Interjural Incommensurability in Criminal Law: Constructing a Framework for Micro-Comparisons for Translation Purposes
Wilson PE, ‘Interjural Incommensurability in Criminal Law: Constructing a Framework for Micro-Comparisons for Translation Purposes’ in Tessuto G and Salvi R (eds), Language and Law in Social Practice Research (Universitas Studiorum 2015) (ISBN: 978-88-99459-22-2)
23 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2015
This chapter explores the incommensurability of criminal law concepts between common law and civil law jurisdictions and its implications for translation in the context of criminal justice. Since translation of legal concepts must take into account their intertextuality as well as statutory and/or judicial interpretation, an interdisciplinary framework for conducting legal micro-comparisons is proposed for translation purposes. The practical application of the framework is illustrated by analysing a criminal offence in terms of construction of criminal liability in a source legal system and mapping the offence onto a target legal system, consequently revealing that the corresponding criminal law concepts only partially overlap between the two jurisdictions. Against that backdrop, some translations of the source term denoting the criminal offence are critically assessed from the viewpoint of their legal accuracy in the target language, and an alternative functional equivalent is suggested in an attempt to remedy terminological incongruence. The study thus demonstrates that the accuracy of legal translation is conditional on the translator having a certain degree of bijural competence. The author concludes by highlighting lacunae in current translator and interpreter training in the United Kingdom and recommending the introduction of practical linguistic and comparative law modules in training curricula, designed to address the issue of incommensurability in legal translation.
Keywords: comparative law, legal interpretation, comparative jurisprudence, criminal liability, conceptual equivalence, legal translation, bilingual proceedings
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