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Legal language in intercultural communication/Teises kalba tarpkulturineje komunikacijoje.

Introduction

The topicality of the article and prior coverage of the issue. In intercultural communication one does not only need a good command of languages, but also a thorough knowledge of the societies involved, their culture, conventions and norms. Official sets of norms entrenched in the given legal systems directly affect the intercultural communication as they constitute "the rules of the game" which are to be followed by the parties. Therefore, the legal language and its translation is an important instrument which enables communication parties to understand each other and cooperate. Legal translation issues have generated a big interest among translators and translation researchers in the last decades and nowadays translation analyses of legal documents and discussions on various aspects of legal translation constitute considerable part of the topical translation issues.

The biggest focus in the legal translation research papers is turned on the legal terminology translation as terminology is the core of legal language and precision of its translation is of vital importance for successful intercultural communication. The scope of studies on the legal terminology translation encompasses the analysis of the role of legal translation in intercultural communication (Kocbek 2006; Pommer 2008), principles of comparative legal terminology (Sandrini 1996, 1999), translation strategies used for legal terminology (Harvey 2000; Biel 2006), modern legal terminology mining methods (Biel 2008), assessment of bilingual law dictionaries (de Groot; van Laer 2007) and other issues.

In Lithuania, however, comparative research on legal terms is just taking its first steps. Most of comparative papers so far have concentrated on semantics and formation of terms in different legal systems (Januleviciene, Liuoliene 2006; Rackeviciene 2008a, 2008b; Januleviciene, Rackeviciene 2009, 2010). The legal terminology translation strategies have been hardly studied in Lithuania, though lots of legal documents are translated every day into and from Lithuanian. This paper is an attempt to compare legal terminology translation strategies in two English Lithuanian law dictionaries which are the primary reference source for both translators and other people involved in intercultural communication between Lithuania and other countries.

The aim of the research. The aim of the research is to analyse and compare the translation strategies employed by the compilers of two English-Lithuanian law dictionaries in translation of the law terms defining specific concepts of the English-Welsh legal system.

The object of the research. The research is targeted at translations of the English-Welsh legal system terms in the following dictionaries:

--Vita Bitinaite "Mokomasis anglu-lietuviu kalbu teises terminu zodynas", 2008 (onwards "Dictionary1");

--Olimpija Armalyte, Lionginas Pazusis "Anglu-lietuviu kalbu teises zodynas", 1998 (onwards "Dictionary2");

These dictionaries provide term meanings in the English-Welsh and other Anglo-American legal systems. However, the analysis offered in the article focuses solely on translations of the term meanings in the English-Welsh legal sys tem. The translation of each term is presented in exactly the same way as it is given in the dictionary--equivalents, explanatory notes and abbreviations. "Back" translations of the terms, as well as translations of the explanatory notes are also given in the paper.

The applied research methods. The analysis was performed using descriptive and contrastive methods which allowed describing and comparing the translation strategies used for legal terminology in the examined dictionaries.

The theoretical framework

Legal terminology translation poses special challenges to translators as legal language is "very much a system-bound language, i.e. a language related to a specific legal system"(de Groot and van Laer 2007: 173). Legal terms are created for a particular legal system and are closely related to the culture, values and law traditions of the nation. Their meaning is shaped by the legal documents of the national legal system. Therefore, as P. Sandrini (1999: 1-5) has pointed out, absolute equivalence between legal concepts from different legal systems is hardly possible as most legal concepts will have only partly similar functions in a source and target legal systems.

Legal translation requires both cognitive and communicative approach to the material--the knowledge of source and target legal systems and assessment of the recipient and the function of the target text. Some researchers (Harvey 2000: 2) point out that different translation strategies should be used for lay readers and for lawyers, as well as for the texts to be used for information purposes and for the texts to be used as legal documents in the target language. Though dictionaries are intended for much wider and multi-interest reading audience than a single coherent text, their compilers also have to define their main target group and its possible needs.

Translation strategies for legal terms, as other culture-bound terms, range from target language (onwards TL) oriented strategies to source language (onwards SL) oriented strategies. However, the same language may have several variants of legal languages because "a language has as many legal languages as there are systems using this language as a legal language" (de Groot and van Laer 2007: 174). For example, legal English is used in different legal systems (the legal system of England and Wales, the legal system of Scotland, the legal system of the US, etc.) which employ quite different legal languages with different systems of legal concepts. Therefore, TL and SL in legal translation do not refer to discussed languages in general, but to legal languages of specific legal systems. The TL-oriented strategies try to assimilate the SL legal terms into the target language and legal system while the SL-oriented strategies seek to preserve the semantic content (and sometimes the linguistic form) of the SL legal terms intact.

