Curriculum, language and the law



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Viktorija Osolnik Kunc

University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) 

viktorija.osolnik – kunc@guest.arnes.si  
Fachkommunikative Verständlichkeit in der Verwaltungssprache:

Bürgernähe mit Aussichten?
Seit der Kognitiven Wende in den 80er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts hat sich das Thema der ‚Verständlichkeit‘ in der Sprache zu einem sozialen und sprachpolitisch motivierten Thema innerhalb der deutschsprachigen Linguistiken entwickelt Vor allem in der Verwaltungssprache. Die zunehmende Hinterfragung von Verständlichkeit verlagerte sich aus linguistischen Kreisen heraus in die Öffentlichkeit und rlebte lebhafte Diskussionen. Erörtert wurde der Grad der Fachlichkeit in der Verwaltungssprache, der eine Antwort unter anderem in der Textoptimierung gefunden zu haben schien. Bürgernahes Schreiben sollte die Kluft zwischen Verwaltung und Bürger schließen oder zumindest verengen. Diese Entwicklung ist in Deutschland und Österreich zu verfolgen, in Slowenien hingegen wurde bislang der Aspekt der Verständlichkeit weder in der Verwaltungssprache noch im linguistischen Disurs kaum wahrgenommen.

Der Beitrag bietet einen Überblick aus linguistischer Sicht zum Stand der Wissenschaft in Slowenien im Vergleich zu Deutschlandund Österreich an und überprüft die Bürgernähe in deutschen Verwaltungsschreiben, die in einer Untersuchung aus 2004 von deutschen Muttersprachlern gelesen und bewertet wurde. Unter Anwendung des Karlsruher Verständlichkeitsmodells von Susanne Göpferich sollen die Ergebnisse Aufschluss darüber geben, welchen Nutzen die Verständlichkeitsforschung im Bereich der Rechts‐ bzw. der Verwaltungssprache geleistet hat, und ob sie das Ziel der fachkommunikativen Verständlichkeit in der Verwaltungssprache erreicht hat.



Dubravka Papa

Josip Juraj Strossmayer University, Osijek (Croatia)

dpapa@pravos.hr
Legal Aspects of American Political Phraseology
The paper deals with legal terminology within the phraseology of American political discourse. It presents specific legal aspects of political language and interprets the metaphors, the cultural background of the phraseological units as well as the aspect of political correctness that is mainly a linguistic phenomenon.

Since language of law cannot keep out of politics, legal linguistic issues are of political nature, and both politics and language reflect existing social conditions. In dealing with a corpus of American political phraseological units, the question arises as to whether phraseological units are necessary for denoting objects without calling up mental pictures of them in order to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around.



Sieglinde E. Pommer

Harvard Law School (USA)

spommer@post.harvard.edu
Legal Translation as Intercultural Expert Communication:

What Role for Comparative Legal Analysis?
The Cultural Turn in Translation Studies has promoted the understanding of translation as mediation between cultures raising difficult questions about how to handle divergent culture-specific assumptions and associations. The plenary investigates the applicability of the cultural approach to the special case of legal translation exploring the complex interaction of culture, law, and communication with a special focus on the important role of comparative legal analysis in the framework of global legal discourse.

Legal discourse can be defined as an institutionalized way of thinking, defining the limits of acceptable speech on law-related matters. As professional discourse, the law uses technical language to define what the law is and to explain rules and procedures for understanding and applying the law. Despite the fact that the law exists to solve human problems and regulate human conduct, it typically presents abstract principles, using technical words and phrases. Legal discourse belongs to the knower of a very special vocabulary and grammar and is the expression of a legal culture special to a specific legal order.

