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Comparative Law for Legal Translators


Guadalupe Soriano-Barabino

One of the central challenges facing translators of legal texts is the ability to fully understand the requirements of the various legal systems worldwide. In this respect, comparative law plays an important role in legal translation, as it allows for the identification of similarities and differences among legal systems.

While the practice of legal translation requires an excellent knowledge of comparative law for the linguistic transfer to be successful, educational institutions do not usually train their students in how to make the most of comparative law in the translation of legal texts or how to rationally solve the problems arising from the differences that inevitably exist between legal systems. After emphasizing the importance of comparative law in the field of legal translation, this volume focuses on the main concepts that characterize some of the most relevant legal systems in the world and puts theory into practice by offering some exercises on comparative law applied to translation.

This volume will be of interest to the growing number of students, teachers, professionals and researchers working in the field of legal translation.

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Part III The Common Law Tradition


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The Common Law Tradition

As in the previous part centred on the civil law family, several legal systems belonging to the common law tradition are now analysed. To this aim, the focus is on the main aspects that are considered particularly useful for translators and interpreters in order to grasp the fundamentals of the different legal systems. Aspects related to particular branches of law, such as family law, contracts, criminal law, and the like are not discussed, given the large number of legal texts of various typologies and content that legal translators may encounter and the difficulty of deciding which ones would be most useful to concentrate on.

Even though the legal systems described and compared in the following chapters share a common language, the evolution of national law and the language itself has led to the fact that on occasions the same terms do not refer to the same realities in different countries. As an example, High Court in the United States refers to the US Supreme Court whereas in England it refers to a particular court that is not at the top of the jurisdictional system (see Section 7.4). It is for this reason that some of the exercises suggested in Chapter 11 are aimed at raising awareness about the dissimilarities in meaning that identical English terms can have in different legal systems. ← 99 | 100 →

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