The Jumbled Mexican Civil Procedure Code
Thread poster: Jonathan Norris

Jonathan Norris  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 6, 2016

Hey proz colleagues!

I just have to say, I am having the misfortune to have a few passages from the Mexican Civil Procedures Code show up in a file I am translating, and I am finding the language to be one long, impossibly tangled, mangled and jumbled web of a mess, and full of usages I've never seen before. As if someone has taken some perfectly good sentences, crammed them into a blender, hit puree and dumped the sticky result into my inbox. Has anyone else had this problem?

Every sentence is worse than the last, and I can hardly believe this language is used in rules that people are expected to follow. Forget about stating things clearly to simplify compliance, it seems more like the purpose is to obfuscate instead of illuminate.

On that note, does anyone know of any resources I could reference that would make translating it easier? Or at least help me understand some of it? I'm a pretty astute reader of legalese but this might be my limit. If you can't help, at least you can comiserate, I'd love to hear about your experiences with impossible regulatory gobbledy gook and what you did to cope with the assignment.

May all of your projects be interesting and payments be on time!


[Edited at 2016-05-06 22:10 GMT]

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Lawyer-fest May 7, 2016

Hi Jonathan -

Having recently translated a lengthy part of the Italian law on gaming with machines, I feel your pain.

I found that the text was riddled with ambiguities and unclear statements, probably put there on purpose, and leaving the legal profession to fight each case by offering tendentious interpretations of legislation that is designed not to help them.

This was an eye-opening experience for me. In the end I realised that if something is unclear or ambiguous in the source text of a piece of legislation, that isn't because I'm failing to understand it; it's deliberate and my job is to reproduce that same lack of clarity, or ambiguity, in my translation.

[Edited at 2016-05-07 07:59 GMT]

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:04
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I commiserate May 7, 2016

I commiserate with you, Jonathan.
I frequently translate legal stuff from both French and Spanish to English. It's always more difficult with Spanish because Hispanic lawyers appear to be allergic to finishing sentences. Untangling the endless subordinate clauses, embedded in one another Russian doll-style, can be nightmarish. Sometimes I start a new sentence - when I can grasp who must or mustn't do what, when, etc., according to what clause of what law, etc., although I daresay lawyers wouldn't approve such simplicity. As Tom says, if the source text is ambiguous and you can't consult the author about what he/she means, then your translation will inevitably be ambiguous too.
¡Buena suerte!

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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:04
French to Spanish
+ ...
Legalese May 7, 2016

I feel the same about French and USA or UK laws.

Legalese is not clearly written in any country, specially if the texts are old or outdated.

I have found this (check it, who knows?):

Happy translating!

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