Eksplicitering og implicitering i juridisk oversættelse: En kvalitativ undersøgelse af brugen af de to oversættelsesstrategier i oversættelsen af juridiske tekster

Katrine Ravnkilde Sørensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Throughout history, legal documents have always been translated very faithfully; the target text (TT) always staying very faithful to the source text (ST). In later years, there has been a shift in the attitude towards legal translation among some people, so that the TT may be somewhat more free from the ST. However, to many translators, legal translation remains bound by the ST to a large degree, and it is generally accepted that the translator should never try to interpret the ST when translating it. In translation theory, the two translation strategies explicitation and implicitation are found. Explicitation, as defined in this thesis, is when the translator makes something explicit in the TT which is implicit in the ST, and implicitation the opposite; when the translator makes something implicit in the TT which is explicit in the ST. The process connected with these two strategies involves the translator interpreting the ST to some degree, clashing with the theory on legal translation. In this thesis, I have therefore taken a look at whether explicitation and implicitation do occur in the translation of legal texts, and if they do, which types of explicitation and implicitation can be found. To that end, I have used six legal texts and their translations as my object of research. The categories I have used in this thesis are the product-oriented ones that Dimitrova (2005b), Gumul (2006), and Faber & Hjort-Pedersen (2009) operate with; for explicitation, addition and specification, and for implicitation, reduction and generalisation. Furthermore, I have used Vehmas-Lehto’s (2004) more process-oriented categories of pragmatic, text strategic and stylistic explicitation where it was relevant to discuss the possible reasons why the translator had explicitated or implicitated something in the TT. The results from my study show that explicitation and implicitation do occur in legal translation, and my results seem to fit somewhat well with the results of previous studies on explicitation and implicitation in other text types. Explicitation is used almost twice as much as implicitation in five out of six texts, and addition and reduction are the two most used sub-categories. It is, however, a little surprising that reduction is more used than generalisation, as it seems contrary to the theory on legal translation that the translator, if in doubt about a passage or term, should cut it entirely from the translation rather than opting for a more general term. While my results seemed to fit with those of previous studies, I did find that a lot of the categories and definitions used in translation theory in relation to LGP texts are not quite as usable when it comes to research on legal translation. I discuss how these categories may be modified, changed and adapted to suit legal translation better.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages165