Rhetoric/phatic language in spanish legal texts
Thread poster: pkanji
pkanji
Spanish to English
Oct 3, 2011

Hello all,


I am curious to learn more about how translators deal with such language in legal texts?

In your personal opinions do such features characterize judgments?

From personal experience, I believe in retaining the original style and legal formality.

Does anybody know of any good resources in respect of such features ?, particularly for judgments/court decisions?

Phrases like 'in this respect' or 'in short' or we must begin by stating..'En este sentido hay que comenzar afirmando la existencia', can such phrases be considered as phatic phrases?

I believe such phrases and expression must be transferred in the same way to convey a similar meaning in the TL.

This is extremely important for judgments, in which persuasion and affirmation play crucial roles and I wonder if other more experienced translators agree or do not see this as being a problem.


Thank you


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
All in, all out Oct 3, 2011

pkanji wrote:

Hello all,


I am curious to learn more about how translators deal with such language in legal texts?

In your personal opinions do such features characterize judgments?

From personal experience, I believe in retaining the original style and legal formality.

Does anybody know of any good resources in respect of such features ?, particularly for judgments/court decisions?

Phrases like 'in this respect' or 'in short' or we must begin by stating..'En este sentido hay que comenzar afirmando la existencia', can such phrases be considered as phatic phrases?

I believe such phrases and expression must be transferred in the same way to convey a similar meaning in the TL.

This is extremely important for judgments, in which persuasion and affirmation play crucial roles and I wonder if other more experienced translators agree or do not see this as being a problem.


Thank you


With legal texts, in my opinion the best bet is to leave all of their long-winded obscurantist blather intact, except for the most dispensable items. You are after all translating the content of the original, which in principle should be free from innuendo and/or implicit value judgements. Others may disagree, but that's my take on it.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Completely agree! Oct 3, 2011

neilmac wrote:
With legal texts, in my opinion the best bet is to leave all of their long-winded obscurantist blather intact, except for the most dispensable items. You are after all translating the content of the original, which in principle should be free from innuendo and/or implicit value judgements. Others may disagree, but that's my take on it.

I completely agree. Additionally, in order to know what usual expressions are used in one language or the other, it is best to get training on the matter from an expert, in an adequate seminar or course.


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pkanji
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Disagreement Oct 3, 2011

I believe this would be the case with most legal texts, but with judgments in particular, one must retain a similar style.

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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 12:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Baffled. Oct 3, 2011

pkanji wrote:

Disagreement

I believe this would be the case with most legal texts, but with judgments in particular, one must retain a similar style.


What are you disagreeing with? What does 'this' refer to? With whom do you disagree? - with yourself?

You asked whether:


... other more experienced translators agree or do not see this as being a problem.


You have barely left the topic open long enough to garner two somewhat tentative responses, and already you are saying you 'disagree'.

So, having re-claimed the floor, why don't you tell us what you think? For starters, why would the 'rules' be different for "most legal texts" as opposed to "judgments in particular".

MediaMatrix


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pkanji
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
My opinions Oct 4, 2011

Firstly, I am NOT a legal translator I am a student.

While I AGREE to a certain degree with the translators and the manner in which they would address such translation problems, I feel that Judgments should retain a similar style in the TL and that I WOULD tend to translate closely to the original, i.e retain the rhetoric structure, figurative language and so on and so forth.


I focus on judgments because it is a text I am currently looking at, which is a spanish judgment, of course it should read well in English, however English Judgments are completely distinct from spanish judgments, and therefore, in terms of structure and language I WOULD follow the original text using conjunctives to shorten sentence length etc.


I hope this is clearer. Certainly my intention was to understand how translators deal with such issues, however all of the above is how I would deal with documents such as judgments.


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imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Never modify Oct 4, 2011

If you are translating a legal term, it will normally be read and used by lawyers and som, and they will completely understand that specific way of the legal language.

And yes, each country has its specific manners for judgements, legal terms and expressions.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 23:16
Chinese to English
Of course you think that Oct 5, 2011

if you're a student.

Sorry. I may be a little cynical here. But my feeling is that students often don't have the knowledge and confidence to really "get" a text, and they seem to think that translating very literally is somehow "safe".

As you get better at translation (and I don't mean to be patronising with that - this is a profession, and you will certainly get better over time), you'll develop a) techniques that allow you to retain accuracy while at the same time producing readable English; and b) a better understanding of texts that will allow you to select English equivalents with confidence, even if the syntactic form of the English equivalents isn't the same as the ST.

What I hope you leave behind very quickly is this clinging to the source text like a life raft. It is NOT true that exact syntactic equivalence with the source text is a safe fallback. All you will do is create stuff which is unreadable.


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pkanji
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
My theory Oct 5, 2011

Hi Phil,


Thank you for your advice, and you are right perhaps a student's way of thinking is far from that of a professional, but what I am saying is that if a similar structure is possible in the TT, provided it reads well in English, but more importantly, that the meaning is clearly conveyed, then surely one can achieve a good translation?

Overall, I agree with the viewpoint of professional translator. I am the only person on my course with absolutely no experience in translation and limited knowledge in law, so advice is invaluable.

I agree that translation should get better and the more familiar one becomes with concepts, structure etc of a certain type of document, the easier it becomes. For me, this is still a learning curb and I believe that as long as my viewpoint can be supported, in theory and in practice of course, then I am on the right path!


Thank you Phil


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Andre Dumoulin  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 10:16
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Which spanish? Oct 5, 2011

In Spanish you legal terms and also rhetoric terms vary considerably from one country to the other: Mainly you have spanish-european (including Spain, Argentina, Chile) and Spanish-American (including Mexico, Colombia, Central America) where legal words are used with different meanings. Try for example to translate a legal concept like "tax control" or "Tax audit" in Spanish and you will have fun...So an important point is to determine from which country the reader of your translation is...There is more variance among spanish-speaking countries legal systems than among English-speaking countries legal systems.

[Edited at 2011-10-05 16:35 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-10-05 16:46 GMT]


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