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Lost in the Eurofog: The Textual Fit of Translated Law

Second Revised Edition


Łucja Biel

The book is one of the few in-depth investigations into the nature of EU legal translation and its impact on national legal languages. It is also the first attempt to characterise EU Polish, a language of supranational law and a hybrid variant of legal Polish emerging via translation. The book applies Chesterman's concept of textual fit, that is how translations differ from non-translations, to demonstrate empirically on large corpora how the Polish eurolect departs from the conventions of legal and general Polish both at the macrostructural and microstructural level. The findings are juxtaposed with the pre-accession version of Polish law to track the 'Europeanisation' of legal Polish – recent changes brought about by the unprecedented inflow of EU translations.

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Conclusions: The Role of Translation in the European Union


The objective of the EUROFOG project was to analyse the impact of Poland’s accession to the EU on the Polish language of the law. It has been postulated and empirically demonstrated that the Polish of EU law is a distinct variety of legal Polish (a eurolect) which is connected with the genre of EU legislation. From the national perspective, the genre of EU legislation is one of the nested genres within the hypergenre of legislation and is recontextualised against the other nested genre — the genre of Polish national law. Both genres dynamically interact with one another through multiple embeddings: Polish law has been subject to harmonisation with EU law which has supremacy over it but EU terminology overlaps with and borrows the ‘pre-loaded’ terms of Polish law. From the supranational perspective, the genre of EU legislation shows a different type of complexity: it is realised in each official language and generalises over various national eurolects, being also a common denominator of national legal systems.

These circumstances take their toll on the language in which EU law is communicated and induce its hybridity. This has been evidenced for EU Polish, the conventions of which significantly depart from the generic conventions of Polish law and from the Polish recipients’ expectancy norms. First, since EU Polish is a language of multilingual law connected with the activity of law-making at the supranational level, it serves different goals and social practices, which is reflected in the distribution of linguistic features. Secondly,...

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