Translating the names of German laws and acts
Thread poster: xxxBlurbfly

xxxBlurbfly
Local time: 16:41
French to English
+ ...
Nov 6, 2004

What is the absolute correct procedure when translating the names of laws and acts? I am translating from German to English. Should the original be left and the translation provided in brackets i.e Atomgesetz (Nuclear Energy Act), or vice versa: Nuclear Energy Act (Atomgesetz). Which way round? Which should be in italics? Obviously the acts and laws don't exist as such in the target language and so any translation is an approximation.
Many thanks in advance..


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:41
German to English
+ ...
It's probably a matter of taste... Nov 6, 2004

...but most of the time, all you have are abbreviations, in which case I put the German long form in square brackets and the English approximation in round brackets afterwards, e.g. "...HGB [Handelsgesetzbuch (German Commercial Code)]...".

I really like the way the translators deal with these problems in their translation of CISG cases (cf. http://www.cisg.law.pace.edu/cisg/wais/db/cases2/970723g2.html ). Notice that the translator uses the same technique as I do in the extract. In the translation of a case below, the translator leaves the abbreviations and explains their meanings in a footnote, the "Translator's note on other abbreviations".

[Edited at 2004-11-06 16:32]


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 17:41
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Taste, taste, and more taste... Nov 7, 2004

I like to take the following approach:

The first time the name of an act comes up (e.g., §181 BGB) I write: section 181 of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB - German Civil Code) - thus writing the full name of the act (in italics, but I can't do that here), with the abbreviation and English translation in parentheses.

Every subsequent time that act is mentioned, I just use the abbreviation.

There is one generally observed convention, however:

§ = section
Absatz = putting that number in parentheses after the section number
Nr. = no.
Satz = sentence

e.g.: § 297 Absatz 2 Satz 2 HGB = section 297 (2) sentence 2 of the Handelsgesetzbuch (HGB - German Commercial Code).

FWIW,

Alison


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xxxBlurbfly
Local time: 16:41
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the replies, one more thing... Nov 7, 2004

Alison, up till now I've been writing 'Article' instead of 'Section'. Does this matter, or does an 'article' only exist as such in England (or the U.S)?

I particulary like the way you put the 'Abs.' in parentheses, i.e. Section 297 (2). This is a much more tidy approach than say: section 297, para. 2.


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:41
German to English
+ ...
Check it out... Nov 7, 2004

"...as provided by United States Code, title 25, chapter 8, subchapter I, part A, section 631, subsection (d), paragraph (4), subparagraph (G)." (see: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/arule/Section4.htm ). The Consitution has articles.

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Alison Kennedy
Local time: 17:41
Italian to English
+ ...
Have a look at this article from the Translation Journal Dec 18, 2004

This is an article that I came across which appeared in the Translation Journal back in October 1997. The author teaches legal translation at a vocational college for translators and interpretors at Erlangen.

I found it very stimulating reading and it supports my belief that in this particular field (legal translation), a professional translator requires both linguistic and legal qualifications.

You will also see how important footnotes are in translating legal documents, especially since civil law does not have equivalents in common law.

I hope others will also find the article interesting.

Here is the address:

accurapid.com/journal/02wkshop.htm


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