AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Lexis versus text : the case for translating English legal texts into Arabic

by [No author]

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Degree: MA(Hons)
Year: 0
Keywords: Legal; terms; terminology; translation; translators; English; Arabic; law; text; language; justice; Islamic
Record ID: 1058136
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/19


The thesis explores the nature of the difficulties involved in translating legal texts, focusing mainly on translating English legal texts into Arabic. It shows that these difficulties fall into two categories, structural and terminological. the latter being more problematical. The language of law is distinct, rigid, precise and too formal. The difficulty arises when a translator's exposure to the cultural and legal environments of his working languages is unbalanced. This could lead a translator to misunderstand not only the significance of the specialised terms used, but also the distinctive features of syntax and register of the original language text. The other, and more significant, difficulty arises from the lack of equivalence at the term level in the two languages. The research was conducted in two parts. In the first part, original legal texts in both English and Arabic were analysed, and the linguistic exponents extracted and compared. In the second part of the research, the development process of the English and Arabic legal terminology were considered, and the differences in terminology imposed by the different nature of the legal environments explored, including the adversarial versus inquisitorial systems. An empirical study concludes the thesis. It consists of a questionnaire and a list of legal terms which twenty translators were asked to complete. The results of the research are quite controversial. The argument is that difficulties involved in legal translations are more conceived than real in so far as textual, syntactic and structural features are concerned. The similarities between English and Arabic legal texts in this respect are striking. The confusion and indecisiveness which usually reign when translating English legal texts into Arabic will be alleviated through providing examples from contemporary Arabic legal texts, accompanied by textual and linguistic analyses. The real difficulty is in the field of terminology. However, a corpus of terms in the criminal code is discussed, focusing on terms with direct application to the Australian situation. This should be of direct benefit to Arabic translators and interpreters in Australia and other English-speaking countries. Master of Arts (Hons) (Translation) en-aus