Legal culture may be understood as a diversity of overlapping cultures: some relatively local, some more universal providing a shifting context for multilingual international legal communication about common legal issues to be solved across legal families and traditions. Global lawyers and legal translators are confronted with the asymmetry of legal systems, the relativity of concepts, and have to deal with inconsistent categorizations and classifications. Their task as cultural mediators is to adequately communicate information about foreign law specifically taking into account the divergent previous knowledge of the target audience in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Questioning how legal information is possibly altered by its transmission from one legal system and legal language to another and demonstrating how cultural embeddedness conditions legal translation, this presentation identifies the major challenges of international legal discourse due to the complex institutional structure of legal knowledge expressing legal culture-specific mentalité. Concretizing the overlapping concerns of culture and communication in their attempts to more clearly grasp the phenomenon of law in this era of globalization, this presentation suggests strategies for legal translation as an increasingly important form of intercultural expert communication highlighting the significance of comparative legal insights for bridging legal cultural gaps.



Louise Rayar

Maastricht University (Netherlands)

w.rayar@ir.unimaas.nl
Legal Translation as a Tool for Teaching Legal Research Skills
In the first year of the European Law School Programme at Maastricht University, students are offered a fourteen-week practical entitled ‘Introduction to Comparative Law’. As the language of instruction is English, student participation is truly international and may entail having as many as ten nationalities in one class. The objective of this practical is to train students in finding and documenting appropriate sources for their comparative research work and to have them take the first modest steps in comparing different legal systems. Writing about different legal systems in a foreign language implies translation. To prepare students for such work, two of the assignments involve translating a legal text from English into Dutch, French, German or Spanish.

The approach will be illustrated with the aid of translations of nationality law based on treaty and national law. Particular attention is given to retrieving terminology and phraseology that is specific to the subject matter. What translation options are there, if any? How and why does one opt for a particular translation? First, they need to make an inventory of – suspected – terms of art and phraseology featuring in the source text. Subsequently, they must find translation options through consulting relevant target-language documents. Translation solutions must be verifiable through proper referencing. The students are required to fully state their sources, both in footnotes and in the accompanying bibliography. Sources may be found at the local law library or in databases of national and international institutions that may be accessed via the Internet. Finding and correctly stating sources and justifying translation solutions will prepare students for producing scholarly writing of an increasingly comparative nature.



Colin Robertson

Council of EU, Brussels (Belgium)

Colin.Robertson@consilium.europa.eu
Multilingual Law: What is it? How is it Made? How is it Used and Applied?
This paper poses three questions: what is multilingual law, how is it made and how is it used and applied? The questions are chosen so as to provide a simple structure for organising and presenting information about multilingual law within the limits of the available time and space. The paper aims at non-specialists as well as linguistic and legal specialists.

The first question invites a definition of multilingual law, as law expressed in more than one language, and allows us to explore differences from monolingual legal systems, notably as regards the role of translation, terminology and term-equivalence across languages. Secondly, different 'types' of legal system are identified, in particular national law, international law, supranational law (EU law), and the multilingual dimension to each of these legal orders is explored.

The second question shifts the focus to the methods of law creation; while there is a role for private contract, the main emphasis is on legislative procedures. The paper outlines a typical model for making monolingual national law and then demonstrates what changes, and why, when the context is multilingual. Differences in approach arising under the three legal orders are canvassed and some specific practical terminology issues are discussed.

The third question provides a basis for examining two aspects: first the practical application of multilingual law; second, its interpretation and enforcement by the courts. Against an outline of a typical monolingual scenario, attention is drawn to differences affecting multilingual legal systems, within the context of the three legal orders. Emphasis is placed on translation, terminology and term equivalence.

The paper concludes with a few pertinent observations covering the following: the relevance of multilingual law in modern life; distinguishing features, such as translation, multilingual drafting, legal-linguistic revision and linguistic theory, alongside law, economics and policy-making; the interconnections between the different legal orders, and their superposition, in everyday life; the consequent need for skilled practitioners, proper training and attention to detail and quality.

Siniša Rodin

Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb (Croatia)

srodin@inet.hr
Justifying Restrictions of Individual Rights under the Croatian Constitution and in Community Law – Linguistic or Conceptual Differences?
Croatian Constitution provides for a number of justifications for restriction of Constitutional rights. General justifications under Art. 16 are protection of rights of third persons, legal order, public morality and public health, while specific justifications are associated with particular Constitutional rights. For example, restriction of a right to free enterpreneurship under Art 50(2) can be justified on grounds of protection of national interest and national security, protection of nature and environment, and public health. Typical justifications of fundamental market freedoms in Community law can be, but are not limited to, public policy, public security and public health.

