Arveret i Danmark og England: En komparativ analyse af områderne Arv efter loven og Intestacy samt en terminologisk og oversættelsesteoretisk analyse af udvalgte termer

Sheila Maria Kitching

Student thesis: Master thesis


The inheritance law of a country regulates how a deceased’s estate should be distributed when he or she dies. A person can die with or without having made a will, and most countries have rules for both situations. Therefore, most people are affected by their country’s inheritance law at some point during their lifetime. When a person dies without having made a will, the rules that govern this situation are called ‘Arv efter loven’ in Denmark and ‘Intestacy rules’ in England. This thesis has three objects. The first is to determine the similarities and the differences between the Danish inheritance rules ‘Arv efter loven’ and the English ‘Intestacy’ rules. Secondly, a number of concepts, which mainly represent the differences, are selected and used in a terminological study. Lastly, suggestions for translations of the terms representing these concepts will be produced on the basis of relevant translation strategies. The thesis has three hypotheses: The first is that there are significant differences between the two areas of inheritance law in the two countries. The second is that because of these differences, a number of concepts exist in Danish inheritance law, which do not exist in English inheritance law, and therefore they need to be translated. The last hypothesis is that the Danish concepts include so much information that when translating the terms representing these concepts, the most appropriate strategy is source language orientation. The result of this strategy will, however, often lead to long translations of single terms. The comparative study showed that there are significant differences between the inheritance laws of the two countries. One of the most obvious ones is that, in Denmark, the concept of ‘tvangsarv’ exists. This means that no matter what a deceased has decided in his will, his spouse and children always are always entitled to a portion of his estate. This is in contrast to England, where people have testamentary freedom, although dependants of a deceased can apply for part of the estate under the rules of The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. There are also differences between the types of ownerships that exist between spouses in the two countries. When couples marry in Denmark, they automatically get ‘fælleseje’, which means, that when they divorce or one of the spouses dies, their property is divided equally among them. In England, couples always own the same property, which they did before they were married. Thus, these differences confirmed the first hypothesis. The terminological study showed that the differences found in the comparative analysis are reflected in a number of concepts existing in Denmark, but not in England, and that confirmed the second hypothesis. The selected concepts were: ‘livsarving’, ‘slægtsarving’, ‘særlivsarving’, ‘tvangsarv’, ‘svogerskabsarv’, ‘henstandsarv’, ‘fælleseje’, ‘skilsmissesæreje’, ‘fuldstændigt særeje’, ‘sameje’, ‘bodel’ and ‘boslod’. On the basis of the knowledge gathered from the theoretical analysis, suggestions for translations of these terms were produced. In most cases, the appropriate translation strategy turned out to be source language orientation. This is the case because it is important to include all of the information of each term, in order for the receiver to be able to understand the Danish concept. Thus, the third hypothesis is also confirmed.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages94