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Session 3 Lexical and structural features of legal language

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1 Session 3 Lexical and structural features of legal language

2 13. Use of rarely used words to maintain a high level of formality English examples: “Commence” instead of “start” or “begin” The rights and powers of my attorney in fact commence on August 13, … “To effect” instead of “to do” or “to make” Payment of the value of this contract is to be effected in dollars as follows …

3 Arabic example: أقام، يقيم instead of اخترت ، عينت، فوضت إنني أقمت فلانا وكيلا ينوب عني

4 14. Word Collocations Examples of legal collocates: Binding contract عقد ملزم To institute legal proceedings يقيم دعوى To appeal the verdict يستأنف الحكم To enact a law يسن قانونا

5 15. Formulaic expressions (also called Routines) Examples: Unless otherwise required by the context … ما لم يقتض السياق معنى آخر... Represented in the signing of this contract … يمثله في التوقيع على هذا العقد... We, the undersigned, certify that … نشهد نحن الموقعون أدناه أن...

6 16. Avoidance of the possessive apostrophe Example: A contract under which a man is employed instead of a man’s contract Order of the court instead of The court’s order

7 Stylistic features of legal language 1.Legal sentences are long (in both English and Arabic) because they are full of restrictive phrases and clauses, and they favor repetitions to the use of anaphoric devices.

8 2. Excessive use of the passive voice (in English only) Example: A person found guilty of one or more offences, … and sentenced or ordered to be imprisoned or detained indefinitely or for more than one year, shall be disqualified for membership of the House of Commons … إذا وجد الشخص مذنبا بارتكاب مخالفة واحدة أو أكثر... وصدر بحقه حكم أو أمر بالسجن أو الاحتجاز لأجل غير مسمى أو لأكثر من عام فسيفقد الأهلية لعضوية مجلس العموم...

9 Translation Tips 1.Read the legal text thoroughly and repeatedly until you manage to understand and analyze it. 2. As you translate, use the style and expressions used in the legal field. Look for samples of legal documents of the type that you have in hand and learn from them.

10 3. It is recommended that legal texts are translated literally, but chunk-for-chunk rather than word-for-word. However, the translation should follow the structural features of the target language. 4. Terms and expressions repeated in the source text for the purpose of clarity should be repeated also in the target text.

11 Types of legal documents 1.Contracts (Employment, loans, warrants, intellectual property, sale and purchase, mergers, exploration, advertising, services, etc.) See samples of all types of contracts at: ons/sales/

12 2. Laws and regulations (Clean Air Act, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Public Demonstrations Law, Copyright Law, etc.) 3. Certificates (Birth, Death, Graduation, Attendance, etc.) 4. International law (UN Charter, International Human Rights Law, etc.)

13 5. Islamic law (International, Criminal, Constitutional, etc.)


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