Use of neologisms in legal translation - Essay Example

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This research is being carried out to evaluate and present the use of neologisms in legal translation. The paper tells that certain adjustments are very important in order to apply translation, and adopt neologism in the process of legal translation…
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Use of neologisms in legal translation
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that the difficulties in legal translation from one original term to another in consideration of “cultural asymmetry” between different legal systems of which one country or group of nations’ legal concepts as well as courtroom procedures have been formed by their own history and experience. Likewise, these established legal concepts are not always, if at all, shared by other countries or nations and states of which target language for translation may be necessary. Once specific observation was that of Stern where there are acknowledgment and accommodation of other cultures in the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) but these “other cultures” were not able to experience equal status with the Anglo-Saxon legal and communicative culture dominating the Tribunal. While it is generally understood that legal language is accepted by the precision of its legal terms predominantly generic and connotative so that they are not decoded by a simple process of one-to-one relationship in linguistics, Newmark and Baker also pointed out that the relative accuracy of legal or lexical equivalent was problematic in the translation and interpretation process. Local courts may employ the essential capabilities of legal professionals and the judiciary, but there are growing occurrences and instances that foreign as well as internationally accepted laws are a necessity in order to provide legal solutions to local cases, and vice versa. The quality of interpretation, then, as well as the exigency of justice becomes dependent on the interpreter, or how legal translation is undergone, presented and used.

This paper will try to explore the use of neologism in legal translation with close reference to Rene de Groot's article "Title" and (year, PLEASE SUPPLY, ALSO UNDER REFERENCE) as well as to other available resources.


Whereas Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure argued that "Language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of the others ... Content is really fixed only by the concurrence of everything that exists outside it. Being part of a system, it is endowed not only with a signification but also and especially with a value," (qtd. Noth, 1990, p 61), we are then presented with technical connection of words between and amongst themselves which altogether changes when used with other words. This alone as well as cultural differences provide a difficulty in the manner of translating legal terms which this paper explores.

Already, in a study conducted by Stern (2004), it was acknowledged that the lack of exact legal equivalents between languages, in this context English and French or Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian (BCS), was an obstacle and a very difficult aspect of translation. Given examples "for everyday terms and concepts, such as allegations, cross-examination, pre-trial, to plead guilty/not guilty, beyond any reasonable doubt or balance of probability (and) cognates such as
appeal, charges, objection," (Stern, 2004) proved to have different significance in the target language/s and presented discrepancies in the translation of official legal documents, as well as judgments.

Weston (1983 p 207), himself pointed out that, "It is no business of the translator's to create a new word or expression if the SL [source language] expression can be adequately and conveniently translated by using one of the foregoing methods" of which methods were enumerated as:
1. equivalent notions
2. literal translations
3. leaving the term un-translated.

De Groot, nevertheless, presented three solutions as:
1. Do not translate and use the target language the original or transcribed term from the source language. If necessary one explains the notion between brackets or in a foot-note by using a 'literal translation' or by using a remark as 'comparable with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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