Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

Legal Dictionaries and Chinese-English Legal Translation

Author NiuBenLin
Tutor SongLei
School Southwest University of Political Science
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords legal dictionaries legal translation lexicography user needs
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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The current situation of the Chinese-English legal dictionary market can be best described with the proverb“in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is the king.”An indeed, this market is glutted with such“one-eyed kings”. Though most of the dictionaries falling within this ambit are useful in some extent, they fail in general to provide important information for the understanding and production of legalese and terms of art essential to legal translation.The paramount problem to be solved in the process of compiling a dictionary is to identify the users, for no dictionary can meet all the requirements of all groups of users. Without ascertaining or establishing its designated users, a dictionary is for the most part destined to failure for from the very beginning it is not based on a user-oriented compilation policy. Therefore, it is essential to study the users’needs and why they prefer to consult the dictionary. The lexicographers are required to draw up a profile of the intended user groups to correlate the dictionary’s functions to the readers’demands and competence. With the emphasis on the users’needs in mind, lexicographers will take the users-friendly policy into first consideration. In terms of the dictionary user profile, it is necessary to identify at least the most important lexicographic needs of the users who are within the definition of the target group of a dictionary. Much literature has been produced in this regard. However, as far as bilingual Chinese-English legal dictionary is concerned, it is still a virgin land waiting to be explored.The compilers of A Chinese-English legal dictionary shall inevitably take into account the characteristics of both the Chinese and English legal languages. And any act of compiling as well as consulting such a bilingual dictionary can be deemed as an act of translation, be it concerned merely with a word or a phrase, or a larger language unit. Only by fully examining the nature and features of the legal languages related and their application in legal translation can we gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the users’needs. The examination of the process of legal translation, especially the translation of legal terminology helps us to figure out what kind of obstacles the translators may face during that process. Such an examination is expected to conduce to the raising suggestions for future Chinese-English legal dictionary’s compilation.This thesis firstly reviews the status quo of the current Chinese-English Legal dictionaries, summarizing the similarities and dissimilarities in the structure and arrangement of lemma information. Secondly, the characteristics of the Chinese legal language are observed as compared with the English legal language and tested against evidences from some relevant data-based investigations. Thirdly, the currently situation of Chinese-English legal translation is inquired with an aim to sort out the major problems existing in routine legal translation. Fourthly, every component of dictionary lemma is discussed in the perspective of the users’needs and expectancy in the process of their legal translation. These components are realized by way of different information items, and the inclusion, arrangement and presentation of these information items are discussed. It is hoped that this will lay a novel foundation for dictionary design and criticism.

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