreto real"? "Royal Act"? If you translate literally you reflect this hierarchy, which is completely lost if you start using "act" and "bill" in translation.
[/quote]

As far as I'm concerned, "Decreto" is a "Decree" to all intents and purpòses so that's my usual translation. Sometimes you just have to take the initiative and set your own precedent
Interesting forum...


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