Legal translation into a non-mother tongue
The role of L1 revision
The article reflects on the problem of L2 legal translation, paying specific attention to the role of L1 revision and its impact on the overall quality of the final product. Twenty non-native translations (Czech–French) of a legal text were subjected to a two-stage assessment procedure: First, by two native revisers without legal training (revision stage), and second, by two native experts (metarevision stage). In the revision stage, the average quality of the translations was rated between B (good) and C (borderline). During the metarevision stage, the experts identified a higher number or errors, especially in the domain of legal meaning. No less than 84% of the revisions made by the non-expert revisers were confirmed by the expert revisers, while the remaining cases were mostly under-revisions (12%), and, less frequently, over-revisions (4%). In situations where L2 translation is inevitable, L1 revision, even when carried out by professional revisers with little or no legal background, seems to be a viable option. However, all stakeholders should be aware of the risks associated with this practice, bearing in mind the specific nature of legal translation.
- 2.L2 legal translation
- 3.Translation revision
- 4.Aim and methodology
- 5.Analysis of the results
- 5.1What is the overall quality of L2 legal translations?
- 5.2What types of errors occur in L2 legal translations?
- 5.3In what respects does non-expert revision differ from expert revision?
- 5.4What is the inter-reviser agreement?
- 6.Conclusion: Can revision by native non-experts be deemed sufficiently reliable?