New Series, Vol. 1
Exploring and Developing Legal Translation Competence: Learning from the Old Dogs
Abstract: The need for well-trained legal translators is increasing globally (Obenaus, 1995; Šarčević, 1997; 2000; Asensio, 2003; Llopis, 2007). This is also true for South Africa, where government received an instruction through a high court ruling in 2010 to publish legislation in the other official South African languages, not only in English. This development holds far-reaching implications for the training of legal translators. The present paper focuses on legal translation competence, and relies heavily on Chesterman’s (1997) five levels of general translation competence. In a novice-expert paradigm, the aim of this paper is to determine the difference and extent of the perceived gap between experienced and inexperienced translators. Findings indicate that legal translator competence follows the same route of automatization as general translator competence; that both groups prefer faithful translation methods but for different reasons; that experienced translators are more aware of translation problems; that experienced translators consult sources more often and use a wider variety of sources; and that experienced translators are more aware of the need for accuracy and precision when translating legal texts.
Keywords: novice translator; expert translator; translator training; translation method; translation strategy; time on task; translation problems; doublets; triplets; quadruplets; word strings.
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