Legal Translation and Cultural Transfer: A Framework for Translating the Common Law into Chinese in Hong Kong

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Abstract

It is widely held in translation studies that translation proper is not merely a process of linguistic transfer but also of cultural transfer. But how cultural transfer is effected or whether it can be effected is not at all clear. The study begins with a critical analysis of the problems relating to law translation in general and translating the common law into Chinese in particular. It then examines the nature of cultural transfer in law translation with special reference to the translation of common law terminology. The study purports to set out the framework for legal translation as cultural transfer, in particular, for translating the common law into Chinese in Hong Kong. It argues that successful transfer of the legal culture of foreign laws always requires the adjustment of translating language and the employment of metalanguage.