The author discussess justifications for restriction of fundamental rights under Croatian Constitution and compares them to justifications of restriction of fundamental freedoms in Community law. The main proposition of the paper is that differences between justifications in Croatian and in Community law are not merely linguistic but conceptual, the main conceptual difference being the understanding of protected sphere of individual from regulatory encroachment. While the difference between concepts of „national interest“ and „public interest“ is both linguistic and conceptual, other justifications, notably „public morality“ and „public health“, correspond in linguistic terms but still differ conceptually. As Croatian courts rarely question national interest, as defined by legislation, making Croatian justifications compatible with Community standards requires not only linguistic adjustment of relevant legal provisions, but a paradigmatic shift in understanding of relationship between individual and the State.



Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski

University of Łódź, (Poland)

roszkowski@uni.lodz.pl
Using Co-Text to Cope with Vagueness in Legal Lexical Units: A Case Study in the Opinions of the United States Supreme Court.
A budding translator or any other LSP user, for that matter, is often faced with a bewildering variety of synonymous or related terms. For example, the semantic field ‘revoke’ contains lexical items such as: ‘annul’, ‘cancel’, ‘dismiss’, ‘overrule’, ‘quash’, ‘strike out’, ‘recall’, or ‘reverse’, to name just a few (cf. Alcaraz & Hughes 2002). This area of legal lexis appears to be seriously neglected. As of today, there are hardly any lexicographic resources (e.g. bilingual thesauri, dictionaries of synonyms or antonyms) that could effectively clarify the nuances of meaning and usage involved in the above array of terms. Other sources, such as law textbooks or handbooks on legal English usually do not even recognize this as a problem. In fact, despite the increase in the number of teaching materials on legal English available on the market, most are not tailored to the needs of an LSP user with a language-oriented or linguistic background.

In my talk, I will demonstrate how by quering a representative, balanced corpus of legal texts it is possible to identify dominant phraseological patterns of such related terms, which can be then used, to a certain extent, for their disambiguation. The examples will focus on a few selected terms found in a 1,000,000 word corpus of opinions handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. The latest version of the Oxford WordSmith Tools 4.0 was used to carry out a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis. It appears that only by building a systematic and exhaustive phraseological profile, an LSP user can gain a meaningful insight into the usage of legal terminology. Such knowledge goes beyond the simple co-occurrence of lexical items and involves identifying significant multi-word combinations, colligational patterns, sentential and/or textual positioning, frequency and distribution in legal sub-domains. Naturally, this type of information is intended to complement, not replace, the conceptual, system-bound knowledge available in traditional resources.



Tarja Salmi-Tolonen

University of Turku (Finland)

tasato@utu.fi
The Arbitrator’s Tale
This presentation discusses the construction of arbitration reality in arbitrators’ talk. The analyses are based on interviews conducted with experienced arbitrators, male and female, lawyers and non-lawyers, in the US and Europe.

The focus of analysis is on the degree of recontextualisation of meaning manifest in the conducted interviews. The analyses have an exploratory purpose for collecting richer data about arbitration practices and also individual arbitrators’ practices.



Peter Sandrini

University of Innsbruck (Austria)

peter.sandrini@uibk.ac.at

Der transkulturelle Vergleich von Rechtsbegriffen


Die Definition und der Vergleich von Rechtsbegriffen sind Gegenstand der Rechtstheorie sowie in der Folge auch der Rechtsvergleichung. Sie gewinnen durch die multilinguale und rechstvergleichende Terminologiearbeit und durch das Übersetzen von Rechtstexten an Bedeutung und wurden bereits – mit unterschiedlichem Blickwinkel – in die terminologische und translationstheoretische Diskussion eingearbeitet. Neuere kognitive Ansätze der Linguistik und der Translationswissenschaft sowie das Einbeziehen moderner erkenntnistheoretischer und kulturwissenschaftlicher Konzepte in die Rechtsvergleichung lassen ein Überdenken der grundlegenden Vorgangsweise beim Vergleich von Rechtsbegriffen notwendig erscheinen. Der Beitrag versucht, die elementaren Bausteine einer inhaltlichen Gegenüberstellung von Begriffen aus unterschiedlichen Rechtsordnungen dar zu stellen und die sich daraus ergebenden Schlussfolgerungen für die Terminologiearbeit sowie die Translation zu formulieren.

