Legal abbreviations in a translation
Thread poster: Kevin Schlottmann
Kevin Schlottmann  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
German to English
Jan 16, 2004

I am translating documents about law that repeatedly cite abbreviated statutes.

Should I footnote each instance, or only footnote it once, or make a table at the end, or replace the abbreviations with their English equivalent (e.g. ZPO with CPC)?

Any thoughts would be very helpful.


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:45
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
It depends Jan 17, 2004

Hello Kevin,
Each case is different I think. If the translation of the abreviations (in the target language) is well-known for the public, then I would translate them. For every other case I would ask the client/agency, since in my experience, different clients have different preferences.
HTH,
Monika


Kevin Schlottmann wrote:


I am translating documents about law that repeatedly cite abbreviated statutes.

Should I footnote each instance, or only footnote it once, or make a table at the end, or replace the abbreviations with their English equivalent (e.g. ZPO with CPC)?

Any thoughts would be very helpful.


[Edited at 2004-01-17 17:04]


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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:45
French to English
Check that the footnotes really need to be translated Jan 17, 2004

Very often the client does not in fact want the footnotes translating, so it's always worth checking first!

As far as I know, there's no set way to translate legal footnotes - I do a lot of FR/E legal translation and reread other translators' translations. Some give an explnation of the abbreviation the first time then just use the French abbreviation, others "translate" the abbreviation if there is an equivalent in English.
Good Luck!


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xxxylvabeck
Local time: 21:45
English to Swedish
+ ...
Do not replace with the English equivalent Jan 17, 2004

Hi Kevin,

Replacing with the English equivalent would not be a good idea, this is normally not done by lawyers when referring to a foreign law.

An explanation is good (translation of the whole name of the statute), personally I think your idea of a table at the end is very good.



Kevin Schlottmann wrote:

I am translating documents about law that repeatedly cite abbreviated statutes.

Should I footnote each instance, or only footnote it once, or make a table at the end, or replace the abbreviations with their English equivalent (e.g. ZPO with CPC)?

Any thoughts would be very helpful.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Make sure the abbreviations are official abbreviations Jan 19, 2004

Kevin Schlottmann wrote:
I am translating documents about law that repeatedly cite abbreviated statutes. Should I... replace the abbreviations with their English equivalent (e.g. ZPO with CPC)?


My situation may be different from yours: I work in a statutory bilingual country and I work for a general daily newspaper.

One thing I have noticed is that many abbreviations for bills, acts, amendments etc are not official abbreviations. Various state departments, NGOs, legal companies etc often just create these on the spot. Some abbreviations are "natural" (for example, "NGO" is a natural abbreviation for "non-governmental organisation", but while "NO" and "NGMO" are possibly valid too, they are not as natural). In some cases, one term eventually gains more widespread use. And in some cases, no version becomes the dominant one.

My point is: are these abbreviations of yours *standard* or *official* abbreviations? If not, you may have more liberty to use an abbreviation in the target language.


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Glyn Haggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:45
German to English
A suggestion Jan 19, 2004

I often translate legal documents from German into English; my policy, learned during a spell with a law firm in Germany, is to leave the title in German, but to then place the English translation in brackets the first time the reference appears, along with the abbreviation if I intend to use the abbreviation in the remainder of the docket. Thus, for example, "Aussenwirtschaftsgesetz" in the German text would appear as "Aussenwirtschaftsgesetz (German Foreign Trade Act, AWG)" in my translation. I would then refer to it as "AWG" in the rest of the document. I would be reluctant to use an English abbreviation unless I knew it to be an accepted one. Just a suggestion - hope it helps.

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Kevin Schlottmann  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone Jan 19, 2004

>One thing I have noticed is that many abbreviations for bills, acts, amendments etc are not official abbreviations.


Point well taken. After consultation with my client, who actually wants to know what the citations are (and may want me to chase them down and have me translate those as well!) I have decided to footnote each abbreviation when it first comes up, giving both the full German name and an English translation, and then continue to use the German abbreviations as the appear in the text.

Thanks to everyone!


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pkanji
Spanish to English
ABBREVIATIONS:table or footnote? Sep 29, 2011

Hi,

I did not want to start a thread on a similar topic, but I am currently working on a text in which there are many many abbreviations of the Spanish Law, for example CE or constitucion espanol

Since my work is not for a client and is a thesis, I too am wondering if I could translate these into English, although there are previous translations of these names in English I wonder if this would still be inaccurate since some laws i.e organic law: LOPJ do not exist in the English system.


I thought that a glossary to explain these terms would perhaps solve this problems and then I could either translate into English or leave in Spanish.


any thoughts welcome!

Thank you


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