The TL-oriented strategy constitutes functional equivalence, i.e. the use of the TL legal concept, the function of which is similar to that of the SL legal concept. The most usual SL-oriented strategies are formal equivalence (literal translation) and borrowing. Another widely used strategy for translation of legal terminology is description of the meaning of the term. This strategy is regarded as "a compromise solution, avoiding the extremes of both SL- and TL-oriented strategies" (Harvey 2000: 2). Each of the mentioned translation techniques has its advantages and disadvantages; therefore, the translator has to assess every term and decide which of the strategies is to be preferred for its translation.
          Common law

Dictionary 1     Dictionary 2

bendroji teise   bendroji teise
common law       common law

                      Equity

Dictionary 1                        Dictionary 2

teisingumas (specifine bendrosios   teisingumas, teisingumu
  teises sistemos kategorija)         paremta teise
"justice"                           "justice, law based
(specific category of                 on justice"
  common law system)


Analysis of translations of English legal terms in the English-Lithuanian law dictionaries

Legal English is directly affected by the Anglo-American legal system, based essentially on common law. It differs substantially from continental law, which is predominant in most of the European countries. Therefore, most legal concepts of the Anglo-American legal system are specific to this system and have no equivalents in continental law systems. The translator has to look for partial functional equivalents or employ other translation strategies. The analysis of the term translations below is aimed at revealing which strategies the Lithuanian terminologists use for translation of a chosen group of English legal terms. The chosen group comprises three types of terms: 1) the terms defining abstract concepts; 2) the terms defining legal professions; 3) the court names. The analysis concentrates only on the meaning of the terms in the English-Welsh legal system.

Translations of the terms defining abstract concepts

Translations of the four terms defining the basic concepts of the Anglo-Saxon law are chosen to illustrate the translation strategies used by the compilers of the analysed English-Lithuanian dictionaries--common law, case law, statute/ statutory law and equity.

The term common law defines the system of law developed in England and later adopted by English colonies. In contrast to civil (continental) law system, common law system places great weight on court decisions which have the same force of law as government-made laws (statutes). The term common law is also used in a narrower meaning which refers to common law as opposed to statutory (government-made) law and equity. Equity was developed in common law countries to supplement the existing common law where it seemed inadequate and unfair. Equity was administered by the Courts of Chancery, as distinct from common law which was administered by the courts of common law. The two systems have now merged and principles of both systems are applied by the same courts, according to J. Martin (2005: 14-17).

The dictionary compilers translate the term common law by using a formal equivalent which is a literal translation of the term--bendroji teise. This equivalent defines both meanings of common law, so the dictionary compilers do not distinguish the different meanings of the English term. However, common law in its broader meaning (as the whole system of law) is also referred to as anglosaksu teise (Anglosaxon law), anglu-amerikieciu teise (English-American law) in Lithuanian (Visuotine lietuviu enciklopedija 2003: 55). These terms indicate the creators and the main users of the legal system and thus might be helpful to a lay reader. Their inclusion would require to distinguish the different meanings of the term common law and thus would give a lay reader more information about its usage.
                       Case law

Dictionary 1                           Lith. Dictionary 2

precedentine teise, teismu praktika    precedentu teise
"precedent law, judicial practice"     "precedent law"

                   Statute/statutory law

Lith. Dictionary 1               Lith. Dictionary 2

istatymais nustatyta teise       istatymais itvirtinta teise
"law established by statutes"    "law enshrined in statutes"


The same translation strategy is used for translation of the term equity. It is translated by a formal equivalent (literal translation)--teisingumas "justice". Dictionary2 also gives a partly descriptive equivalent teisingumu paremta teise "law based on justice". These equivalents, however, may be misleading to a lay reader as the word teisingumas is associated with its usual meaning "justice" and not with a special system of law. Therefore, the explanatory note, given by the compiler of Dictionary1, is absolutely necessary there and might be even more specific.

The term case law refers to the body of law set out in judicial decisions while the term statute/statutory law defines the law which is based on Acts of Parliament (Martin et al. 2006).

The term case law is translated in different ways in the Lithuanian dictionaries. Dictionary1 gives two equivalents of the term while the Dictionary2--one equivalent. The first equivalent given in Dictionary1 and the only equivalent in Dictionary2 is precedentine/precedentu teise "precedent law". This equivalent might be called descriptive as the most usual meaning of the term case is "a court action" and only in special collocations it may acquire the meaning "precedent". The Lithuanian equivalent explains this special meaning of the term and therefore is to be regarded as the descriptive one. In addition to this equivalent, Dictionary1 presents a partial functional equivalent teismu praktika "judicial practice". This equivalent only partly reveals the meaning of the English term as, according to the legal authors, "the binding nature of judicial precedents in the common law countries and the doctrine of uniform court practice formation in the civil law countries cannot be equated" (Ambrasiene, Cirtautiene 2009: 73). Despite that, this partial equivalent enables a Lithuanian reader to relate the English concept to the practice used in the Lithuanian judicial system and thus to understand its meaning better. A short indication that this is only a partial equivalent would be helpful to the reader as well.

The term statutory law is translated into Lithuanian by descriptive equivalents which explain the meaning of the English term--Lith. istatymais nustatyta/itvirtinta teise "law established by/enshrined in statutes". However, these equivalents might also be understood in another way as the Lithuanian term teise has two meanings--"law" and "a right". This ambiguity could be avoided by adding another equivalent or a short explanatory note.

Translations of the terms defining legal professions

The analysis below deals with the terms defining two types of English lawyers (barristers and solicitors) and the terms defining two types of English judges (magistrates and stipendiary magistrates).
                  Barrister

Dictionary 1

teismo bylu advokatas, baristeris (turintis teise
kalbuti aukstesnes instancijos teisme)
"advocate of court cases"
(who has the right to speak in higher courts)

Dictionary 2

(DB) baristeris, teismu advokatas (Anglijos teismuose
kliento interesams atstovaujantis advokatas,
kurio darbas--zodinis bylos vedimas teisme)
"advocate in court"
(advocate who represents the client's interests in the English
courts and whose main function--to argue cases in court)

                Solicitor

Dictionary 1

advokatas, solisitorius (rengiantis bylas,
bet ppr. nedalyvaujantis teismo procese)
"advocate" (who prepares cases, but usually does
not participate in legal proceedings)

Dictionary 2

(Anglijoje ir Velse) advokatas (kaip atestuotas teisininkas
rengiantis teisinius dokumentus, teikiantis klientams teisine
pagalba ir jiems atstovaujantis kai kuriuose zemesniuose
teismuose); reikalu patiketinis; juriskonsultas; notaras


A barrister and a solicitor are two specific types of English lawyers with different functions. Barristers represent the clients in courts while solicitors' main functions are to advise the clients on legal issues, to draft legal documents and to negotiate on the clients' behalf. Solicitors usually represent their clients only in first-instance courts and hire barristers for their clients if the case goes to a superior court. Barristers act, with certain exceptions, only upon instructions of solicitors who are also responsible for the payment of barristers' fees (Martin, Law 2006).

The analysed dictionaries present different translations to reveal this specific English tandem.

The term barrister is translated by the dictionary compilers using an adapted English borrowing, descriptions and adding an explanatory note. All of the used strategies have their purposes. The spelling and the morphological form of the English borrowing is adapted linguistically to the Lithuanian language so that the borrowing may be used as a neologism in Lithuanian--baristeris. This equivalent is unambiguous, short and convenient to use, but only "(in England and Wales) advocate (a qualified lawyer who prepares legal documents, gives legal advice to the clients and represents them in some lower courts)" "attorney; notary public; jurisconsult" in a text which explains its meaning or with an explanatory note. The descriptive equivalents, on the other hand, are longer, but clearer to a lay reader as they define in short the main function of barristers--teismo bylu advokatas "advocate of court cases", teismu advokatas "advocate in court". The explanatory notes give explanations with more detailed descriptions of barristers' functions which help the reader to distinguish barristers from other types of lawyers.