Eamonn Shanahan

Freelance Business/Legal English Trainer (Croatia)

eamonn.shanahan@btinternet.com
The Teaching of Legal English to Practising Professionals
The teaching of legal English to practising professionals reflects the teaching of general English in its priorities. These pirorities can be summarised by the following breakdown of areas focussed on in a traditional course of study:

1.themes and materials – eg Terms and Conditions of a Contract, European Community Law etc.

2. skills – which are traditionally divided into the productive skills of writing and speaking and the receptive skills of reading and listening, but, for the purposes of my argument in this presentation, I will divide into the written language skills of reading and writing, and the spoken language skills of listening and speaking

3. vocabulary – including the range of lexical skills such as word building, guessing definitions from context, recognising jargon etc

4. language and structure – essentially grammar, ie morphology and syntax.

I will propose: firstly, that the teaching of legal English to practising professionals is essentially the teaching of lexical skills; and secondly, that such teaching should focus significantly on the spoken language skills of listening and speaking, instead of the written language skills of reading and writing.

To illustrate my arguments I will refer to the International Legal English Certificate coursebook (Amy Krois Lindner & Translegal, Cambridge University Press, 2005), to my personal experience of being a lawyer, and finally to my experience as a trainer of legal English.


Ingrid Simonnæs

Norwegische Wirtschaftsuniversität (NHH), Bergen (Norway)

Ingrid.Simonnas@nhh.no
Überlegungen zur Bildung eines elektronischen Korpus

zwecks Analyse von Übersetzungen von Rechtstexten in Übersetzungen
Das Übersetzen von Fachtexten verlangt neben den normalerweise vorausgesetzten (Teil)kompetenzen ausreichende (ggf. noch zu erarbeitende) Kompetenz im betreffenden Fach. Für den Übersetzer von Rechtstexten als einer Untergruppe von Fachtexten bedeutet die Fachkompetenz auch, einen Rechtsvergleich vornehmen zu können. Erst nach einem Vergleich der Rechtssysteme, die durch das jeweilige Gesellschaftssystem geprägt und bedingt sind, kann der Übersetzer unter Berücksichtigung von Aufgabenstellung seitens des Auftragsgebers adäquat von der Ausgangskultur und -sprache (AK /AS) in die Zielkultur und -sprache (ZK /ZS) übersetzen.

An der Norwegischen Wirtschaftsuniversität (NHH) wird seit bald 30 Jahren die nationale Übersetzerprüfung (statsautorisert translatøreksamen), abgehalten, bei der immer ein Rechtstext zu übersetzen ist. Hier liegt mit anderen Worten ein reichhaltiges empirisches Material vor. Aufgrund der Prüfungsvorschriften sind die Texte i.d.R. Auszüge, und erst in jüngster Zeit (seit 2006) liegen die (meisten) Antworten in elektronischer Form vor.

Dies hat dazu geführt, dass in diesem Jahr (2007) ein gemeinsames Forschungsprojekt in Angriff genommen worden ist, bei dem die Prüfungsleistungen aus dem Norwegischen in die vier großen europäischen Sprachen, Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch und Spanisch, in eine zu annotierende Datenbank eingegeben werden. Auf der Grundlage der Datenbank lassen sich unterschiedliche Phänomene bottom-up oder top-down dann leichter untersuchen.

