Article published in:Between specialised texts and institutional contexts – competence and choice in legal translation
Edited by Valérie Dullion
[Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts 3:1] 2017
► pp. 81–96
Calling translation to the bar
A comparative analysis of the translation errors made by translators and lawyers
This paper proposes a comparative analysis of the translation errors made by prospective legal translation trainees, with a special focus on the (mis)use of legal terminology and phraseology. The investigation relies on the data produced and collected within a wider empirical study on the translation problems faced by a cohort of translation graduates with no specialisation in legal translation on the one hand, and a cohort of linguistically-skilled lawyers with no translation-related qualifications on the other, who translated the same criminal law document from English into Italian. The translation errors made by the two cohorts have been classified on the basis of the categories proposed by Mossop (2014) and assessed following the severity scale devised by Vollmar (2001). The Translation Quality Index (cf. Schiaffino and Zearo 2006) thus obtained has allowed for the ranking of the participants in the five quality levels identified for legal translation by Prieto Ramos (2014). The findings of the quantitative and qualitative analyses of errors are also traced back to the participants’ translation process by triangulating data from the different collection methods used within the empirical study, i.e. screen recording, keystroke logging and questionnaires, with particular reference to time and reference material use. The specific design of this investigation, which considers the participants’ prior education as additional variable, allows for the identification of a possible correlation between the different backgrounds of the translators and the quality of their translations, with general consequences on the conceptualisation of legal translation competence and effective training.
Keywords: empirical study, error analysis, legal translation, translation competence, translator training
Published online: 01 June 2017
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