Comparative law for legal translation: Through multiple perspectives to multidimensional knowledge

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With this paper, I suggest a multiperspectivist approach for assessing conceptual legal knowledge with relevance for the translation of legal terms in translation between two or more different legal systems. The basic quest is to present a set of categories and analytical approaches for legal translators to generate (collect) and classify knowledge necessary for their professional conceptual needs. In this paper, I will focus on the translational, juridical, and cognitive basics of such an approach. In order to cope with the broad range of possible translational purposes in different translational situations and choose relevantly between alternative formulations, translators need methods and strategies in order to construct the necessary conceptual knowledge. This presupposes a broad knowledge structured in ways that enable the translator to recognize relevant characteristics of legal systems and relevant differences between different legal systems. Concerning translational theory, the basis is the functional theory of translation as adapted to legal translation, based upon the idea of translation as choice between alternatives and distinguishing between documentary translation, at one end of a scale, and instrumental translation, at the other. This basis and the distinction presuppose relevant knowledge from comparative law. Hence, existing approaches and fundamental tenets concerning comparative law inside and outside of translation are presented. In order for knowledge to be presented in a manageable way with relevance to translators, I work with the approach of concept frames as basic unit of knowledge gathering and categorization. This way of presenting knowledge is embedded more generally in a knowledge communication approach, focusing on knowledge asymmetry. Within this general framework, the multiperspectivist approach combines insights from cultural studies (especially the study of law-as-culture), law as a disciplinary social system, and communicative interaction generating meanings in legal communication, also across national borders.

TidsskriftInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Sider (fra-til)263-282
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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