For Fre>Eng Legal Translators: Style Question
Thread poster: Mark Hamlen

Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:42
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 29, 2012

I've never been satisfied with any way of handling French decisions which are in the form:

Considerant, blah, blah and so on; que.......; que......; que;

Que.....;

Que....;

This French style of recapping the case in endless run-on sentences is so very foreign to English and extremely hard to follow in French, and nearly impossible in the same form in English. Lately I've adopted a leaner manner of dropping all the "considerants" and the "ques" and turning all the semicolon bits into complete sentences. It certainly reads easier, especially for someone who's never seen a French decision. My regular clients are happy with it, but is this standard procedure (I don't see any other people's work) and I wonder if I have gone too far? Is there a better way of handling this?

I'd like to know how my colleagues have resolved this.

Below is a sample:

Considérant, aux termes de l'article L 111-1 du code de la propriété intellectuelle, que «L'auteur d'une oeuvre de l'esprit jouit sur cette oeuvre, du seul fait de sa création, d'un droit de propriété incorporelle exclusif et opposable à tous”; que ce droit est conféré, selon l'article L 112-1 du même code, à l'auteur de toute oeuvre de l'esprit, quels qu'en soit le genre, la forme d'expression, le mérite ou la destination; que sont notamment considérées comme oeuvres de l'esprit, selon l'article L.112-2, 10°, “les oeuvres des arts appliqués”;

Under the terms of Article L. 112-1 of the Code of Intellectual Property, “The author of a work of the mind benefits from an intangible right of ownership to this work solely on the basis of having created it and this right is enforceable with regard to everyone.” According to Article L 112-1 of this Code, this right is conferred to the author of any work of the mind, regardless of the genre, form of expression, the merit or intended use. “Works of the applied arts” are in particular considered to be works of the mind according to Article L.112-2, paragraph 10.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:42
German to English
+ ...
It's how I've always done it Mar 30, 2012

for a journal that publishes European court decisions for the US, and I've never had any complaints, so I assume it's the way to go!

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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:42
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks David Mar 30, 2012

Just needed a confirmation. Expected more dissenting opinions, though. I once submitted a test in this form to an agency and their "reviewer" said that my translation was "poor and very unfaithful to the original." I was offended, but since then I've wondered how other people translate court decisions. It's not something I translate every day; mostly it's contracts and court submissions and they mostly use fairly normal French.

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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:42
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
same here Mar 30, 2012

This is what I do with judgments too, particularly the use of full sentences. I have checked this with some of my friends who are practicing legal professionals (monolingual English) and they seem to concur. It looks natural in the English, is easier to read and essentially detracts nothing from the source, even if it might look "very unfaithful to the original". I can't recall many complaints and none from direct clients (i.e. law firms/ legal publishers).

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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 11:42
Romanian to English
+ ...
same here Mar 30, 2012

I translate legal docs. issued by the DOJ into my native language and I rather translate faithfully the meaning, than the text itself. Obviously there are reviewers (with no legal background) who constantly change my version in order " to bring it closer to the English wording" !

Waste of time to explain the legal meaning of certain phrases.

Lee


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