Book publication – Handbook on notarial deeds (FR/ES)

Today it is a pleasure to inform you of the recent publication of a comparative study of notarial deeds issued in the French and Spanish legal systems “Manual de traducci√≥n jurada de documentos notariales en materia de sucesiones entre los sistemas jur√≠dicos franc√©s y espa√Īol“.

It is intended for legal and certified translators, lecturers and researchers in the field of Legal Translation Studies, and for comparatists and notaries public wishing to consolidate their thematic competence on civil law and, specifically, on French and Spanish notarial and inheritance law. Continue reading

Book review – Contract Law, A Comparative Introduction

contractlawI’m sure that many¬†of you¬†will¬†be interested in a book published in 2014 by Edward Elgar Publishing entitled “Contract Law:¬†A Comparative Introduction“. The author is the estimable¬†Jan M. Smits, Professor of European Private Law, Faculty of Law, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

“This book offers a unique introduction to contract law by means of a comparative approach. It treats contract law as a discipline that can be studied on the basis of common principles and methods without being tied to a particular jurisdiction or legal culture.”

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Comparative law – Unmissable videos (FR)

conseil_d_etatThe French Conseil d’Etat has made available, online, the full¬†video recording of¬†the inaugural symposium in a series entitled¬†“Droit compar√© et territorialit√© du droit“.

The website also includes some short interviews with the¬†highly respected figures participating in the symposium: √Črik Orsenna, Mireille Delmas-Marty, Dominic Grieve &¬†Horatia Muir Watt.

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Monday smile – How is cheese like comparative law?

cheddarEvery industry has its own¬†specialized terms¬†– and the world of cheese is no exception. A glossary is always helpful for ‘outsiders’ too.

A research project originating in Ireland even carried out a terminological study on one particular cheese РCheddar.

But, I hear you cry, what on earth is the connection with comparative law?¬†Well, dear readers, for the answer… read on!

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Before & after the DSK affair – Review

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Jonathan Goldberg of the blog Le mot juste en anglais to review a paper, Les conceptions juridiques du harc√®lement sexuel en France et aux USA – Avant et apr√®s l’affaire DSK¬Ļ, comparing the way in which the law sees sexual harassment in the United States and in France. I am thus in the slightly odd position of reviewing a paper originally written in English, but finalized in its French version, where my review itself is to be written in both English and French! Anyway, back to the point.

One of the opening statements in Abigail Saguy‚Äôs article is the affirmation that the Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) scandal could only have erupted in the USA¬≤. She then analyses the laws, legislative debate and case law over a period from the 1960s (in the US and rather later in France) to the present, in support of her argument that the scandal has also changed the ‚Äúpolitical and legal landscape‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúmight influence the way in which France deals with sexual harassment cases in the future‚ÄĚ.

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Reporting from Canterbury – Part 3

Following two previous posts in late August (part 1 & part 2), today I would like to end my report on the Canterbury conference “Comparative Law: Engaging Translation” with a summary of Professor G√©mar’s keynote talk.

Prof. Jean-Claude Gémar, Universities of Montreal & Geneva

Law’s labours: Lost or gained in translation? Language, law and translation.

The highly eminent Professor G√©mar treated* us to “21 ways to look at translation” (both general and legal). It was a whistle-stop tour of more or less every important issue for translators and translation. These¬†are the main points only – the full paper will be published in the conference proceedings.

  1. Translating: from Babel to Babel** – ancient and modern
  2. What translation is (and is not all about) – source and target; facilitating communication
  3. Translation: ways and means – methods and strategies
  4. Translation and equivalence
  5. Translation: an art, a craft or a “science”?
  6. Language and translation: general vs technical
  7. Law and translation: a natural or forced partnership?
  8. The specificity of legal texts
  9. Translating legal texts, translation problems
  10. The translator is a sorcerer’s apprentice
  11. Translation’s semper fi, but the translator is always confronted with novel textual conditions
  12. Translation is governed by cultures
  13. Linguistic vs legal equivalence
  14. Translation is not a matter of words
  15. The length of the translated text
  16. Sense-giving and sense-reading
  17. It is always possible to say the same thing… differently
  18. French and English: two (linguistic) solitudes
  19. The good, the bad, and… the worse
  20. The quest for the grail: in search of the best translation method
  21. The translator: interpres ut orator?

Professor G√©mar concluded with some enlightening statements and citations: “to translate is to seek truth without the expectation of resolution”. “Language signs [are…] far more mysterious than atoms and stars”. “A translation, particularly a legal one, is but an approximation, if not a compromise”. “This quest for equivalence is […] for the translator, a herculean effort and task”. “How can we translate into French or Spanish (or whatever language) Mary Poppins’ supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? We shouldn’t even try!”

*and it was a real treat – if you have the opportunity to hear him speak in person, don’t miss the chance.

** The translation journal Babel

You might also be interested to listen to a recording of Professor G√©mar speaking (in French) at the University of Montreal in their conf√©rences midi series, entitled Traduire le droit: de la traduction juridique √† la jurilinguistique –¬†Texte(s), culture(s) et √©quivalence”. Click to access the video.

Reporting from Canterbury – Part 2

I hope you will enjoy this second post on the conference “Comparative Law: Engaging Translation”, once again, a subjective selection that may be of interest to you. You can find the first post here.

Asst. Prof. Cornelis Baaij, University of Amsterdam

Legal translation and the ‘Contamination’ of Comparative Legal research

As you can see from the title, Cornelis Baaij talked about the translator as a contaminant.¬†Before the translators reading this start preparing to lynch him ūüôā I must add a caveat – he was talking about a very specific situation – the context of comparative legal research.

In brief, Baaij argues that a target-oriented approach to legal translation in the above case is not useful – that any efforts on the part of the translator to “tailor-make” the text for its audience will hinder the comparative lawyer in their task of understanding a foreign legal system. He therefore advances a literal approach – exposing the “foreignness” of the text.

Whether you agreed with his propos or not, it was certainly a very stimulating talk!

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Reporting from Canterbury – Part 1

Today I offer you my report on the conference “Comparative Law: Engaging Translation” that took place at Kent Law School, Canterbury, UK from 21-22 June 2012.

The conference brought together many highly eminent speakers, and included a host of different perspectives and disciplines.

The conference‚Äôs main assumption was that “the question of comparative law is through and through one of translation”.

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