The term solicitor is translated by the dictionary compilers in different ways. Dictionary1 present an adapted English borrowing, a partial functional equivalent and an explanatory note, while Dictionary2 presents several partial functional equivalents and an explanatory note. The English borrowing solisitorius, presented by Dictionary1, has the same advantages and disadvantages as the equivalent baristeris--it is unambiguous, short and convenient to use, but only with an explanatory note as this term is a neologism in Lithuanian. The partial functional equivalent advokatas, given by both dictionaries, defines a lawyer in general and can actually be used for both barristers and solicitors. So the added explanatory notes are absolutely necessary there to specify the type of the described lawyer. Dictionary 2 also gives some more functional equivalents (reikalu patiketinis, juriskonsultas, notaras) indicating the different functions of solicitors. These equivalents, how ever, might be used only in specific contexts describing special types of solicitors.
              Magistrate

Dictionary 1
magistrato (teismo) teisejas, magistratas
"jugde of a magistrates' court, magistrate"

Dictionary 2

magistratas, magistrat teismo teisejas (nagrinejantis
smulkias baudziamasias ir civilines bylas)
"magistrate, a judge of a magistrates' court (who hears minor
criminal and civil cases)"

           Stipendiary magistrate

Dictionary 1

profesionalus magistrato teisejas
(JK pakeistas district judge)
"professional judge of a magistrates' court (UK changed to
district judge)"

Dictionary 2

magistratas stipendininkas (gaunatis atlyginima ir turintis
teisini issilavinima magistratu teismo teisejas)
"stipendiary magistrate (judge in a magistrates' court who
gets salary and has legal education)"


The terms magistrate and stipendiary magistrate define two specific types of judges in the UK. The latter term was replaced by the term district judge in 2000 (Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service [interactive]), but is still important as it was used (and sometimes is still used) in numerous legal texts. Both magistrates and stipendiary magistrates hear cases in magistrates' courts, but their qualifications are different. Magistrates (they are also called justices of the peace) are lay judges with no formal legal qualifications. They receive no payment for their services and give their time and expertise voluntarily performing public service for their community. Stipendiary magistrates/district judges, on the other hand, are professional judges who are paid for their work. They are only appointed to courts in London and other major cities. The magistrates' court consists of either 2-3 lay magistrates or 1 stipendiary magistrate/district judge (Martin et al. 2006).

The term magistrate is translated in the dictionaries using a formal and a descriptive equivalents. Dictionary 2 also gives an explanatory note. The formal equivalent is literal translation of the English word magistrate into the Lithuanian word magistratas. If used alone, this equivalent might be misleading to a lay reader as the international word magistrate/magistratas is used differently in English and Lithuanian (Interleksis 2003). Though it may describe a person (a state official with certain powers in some foreign countries) in Lithuanian, it is mostly used to define a municipality council in Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Middle Ages. The municipality council had some judicial functions at that time, but its main role was to administer city affairs (Streikuviene et al. 2009: 8-11). Thus, the equivalent magistratas may be understood incorrectly by the reader and needs explanation. That is partly done by descriptive equivalents given in the dictionaries (magistrato/magistratu (teismo) teisejas "judge of a magistrates' court") which indicate that a magistrate is a judge of a court. The explanatory note in Dictionary 2 helps the reader even more by specifying the powers of a magistrate.

Translations of the term stipendiary magistrate are different in the analysed dictionaries. Dictionary1 gives a descriptive equivalent of the term--profesionalus magistrato teisejas "professional judge of a magistrates' court". The compiler of Dictionary 2, on the other hand, has chosen a formal equivalent magistratas stipendininkas with an explanatory note. In both cases, the reader is provided with the necessary information enabling him to understand the difference between a magistrate and a stipendiary magistrate.

2.3. Translations of the court names

In this section, the translations of the names of four English courts (Magistrates' Court, County

Court, Crown Court, High Court of Justice) are analysed.
           Magistrates' court

Dictionary 1         Dictionary 2

magistratu teismas   magistratu teismas
magistrates' court   "magistrates' court"

            Crown Court

Dictionary 1           Dictionary 2

(JK) Karunos teismas   Karunos teismas
"(UK) Crown court"     "Crown court"

           County Court

Dictionary 1 (JK)     Dictionary 2

grafystes teismas     grafyses teismas
"(UK) county court"   "county court"

       High Court (of Justice)

Dictionary 1                         Dictionary 2

JK Aukstasis (teisingumo) teismas    (DB) Aukstasis Teisingumo teismas
"High Court (of Justice)"            (auksciausiasis civiliniu bylu
                                       teismas Anglijoje ir Velse)
                                     "High Court of Justice"
                                     (the highest court for civil
                                       cases in England and Wales)


The Magistrates' Court and the Crown Court deal mainly with criminal matters. The Magistrates' Court is the lowest court in the judicial hierarchy; it is the first instance court for trial of minor offences and certain civil cases. The Crown Court is above the Magistrates' Court in the judicial hierarchy. It is the first instance court for serious offences heard by jury and appellate court for appeals from the Magistrates' Court (Martin, Law 2006).

