Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 43: Legal translation*

Gerard- René de Groot


The issue of the translation of legal information is one of the core questions of comparative law. On the one hand, comparative lawyers frequently have to provide information on rules in force in a certain legal system in a language which is not (one of) the legal language(s) of the legal system involved. In such a case comparative lawyers are directly confronted with the difficulty of the translation of legal terminology. On the other hand, there is a second relationship between comparative law and the translation of legal terminology: if translators have to translate the content of legal documents (contracts, statutory provisions, books and articles on legal topics etc.), they are constantly confronted by comparative law, because comparison of the content of the legal terminology of the source legal system and of concepts behind the legal terminology of a legal system which uses the target language as its legal language should be their core activity during the translation process.

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