Legal translation has been in great demand in the last few decades around the world, owing to globalization and increased contact and exchange between people and states. However, translating legal documents is not easy at all. Even minor errors in the translation of legal documents can result in lawsuits and legal exposure. Legal translation services in Dubai involve very complex matters and specialized terminology. This is why it is extremely important to assign the legal translation task to a translator who is well qualified and specialized to handle the translation of legal documents.
Because of the nature and function of law, the legal language has developed particular linguistic features, like lexical, syntactic, and pragmatic, to fulfill the demands of the law. Such linguistic characteristics of legal language have profound implications for legal translation. If we examine legal language as a whole, common and singular linguistic features can be identified across different legal languages.
Translation is regarded as an act of communication between text producers and text receivers, and the translator is regarded as a mediator between the two different legal systems.
Translators of legal documents not only translate from one language into another language but also from one legal language into another legal language. While lawyers cannot expect translators to produce parallel texts that are identical in meaning, they do expect them to produce parallel texts that are identical in their legal effect.
Where do we find legalese (legal language)?
We can find legalese everywhere, but most often we’re going to see it:
- In judges’ decisions.
- In formal letters, particularly letters of advice.
- In legal documents.
- In court documents.
A feature of legal language
1: Lexical Features
The vocabulary of legal language is complex and unique. It is a universal feature of all legal languages. For example:
- Formulaic expressions
- Very specific and precise wording.
- Archaic words (e.g., hereby, thereby, aforesaid, hereof, said)
- Foreign words (e.g., lesser, lessee, court, evidence, jury)
- Formal usage (e.g., shall, may, I solemnly swear…)
2: Syntactic Features
Translators need to be aware of the special syntactic features of legal language because they may create comprehension barriers.
Some syntactic features of legal language:
- Nominalization: using a noun instead of its verb.
- Long and complex sentences.
- Passivation: to emphasize the formal, impersonal style of legal writing.
- Binomial expressions, doublets, and triplets are words that are synonyms or near-synonyms that commonly occur together (e.g., breaking and entering, terms and conditions).
3: Pragmatic Features
Some pragmatic features of legal language:
- Performative models that express implicit speech acts (e.g., “may” for permission, “may not” for prohibition, “shall” for obligation, and “shall not” for prohibition).
- performative verbs that express explicit speech acts (e.g., declare, announce, promise, undertake, enact, confer, amend, certify, confirm)
- Ambiguity and vagueness to the extent that they may cause uncertainties
4: Stylistic Features
Legal language is characterized by an impersonal, formal style; different types of legal language have their own features.
5: Legal maxims
Broad statements of established principles (usually stated in fixed Latin forms)
- The burden of proof lies with the one who makes the charge (Actori incumbit onus probandi).
The contract makes the law of the parties (Pacta sunt servanda).
- No crime without provision (Nullum crimen sine lege).
6: Fixed expressions
Expressions that are commonly used in certain fixed forms
Part and parcel of
as may be necessary.
Under the condition of inspection:
By way of exception from the above:
As legal, economic, and administrative systems evolved parallel to growing population mobility in Dubai, the need for legal translation in Dubai and qualified legal translators drastically increased. Our team of legal translators at the Alsun Translation Office in Dubai is ideally positioned to collaborate with their clients in Dubai and demonstrate that they can provide solutions rather than represent a problem in the communication flow.