The legal area in some aspects covers all professional areas. The elements of legal language are found in the texts of contracts, instructions, certificates, and other texts of general use that translators have to deal with in their professional activities. Acquaintance with the peculiarities of legal translation is necessary for the competent transfer of elements of a legal text from language to language (Baaij, 2018). It should not violate the existing correspondences between the legal systems of the countries of the source and target languages. This paper discusses the problems of translating complex sentences in legal texts from to English.
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The main difficulties in translating legal texts are associated, as a rule, with the interpretation of professional legal terminology. The interpretation of terms and legal concepts in a particular system of law is one of the main difficulties for novice translators (Baaij, 2018). The existing bilingual dictionaries of legal terms cannot solve the translation problem since different contexts require knowledge of which translation option to choose in each specific case (Baaij, 2018). A translator can overcome these difficulties in the course of consultation and even joint work with legal experts. It is also important to refer to a large volume of authentic documents, where the desired terminology is found to clarify the linguistic environment of the term and its compatibility.
Legal terminology is one of the most difficult and demanded areas in which a scientific understanding of the theory and practice of searching for interlanguage matches is necessary. However, the translation of legal texts is not limited to the translation of terms. There are other issues that any translator must pay attention to. Among the dominant systemic signs of a legal text, one can single out the variety of syntactic structures and types of logical connections (Kanapala, et al., 2019). Legal texts are characterized by the predominance of structures with the meaning of conditions and causes, an abundance of homogeneous members of a sentence, and homogeneous clauses. In translation, all the rules of formal logic when constructing structures must be observed.
The task of conveying information as fully as possible is associated with such a sign of a legal text as the absence of abbreviations, shortenings, and digital designations. Compressiveness is not characteristic of a legal text, even numbers are usually conveyed in words (Kanapala, et al., 2019). The legal language is also characterized by the reliability of grammatical constructions, excluding ambiguity. The need to fully and unambiguously express each position, avoiding ambiguous interpretations, leads to an abundance of homogeneous members of the sentence and homogeneous clauses (Baaij, 2018). Thus, the variety of syntactic structures should be subordinated to the feature of linguistic clarity of expression in all legal documents.
Legal discourse is characterized by complex sentences, parts of which are united by the punctuation mark semicolon. The length of such prepositions may exceed 400 characters; that is why sometimes those sentences even lack proper punctuation marks which makes it even difficult for the translator to know the correct meaning (Hasler et al., 2017). In such cases, a complex sentence should be divided into segments or the target text can be split into smaller translational units. Reconstruction of a sentence is sometimes required when translating complex sentences or in cases where the subject is expressed in a large group with many definitions that separate it from the predicate (Hasler et al., 2017). However, the translator should always prefer an adequate translation when dealing with texts belonging to official and public documents. The translation should give an accurate idea of the original document, and special care must be taken to replace all changes contained in the target text with their translator equivalents.
The language of the law is heterogeneous; it combines several sub-languages: the language of legislation, law enforcement practice, legal science, legal education, legal journalism, and many others. Thus, when analyzing the original text, it seems necessary to determine the subgenre of the legal text, which will determine the choice of the translation strategy (Poibeau, 2017). The translation process should be influenced by the degree of legalization. The specificity of translation also depends on the category and type of text. Determination of the genre composition is one of the urgent tasks of legal linguistics. Within the genre of a legal text, there are many subgenres: contracts, statutes, laws, orders, court decisions, testimonies, claims, statements, administrative texts, educational literature, and others (Poibeau, 2017). Each category has specific features that should be preserved in translation.
When translating a legal text, it is necessary to take into account various linguistic and extralinguistic factors that affect the specifics of legal translation. Therefore, the translator should pay attention to legal terminology, its interpretation and use, various syntactic structures, punctuation, unambiguously and unambiguously of the content, type and subgenre of the legal text, and other important factors. Highlighting the characteristic features of a legal text is necessary for the implementation of pre-translation analysis and competent translation by both legal specialists and linguists.
Baaij, C. J. (2018). Legal integration and language diversity: Rethinking translation in EU lawmaking. Oxford University Press.
Hasler, E., de Gispert, A., Stahlberg, F., Waite, A., & Byrne, B. (2017). Source sentence simplification for statistical machine translation. Computer Speech & Language, 45, 221-235.
Kanapala, A., Pal, S., & Pamula, R. (2019). Text summarization from legal documents: a survey. Artificial Intelligence Review, 51(3), 371-402.
Poibeau, T. (2017). Machine translation. MIT Press.