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Translation and Legal Terminology: Techniques for Coping with the Untranslatability of Legal Terms between Arabic and English

  • Rafat Y. AlwaznaEmail author
Article

Abstract

The issue of untranslatability of legal terms, particularly between originally unrelated languages, like legal Arabic and legal English, has long been a real challenge in legal translation. It stems from the conceptual incongruency between legal terms of different legal languages, which are derived from different legal cultures and legal systems. Such conceptual asymmetry is owing to the fact that law has no universal reference and that legal language is what determines the degree of difference in conceptual correspondence. The present paper argues that although conceptual asymmetry, which is the main reason for the issue of untranslatability of legal terms, cannot be denied in legal translation, there exist certain translation techniques which, if properly adopted, would resolve the issue of untranslatability of legal terms and therefore achieve acceptable legal translation. Such translation techniques are primarily controlled by legal, cultural and linguistic criteria that stand as a basis for choosing the appropriate technique(s) in Arabic–English legal translation.

Keywords

Legal terms Untranslatability Conceptual incongruency Translation criteria Translation techniques 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, under Grant No. G: 122-125-1439. The author, therefore, acknowledges with thanks DSR for technical and financial support.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of European Languages and Literature, Faculty of Arts and HumanitiesKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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