Produktansvar i England, USA og Danmark: En komparativ analyse af udvalgte fokusområder med tilhørende diskussion af juridisk oversættelsesstrategi samt terminologisk gennemgang

Ingrid Møller Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Successful legal translation requires not only factual knowledge of the particular legal areas of the source and target texts, but also knowledge of legal translation theory in general in order to be able to choose the translation strategies that are best suited for the communicative purpose. The purpose of this thesis is threefold: First, it sets out to examine the differences and similarities of selected focus areas of the product liability rules in England, the United States, and Denmark in order to provide factual knowledge of the product liability area. The focus areas selected are causation, defences, and certain procedural rules with special emphasis on group action which was recently adopted in Danish law. Second, it sets out to examine various translation strategies proposed by theorists within the field of legal translation. In this connection, both general issues, such as the system specificity of legal language, and the options available to translators when faced with problems of equivalence are discussed. Third, a few terms undergo a terminological study, the purpose of which is to exemplify the use of the factual knowledge gained from the comparative analysis and the textual knowledge gained from the legal translation theory discussion. To this end, I have selected four Danish terms from the focus areas, which I compare with their nearest English and American equivalents, respectively. I suggest reasons for any equivalence problems and proposals of how to overcome such problems. I expected the results of the comparative analysis to show that the product liability rules of the United States would differ more from the Danish rules than the English rules. My key findings suggested that this was indeed so. Based on the focus areas studied I found that the differences in the American rules were especially pronounced within the procedural area due to factors such as contingency fee arrangements, punitive damages, jury participation, and the so-called American Rule according to which the losing party does not pay the successful party's legal costs. As for group action, however, I found that the Danish rules had more in common with the American rules than the English rules, in that the English rules resemble the joinder of parties system more than group action as such. The study of legal translation theory suggested that unrelatedness of legal systems poses more difficulty to the translator than unrelatedness of languages due to the system specificity of legal language. The terminological challenges of such unrelatedness may be addressed by first choosing a target or source oriented strategy (or both) depending on the legal function of the translation and, second, by solving any problems of equivalence by using strategies such as borrowings, neologisms, and lexical expansion. In the terminological study I expected to find that different terminology would sometimes be required towards an English and an American target group, respectively, when translating Danish terms selected from the focus areas. This proved correct in that diverging American rules required an overall strategy of lexical expansion in order to overcome equivalence problems.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages77