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Translation of the term "court" En>Sp
Thread poster: María Diehn

María Diehn  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 12, 2007

Substantial differences between judicial systems in countries where English or Spanish are spoken, as well as different political structures among them, make it difficult to render a good and accurate translation of the term "court" within the legal realm.
Input from our colleagues and visitors from different countries would provide us with enough elements to make educated decisions on the translation of this term.
Please consult:
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1937626


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
CONTEXT Jun 12, 2007

It all depends on that, including the origin and destination countries. And that is not the only term we have to deal with. It goes on forever.

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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 23:26
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Corte AND tribunal Jun 12, 2007

If there was anything in that thread that caught my attention, it was the rather impolite - to say the least - "Hazme el favor" in the Ask Asker section. That was either rude or someone just doesn't know how to write properly in Spanish. Never mind that though...the real problem was the sheer ignorance of the comment. Look up "Suprema Corte de Justicia" on Google, and the first three countries that come up are El Salvador, Argentina, and Mexico. And I'm not talking about just any website, but the official Supreme Court site of each of the aforementioned countries. Sorry, the term "Corte," with this meaning, was around way before the advent of American globalization; it's not like people have been using it only in the last 20 years or so in official matters. And some of the same countries also use the word "tribunal" for other courts. The bottom line is that both words are used, and used correctly. It all depends on the factors that Henry mentions.

Secondly, and regarding the same comment, I'm wondering about the term "americanismo". If it refers to America as in the U.S., whoa boy, that's the wrong term, it should be "anglicismo." If it refers to Latin America, guess what, Spanish has been around outside of Spain for hundreds of years now....it's not a country club language, and hasn't been for a long time. Maybe we should call (ok, theoretically call, unless we want to wake some of them from the dead) García Márquez, Rulfo, Vargas Llosa, Cortázar, and Quiroga and say, "sorry guys, we got this guy from ProZ who doesn't dig the fact that your vocabulary is not 'official,' so sit your a** down and start re-writing." Doesn't sound right? Neither does the "fact" that all of a sudden "corte" is wrong because it's definition No.8 on the DRAE (which I love, by the way). Sorry, this is not a fad word....if people don't like it because of how it sounds or what it used to mean or how it has evolved, well, tough luck.

I think having educated decisions regarding the translation, as Maria says, is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, I also think it's a very specific thing. In the case of that KudoZ question, my vote would be for: "which Spanish-speaking people are we going to be addressing mostly in the U.S. with this?" The answer's pretty obvious. What isn't is, "which term would they be used to or expect?," in which case I think only experts in the region concerned should be giving answers - and everyone else should be giving suggestions and options to get the ball rolling instead. I've already written more than once about the ivory tower linguist approach - that's not a translator's job...we don't translate for a pedantic "I know the DRAE from A to Z" audience, or else there would be a lot less translators out there making a living!

So to make a long story short: Each instance of "court" is unique. Coming up with a general answer doesn't work, so, unfortunately, yes - we do have to ask or do our research every time it comes up for a different purpose/context.

(I like your answers in the aforementioned KudoZ question, by the way. It was high time for someone to act maturely there, and silviantonia definitely deserves polite treatment)

[Edited at 2007-06-12 08:20]


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:26
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
"Court" Jun 12, 2007

Well, just for info I was interpreting for a Colombian who'd lived in Spain for ages in Portsmouth Job Centre, UK, the other day and one of the questions asked was

Have you ever done jury service....

The asker (English) described what this was...

I interpreted

"Hay que asistir a los tribunales.....

and the Colombian said

"Sí, a la Corte, ......ya entiendo."

So I use "tribunales" or "la Corte" ....


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Rebecca Jowers  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The use of "corte" in Spain Jun 12, 2007

"Corte" is used in many Spanish-American jurisdictions for "court". Until recently it was not used in Spain, the terms used being: juzgado, tribunal, audiencia, órgano jurisdiccional and órgano judicial, depending on the context. Finally, and fairly recently, "corte" has been accepted to refer to the "Corte Penal Internacional" (International Criminal Court in the Hague).

It may be worth noting that "Las Cortes Generales" is the official name of the Spanish parliament, and several of the legislative assemblies of the Spanish regional governments (comunidades autónomas) are called "cortes" (Cortes de Aragón, Cortes de Castilla-León, Cortes de Castilla-La Mancha, Corts Valencianes).
Perhaps this explains the reluctance to use the word "corte" to refer to a court of justice, since "cortes" has traditionally been used in Spain to refer to legislative assemblies.


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sarahjeanne
Brazil
Local time: 03:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
always hating on the americans... Jun 12, 2007

why is it that some "purists" get so upset when american words creep into the vocabulary, (even though this actually was not the case here, as previously pointed out). maybe we should get rid of all the arab words in spanish too, since they're the product of the moorish invasion in spain, a clearly aggresive act.

languages are influenced by other languages. bodies like the RAE who try to control the language are ridiculous. if people commonly use a word and that word is commonly understood, then it doesn't matter if the RAE "accepts" it as part of the spanish vocabulary, it already is part.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Use of "court" in the US Jun 12, 2007

"...since "cortes" has traditionally been used in Spain to refer to legislative assemblies"

Where I live, Texas, we have what we call the "County Commisioner's Court" headed by the "County Judge". It is not a judicial, but a legislative authority. In El Paso County it is being investigated by the FBI for crooked dealings.

Not much new under the sun, I guess.

Saludos, Marcelo, I enjoyed your comments.


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María Diehn  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All depends on context: true. Jun 13, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

It all depends on that, including the origin and destination countries. And that is not the only term we have to deal with. It goes on forever.


Context is wider that we normally think. Not only subject matter, time, space, language, dialect, jargon, style, personal circumstances of the source text writer, editor, target reader; social and political structures, trends and memories... only to mention some items of an ever-growing list. This sheds light on why it is risky to make generic assertions, and on many other fields. Context. This would be an interesting concept to develop further in a forum.


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María Diehn  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ask the Asker Section [In Spanish] Jun 13, 2007

[quote] Marcelo Silveyra wrote:

If there was anything in that thread that caught my attention, it was the rather impolite - to say the least - "Hazme el favor" in the Ask Asker section.

I've already written more than once about the ivory tower linguist approach - that's not a translator's job...

Comparto su apreciación acerca del enfoque del lingüista en su torre de marfil.

Por otra parte, mi participación en Proz me ha llevado a ver cada día más lo falibles que somos. Respondo preguntas con una certeza total, solo para darme cuenta después de que en las carreras, leí mal, o respondí en un idioma que no correspondía, o dije una tontería...

Pasando al tema de la polémica, la primera vez que me di cuenta de la manera como se percibe en los Estados Unidos la palabra "corte" fue cuando José Alejandro me corrigió una respuesta hace como dos meses. Me pareció una observación válida, me fue útil y se la agradecí. Cuando volvió a surgir el tema en el escenario de preguntas y respuestas, vi que necesitaba un debate y el aporte de todos los interesados. Uno de los puntos es la diferencia de los esquemas jurídicos derivados del Código de Napoleón y los basados fundamentalmente en la historia de las decisiones que se han tomado sobre los problemas. Coincidentalmente, la última revista de la ATA trae un estudio juicios o sobre el tema de la traducción de la palabra “Court” al portugués. Es un artículo exactamente sobre nuestro tema, pero referido a Brasil, donde con una organización política federal tienen instituciones jurídicas basadas en el derecho romano. A José Alejandro le expliqué mi punto de vista, y quiero compartirlo con ustedes.


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JoseAlejandro
United States
Local time: 23:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Holding Court Jun 13, 2007

Yes, context is everything, and this only proves my point about "Corte" (more on this in a quick sec), and Context is exactly why folks get upset when I post disagrees and make arguments, when they take things out of context and make them personal. Do you really have thin skin? Or, is this just a distraction? If I say "hazme el favor", it's me raising my palm to my forehead, thinking, "wow, we learned about this in our first two months in interpreting school." And, please folks, I'm not talking out of my butt. Many current proz users attended this institution; in fact, it is the school that has generated the most interpreters in the state of California, which has the lowest passing rate in the nation-- a lower passing rate than the state bar exam for attorneys. Please know this is not about josealejandro being anti-"corte", it's what many of us have been taught. My conscious is clear that I have not deliberately offended or insulted anyone, because that would be impossible. I don't know any of you, personally; you have no stake in my opinion, nor do I have any in yours.

But, I have been invited to participate in this forum, and I will proceed to argue against the term corte. Here are my two cents:

So, because context is everything, I propose we ask, ok, when IS "corte" an appropriate term for "court"? Marcelo is absolutely correct when he reports to us that each of those aforementioned countries have official websites for their respective "Cortes Supremas de justicia". The direct equivalent for this in English would be the "(U.S.) Supreme Court", meaning it is the highest judicial body of the land. Let's take a leap back in history and think about King Arthur's Court, as the sovereign organ that rules over the land, that (along with varied forms of church intervention) encompassed executive, legislative and judicial powers. As the supreme law of the country, it is correct and appropriate to use Corte for these entities in El Salvador, México, etc. I think Rebecca Jowers furthers my point by showing how its current use is in the legislative, not judicial, realm; like any supreme court, of any country, its function is more oversight, than general practice. That is why the rest get called "Tribunal", "Juzgado", or simply "juez", which, to me, should be the most obvious choice. When you hear or read, "The court issued orders...", for instance, we all know it's the "juez" that is taking the action. Yes, context is everything, and this is why we must be specific.

A court of appeals, like the one described in the aforementioned question, is not the highest court of the land.

We are taught (at this same school) that it is ok to say corte, given the custom of some countries to do so when there are more than three judges, or rather, when there is a panel of judges. In the U.S., this only occurs at the supreme court level of each state, and the nation, of course. Even in this case, I would personally opt to use "tribunal colegiado", and reserve "corte" for its sole purpose.

And, when do we use "judicial"? Whenever the English uses court as an adjective, because that happens in Engish, not in Spanish. Court document, court reporter, court order. Isn't it just easier to say "intérprete judicial", as opposed to "intérprete de la corte"?

As far as what people will understand, or what "they are used to"......I think it is wholly inappropriate to assume or even define what regions speak or understand. Once again, Marcelo is correct: we are not linguists, or scholars. It's not about using "corte" because that's what the people use, it's about using the correct translation, period. Honestly, it has been my experience that EVERYONE understands when I DON'T use "corte" and use the appropriate term. Yes, many times they answer back with "corte", as in Liz Askew's example. But, that doesn't mean that they didn't understand the proper terms. People know and appreciate it when formal language is used, even if they don't speak that way. They still read the paper, and watch the news, and they recognize what's correct.

The fact is that "corte"'s use has been over-generalized. And, that's that. Like a plague, latin-american businesses and agencies have infested U.S. latino communities with deplorable Spanish for many, many lamentable years. This happens in spite of the RAE, so the RAE isn't really the point. This isn't a neologism, and it isn't about English words creeping into the Spanish language. This isn't about language evolving...somebody just kept making the same mistake over and over again. Oh, and American globalization has been going on for a very long time, before the term was even invented. Manifest destiny, anyone?


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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 23:26
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Formal language...where? Jun 16, 2007

That's yet another generalization If you do some quick research, you'll find that Honduras has 9 "cortes de apelaciones," Bolivia has "cortes de distrito," the Dominican Republic has the "Corte de Apelación," Guatemala has "cortes de apelación," and Honduras has "cortes de apelaciones, integración, presidencia, requisitos, rango y precedencia, inhabilidades, incompatibilidades y prohibiciones." That took me 3 minutes to find. Tops. I don't know how many other Latin American countries include the word "corte" in their judicial system, but you have 5 right there. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, Adriana de Groote, who is from Guatemala, insisted that the term "corte de apelación" is used in her country, but you went right over her anyway. Now, if we were talking about colloquial use, I'd agree with you, but these are official names we're talking about. I would fail to see how you can argue against that.

Now, I am not going to question your own translation abilities. For all I know, you might be the most brilliant EnglishSpanish translator on the face of the Earth, and that's perfectly fine. But regarding going to a school with "a lower passing rate than the state bar exam for attorneys," here are my two cents: I graduated from two very prestigious institutions - one time from Electronics and Communications Engineering, the other from Music, both with flying colors. I recall, during a course called "Digital Systems 2," that only 3 people passed in a class of about 35. The average grade? Roughly 35 out of 100. At least half of my class either dropped out or graduated at least a year later than what would have been the normal graduation date. And I know plenty of mediocre engineers who made it through, regardless of the fact that the stuff was actually quite difficult. And don't even get me started on the Music school...that was way worse. So, while I do not doubt that you might be a great translator (and I say this without the slightest hint of irony), the fact that you graduated from the school that you did does not instantly turn you or the school's teachers into superior authorities, which I believe is amply proven by at least 5 Latin American countries' official judicial systems.

And while we're talking about formal terminology: "American globalization" is way off. That would be imperialism, followed later by cultural imperialism; both well-studied and well-defined fields in history. It's not like we can talk about Roman globalization, Persian globalization, or even British globalization, is it?



[Edited at 2007-06-16 08:16]


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JoseAlejandro
United States
Local time: 23:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ok, then... Jun 16, 2007

Dude, I'm not hiring you for a gig...I only mentioned the school because it only shows that I'm not the only, the first or the last person to know this about "corte" This isn't about me, and it isn't about you. There is no you and I, here. Chill.

These "cortes" which you speak of can easily, correctly be translated, by operation of synonym, as "tribunales colegiados" for a general, spanish-speaking community. So, then we speak of aesthetic differences and personal creativity, and choices. Can we engage in argument on this topic? I'd be happy to try.

I don't consider myself brilliant, not in the least. I've been a working class interpreter for the past 7+ years who enjoys research, and mixing it up from time to time with my colleagues. I just wish that some of y'all wouldn't take things so personal.

And, so, still, for reasons aforementioned, "corte" should ONLY be used for the specific translation of the "U.S. Supreme Court". All of these "cortes" in the countries that Marcelo enumerates don't exist in the same way. Earlier, someone else spoke of marked differences between judicial systems.


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