Both court names are translated by the dictionary compilers using formal equivalents which are literal translations of the English court names--magistratu teismas and Karunos teismas. These equivalents are appropriate for a law specialist as they are unambiguous and convenient to use. However, they do not provide any necessary information for a lay reader, who has less knowledge of the English-Welsh court system. The essential information could be given in explanatory notes explaining the jurisdiction of these courts.

The County Court and the High Court of Justice deal mainly with civil matters. The County court is the first-instance court with limited civil jurisdiction while the High Court of Justice is the first instance and appellate court. It hears first instance civil cases assigned to its jurisdiction and appeals on civil and criminal cases from lower courts (Martin, Law 2006).

The analysed dictionaries present again formal equivalents (literal translations) of the court names--grafystes teismas and Aukstasis (teisingumo) teismas. However, Dictionary 2 adds an explanatory note on the functions of the High Court of Justice. This note indicates the type of cases the court deals with and thus helps the reader to understand the Courts' jurisdiction.

Conclusions

The examination of the chosen EnglishWelsh law terms translations in two EnglishLithuanian leads to the following conclusions: 1) The dictionary compilers use various strategies for translation of each of the analysed term groups:

--the abstract English-Welsh law concepts are translated by formal equivalents (common law--Lith. bendroji teise; equity Lith. teisingumas), descriptive equivalents (statute law--Lith. istatymais nustatyta teise) and partial functional equivalents (case law--Lith. teismu praktika); one term is explained also by a short explanatory note;

--the terms defining the English-Welsh legal professions are translated by linguistically adapted borrowings (barrister --Lith. baristeris), formal equivalents (magistrate--Lith. magistratas), descriptive equivalents (stipendiary magistrate--Lith. profesionalus magistrato teisejas) and partial functional equivalents (solicitor Lith. advokatas); almost all terms are also explained by explanatory notes;

--the English-Welsh court names are translated by formal equivalents of the English court names (Crown Court--Karunos teismas; County Court--grafystes teismas); one of the names is also explained by an explanatory note.

2) The analysis shows that the dictionary compilers use both SL- and TL-oriented strategies for translation of the specific English-Welsh legal terms. Often several strategies are used for translation of the same English term enabling different users to choose the equivalent which best meets their needs. The SL-oriented equivalents (formal equivalents and borrowings) are more appropriate for law specialists as they convey the exact meaning of the source term, but presuppose that the user has comprehensive knowledge of the source legal system. The TL-oriented (partial functional) equivalents, on the other hand, are more suitable for lay users as they enable them to associate the English concepts with the similar concepts in the Lithuanian legal system and thus to better understand their meaning. The dictionary compilers also use descriptive equivalents--paraphrases explaining in short the meaning of the terms. The analysed paraphrases are clear and concise (consisting of short phrases) and may be used as term equivalents.

3) In addition to equivalents, the dictionary compilers use explanatory notes, but not in all cases. The analysis proves that, whichever translation strategy is used, the explanatory notes are important supplementary translation means as they highlight the semantic aspects of the terms which cannot be revealed by equivalents. Therefore, the use of explanatory notes should be extended to all specific legal terms, thus enabling the readers to understand the peculiarities of the source legal system better.

These findings highlight the importance of a legal translators' role in intercultural communication. The translator does not only enable the communication parties to understand the literal meaning of the terms, but also sheds light on the peculiarities of the legal systems indispensable for a successful intercultural cooperation.

Sources

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Bitinaite, V. 2008. Mokomasis anglu-lietuviu kalbu teises terminu zodynas. Vilnius: Eugrimas.

doi: 10.3846/cpe.2012.16

Iteikta 2012-09-04; priimta 2012-09-26

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Violeta Januleviciene (1), Sigita Rackeviciene (2)

Mykolas Romeris University, Ateities g. 20, LT-08303 Vilnius, Lithuania E-mails: (1) vjanul@mruni.eu; (2) sigita.rackeviciene@mruni.eu
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