|LEGAL TRANSLATION CONFERENCE|
Coping with Cultural Differences in Legal Translation
The cultural aspect of translation is a topic, which is as much talked about by theoreticians as it is dreaded by practitioners of translation. The difficulties that lead to this dread stem from the lack (or shortage, at best) of materials (glossaries, dictionaries, etc.) that are based on comparative analysis of two cultures and their legal systems and that provide a relevant and reliable language equivalent and/or cultural commentary. On the other hand, legal translators work under a stress of liability and that degree of liability is exacerbated by the court administration's guidelines that specifically require "verbatim" translation.
The aim of this presentation is to assist Russian legal translators in dealing with cultural differences between the source and target language texts. Workshop attendees will get an overview of the issue at hand (the cultural aspect of translation from a linguistic perspective, most economical ways of dealing with instances of cultural differences, etc.) as well as opportunity to develop the necessary skills through a set of guided exercises. The exercises will cover the language phenomena most laden with cultural content: legal terms and jargon, acronyms, idioms, metaphors, proper names, and others. Detailed handouts, as well as PowerPoint visual materials will be used extensively.
Rendering legal concepts in public documents for a predominantly non-English-speaking
audience is a challenge for even the experienced legal translator. This
is especially true when the clientele involved are from state and city
welfare systems whose needs are served by huge administrative bureaucracies
laden with complex internal jargon and procedures. Transferring their
legalese-spangled concepts, terminology, and acronyms into languages other
than English for a specific target audience is sometimes extremely difficult
for two major reasons. First, a number of basic U.S. legal concepts simply
do not exist in the target cultures and, therefore, should be rendered
descriptively. This poses a number of problems in verification of the
translation's legal validity and authenticity when rendered in the target
language. Specific examples (e.g., entitlement/benefit/grant terminological
group and related terms) are given and discussed.
A PowerPoint presentation and illustrative fragments of terminological techniques will demonstrate certain ways of transferring terms and concepts into a target language (Russian) and harmonizing the terminology within the framework of a multilingual translation project.