Translation Challenges of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Cost-Effective Proposals for Improvement
Inter-American and European Human Rights Journal, 2012, No. 5, pp. 3-26
24 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012 Last revised: 18 Apr 2013
Date Written: May 1, 2012
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a regional adjudicating body, is fairly influential in domestic legal systems in the Americas. Its case law has also importance in other international forums, which the Court promotes by translating its judgments into English. The effort involved in translating the Court’s case law is praiseworthy. However, translating legal documents is a difficult task, and the translations of the Court’s case law are not always felicitous. In some cases they have even mislead scholars in the interpretation of the Court’s case law. This paper, after pointing out some translation issues of the Inter-American Court, suggests ways in which the translations of the Court’s decisions could be improved, without necessarily requiring a higher expenditure. These suggestions include the temporary release of preliminary versions of the English translations of the Court’s decisions, the simplification of the language used in the judgments, and the reorientation of the publicity remedy which the Court usually orders.
Keywords: Inter-American Court of Human Rights, translations, linguistics, official version, publications
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