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Legal Translation in Brazil: An Entextualization Approach

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Abstract

Recent trends in academic and professional legal communication worldwide have promoted significant changes to aim at operating successfully under current multilingual and multilegal contexts. The aim is to consider a kind of supranational legal discourse so as to minimize socio-cultural variants and to promote the pragmatic conditions for harmonized and ‘common sense’ legal practices without excluding potential reciprocal influences of or resistance to one hegemonic legal system upon others. In Brazil, the traditional ‘thinking like a civil lawyer’ culture still prevails against a more global approach constraining the consolidation of the country’s role of major player in most global legal areas. In addition, the key tool required for achieving some sort of global legal status—Brazilian legal operators’ proficiency in legal English—has been barely considered in both academic and professional settings, particularly in legal translation. This study resorts to the linguistic anthropology concept of ‘entextualization’ (Bauman and Briggs in Ann Rev Anthropol 19:59–88, 1990 and others) to discuss the process of official (or sworn) translation in Brazil to render (or not) global legal genres. The comparative analysis between the original text in English and its official version in English focus on drafting consistency, the translator’s choice of some formal entextualization elements used in the process of translation and his/her authority as the entextualizing agent to legitimate text.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    Harvard School on International Legal Studies, accessed through http://www.law.harvard.edu/ in 2010. See also curricula offered in this area by major American Law schools such as Harvard, Yale and Columbia in their respective websites.

  2. 2.

    It is beyond the scope of this paper to address the controversies concerning the definitions and scope of such concepts in linguistics or linguistic anthropology. For further details, see [2, 6, 21, 22, 25] and Hanks [18].

  3. 3.

    Bauman and Briggs [2, p. 72] use interchangeably the concepts of ‘contextualization’ v. ‘centering’; ‘decontextualization’ v. ‘decentering’ and ‘recontextualization’ v. ‘recentering’.

  4. 4.

    For further details, see [3, 12, 13, 26, 30, 31].

  5. 5.

    Legislative sources related to this matter include Brazilian Code of Civil Procedure 2002 (article 157), Commercial Code, Decree 13609/1943 (articles 16, 62, 64 and 125); Code of Penal Procedure 1940 (articles 193, 223 and 236) and Code of Labor Law 1943 (article 819). They also rule for commercial interpreters. Decree in Portuguese accessed through http://www.dnrc.gov.br/Legislacao/decreto/dec13609.htm.

  6. 6.

    Original of the decree in Portuguese accessed through http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/decreto/1930-1949/D13609.htm.

  7. 7.

    Figure 2 is based on original public translators’ credential with fictitious information.

  8. 8.

    Accessed through http://www.jucesp.fazenda.sp.gov.br/downloads/04_2008.pdf; http://www.juntacomercial.pr.gov.br/arquivos/File/Tabela_emolumentos.pdf; http://www.jucemg.mg.gov.br/arquivos/is-re/resolucao-05-2008.pdf; http://www.jucesp.fazenda.sp.gov.br/downloads/04_2008.pdf.

  9. 9.

    The contracts are accessed through http://www.petrobras.com.br/ri/ and www.petrobras.com.br/ri/Download.aspx?id=11210. The translation is registered under n. J11791/1 0 CL/IS 9 by ABPS Traduções.

  10. 10.

    The term “pre-salt” makes reference to an aggregation of rocks located offshore in a large portion of the Brazilian coast and with potential to generate and accumulate oil. It was called pre-salt because it forms a rock interval that ranges under an extensive layer of salt which, in certain areas of the coast, can be as much as 2,000 m thick. The “pre” expression is used because, through time, these rocks were deposited before the salt layer. The total depth of these rocks, i.e., the distance between the surface of the sea and the oil reservoirs under the salt layer, can be as much as 7,000 m. Access through http://www.petrobras.com/en/energy-and-technology/sources-of-energy/pre-salt/.

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Correspondence to Celina Frade.

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Frade, C. Legal Translation in Brazil: An Entextualization Approach. Int J Semiot Law 28, 107–124 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11196-014-9357-x

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Keywords

  • Legal translation
  • Entextualization
  • Global legal genres
  • Official (sworn) translators in Brazil