In meinem Beitrag greife ich Beispiele aus Übersetzungen von Rechtstexten heraus, die (1) aus Zeiten vor der Errichtung der Datenbank stammen und (2) die in der Datenbank vorhanden sind, wodurch für den letzten Teil auch ein Vergleich nicht nur für das Sprachenpaar Norwegisch-Deutsch, sondern auch (vorerst) für das Sprachenpaar Norwegisch-Englisch möglich wird. Da das deutsche und das englische Rechtssystem zwei unterschiedlichen Rechtskreisen angehören, kann, so meine Erwartung, der Übersetzungsvergleich deutliche(re) Beispiele bringen, wann und wo AK und ZK auseinanderklaffen und welche Übersetzungslösungen vorgefunden wurden. Aufgrund des im Vergleich zu anderen Corpora geringeren Umfangs wird es sich dabei um eine qualitative Analyse drehen.



Tamara Sladoljev-Agejev – Jasminka Pecotić-Kaufman

University of Zagreb (Croatia)

tagejev@efzg.hr – jpecotic@efzg.hr
Legal English in an Advanced Business English Course in Croatia:

Identifying and Resolving Ambiguities
Business English (BE) courses taught in the first and second year at the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, are aimed at developing students' knowledge of core vocabulary and communication skills within a number of topics ranging from marketing to macroeconomics. Legal English (LE) plays a significant role in the syllabi of the courses underlining the growing need for teachers to make their students aware of nuances of meaning in three interrelated disciplines: language, business and law. This calls for a teaching approach characterised by content and language integrated learning (CLIL) supported by interdisciplinary cooperation of the teacher with experts in business and law.

The authors point to possible sources of terminological confusion and misinterpretation in the elements of the BE syllabi clearly showing overlaps between the language of business and law: the establishment of a business (company formation), management of a company, corporate finance and fundamental changes in a company (mergers and acquisitions). It first presents reasons for current ambiguities, i.e. the impact of different legal traditions and systems (Roman-Civil-Continental legal traditions vs. Common Law tradition), differences in business and legal interpretations, and terminological inconsistencies in Croatian itself (legal terms vs. commonly used terms). The paper then proceeds with specific examples of terminological difficulties in the above mentioned fields and attempts to resolve common dilemmas.



Guadalupe Soriano Barabino

University of Granada (Spain)

barabino@ugr.es
Legal Curriculum for Training Legal Translators
Legal translation is part of the curriculum at the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation of the University of Granada, Spain. In the third year, students have to compulsorily translate both from their first foreign language into Spanish and from Spanish into their first foreign language, but most of them do not have any previous knowledge of Law. Law subjects are offered to students during their training but only on an optional basis and not all of them decide to follow any of these subjects. Moreover, in most cases these subjects are organised by members of the Law Faculty with little or no knowledge of the professional reality or of the training needs of legal translators. This results in translation classes being partly devoted to training students in the theoretical aspects of Law in Spain and in (some of) the countries of their first foreign language.

At a time of educational changes all over Europe and within the framework of the European Higher Education Area, it is the right moment to ask ourselves if current curricula are adequate to train the professionals required by Europe.

As a professional legal translator trained both in Law and in Translation and teaching legal translation at the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation of the University of Granada, in my presentation I will insist on the different aspects that should be contained in Law subjects aimed to train legal translators in today’s Europe and will suggest a possible curriculum for the training of legal translators.

Inmaculada Soriano García

Université de Grenade (Spain)

isoriano@ugr.es
L’enseignement de la terminologie juridique aux futurs traducteurs
La terminologie, en tant qu’outil nécessaire à la traduction spécialisée, est enseignée à la Faculté de traduction et d´interprétation de l’Université de Grenade. Ainsi, avant de s’initier à la traduction juridique (TJ), les étudiants reçoivent les fondements théoriques qu´ils mettront en application lors de la traduction de textes juridiques. L´enseignement de la terminologie (aspects théoriques et pratiques) est donc déterminant.

Cet article présente une étude empirique réalisée à partir de l’expérience de ces étudiants. Afin d’illustrer la spécificité et l’importance d’une adéquate formation terminologique dans le cadre de la Maîtrise en traduction et interprétation, deux groupes d’étudiants recevant une formation terminologique différente, aborderont la traduction d’un texte juridique spécialisé (du français vers l’espagnol). Les résultats obtenus permettront de tirer des conclusions quant au contenu de la formation que doivent recevoir les futurs traducteurs.


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