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Testing the Precision of Legal Translation: The Case of Translating Islamic Legal Terms into English


Legal translation is viewed as “a category in its own right” (Weston in An English reader’s guide to the French legal system. Berg, Oxford, (1991, p. 2). It is a kind of translation of the language used for specific purposes (Zhao in J Transl Stud 4:28, 2000). Legal translation requires accuracy in relaying the substance of the message, while respecting the form thereof as well as the genius of the target language (Zhao in J Transl Stud 4:19, 2000; Sarcevic in New approach to legal translation. Kluwer Law International, Hague, 1997, p. 52). As generally accepted worldwide, precision is deemed of paramount importance in legal translation. With this in mind, the present paper deals chiefly with the concept of how legal translation can correctly be tested in order to ensure precision and validity for application and implementation. The paper will argue that the main goal of legal translation and the major criterion against which the precision of legal translation should be tested is to reproduce the same legal effect in the target text as that conveyed in the source text regardless of the method(s) used in the translation process.

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Correspondence to Rafat Y. Alwazna.

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Alwazna, R.Y. Testing the Precision of Legal Translation: The Case of Translating Islamic Legal Terms into English. Int J Semiot Law 26, 897–907 (2013).

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  • Legal translation
  • Legal language
  • Legal system
  • Translation methods
  • Legal effect