In this modern era of globalization where information moves at the speed of light, the requirement for quality translators is ever increasing. Since both English and Arabic are important languages that are understood and used by a large part of the global population, it is just obvious that the role of English to Arabic translator has also increased proportionately.
Whether we like it or not, laws are enforced to manage almost each and every aspect of our lives. Whether we want to run a business or just want to work as a professional, we need to follow the set of rules laid down by the authorities. Laws should be understood, respected and followed.
However when we move out of our home country with a plan to expand or globalize a business, or even when we want to study abroad, there are often various legal documents that are required by the authorities of such foreign countries, but need proper translation even before being validly accepted. The need for translation further aggravates if we get stuck in legal proceedings or are challenged in the court of law in a foreign country.
English law uses many technical legal terms which have a clear meaning in law. Mostly it is not easy to replace such technical terms in English. The problem arises when these legal terms don't have an equivalent Arabic terminology as well. Translating an English legal document to Arabic, that uses such terms require higher level of language expertise.
There are various theories proposed by expert translators to tackle such situations. In this article we will discuss some of these theories. However please remember that the underlying meaning should always be interpreted in the context of the legal document, and any English translation to Arabic of source text should have such underlying meaning completely intact.
Terms such as Common Law and Equity express a unique legal concept in English law. For example 'Common Law' might refer to legal systems that are based on English law or a set of rules developed by the Court of Chancery or might even refer to laws established by judges. Its meaning will depend on the usage and context of the legal text.
Thus a literal translation to Arabic can be 'The law of custom and habit' or 'The general law' or 'The Anglo Saxon law'. Some better literal translations can be 'Case law' and 'Statuary law'. However these translations don't offer a clear meaning of the term 'Common Law'. Therefore as easy as it may appear, but if you want to translate English to Arabic of 'Common Law' you will need to know much more about translation.
Alwazna, an expert translator of English and Arabic documents suggests that in this and similar situations a literal English to Arabic transliteration along with the definition and explanation of the legal term in question would be a preferred kind of translation. This will also help the reader of target text to familiarize themselves with the legal meaning and thus the underlying concept of the term concerned.
Other techniques that the translator may use in such situations are functional adaptation of the term in question, paraphrasing or using the nearest cultural equivalent term, that matches the legal term in question.
Abstract terms such as freedom, privacy, right, fundamental human rights and fairness, though have an equivalent Arabic version, but are subject to many interpretations in law. While translating such abstract terms that are commonly used both in law and in general, it is advised that the translator must translate the abstract sense of the legal term in question. A literal translation in such situations might not reveal the true legal meaning in context of the legal text and thus leave a lot of room for ambiguity.
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