Translation in context St Jerome and modern multilingual EU law
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Original versionSYNAPS - A Journal of Professional Communication 27(2012)
This paper reflects on the nature of legal language and in particular the legal language of the European Union (EU) and translation issues that arise in relation to EU law. The avenue explored here concerns ways in which EU legal translation differs from other kinds of translation. Taking a contrastive approach can help to delineate what legal translation ‘is’ and ‘is not’ as compared with other kinds of translation, and that can help us to concentrate more clearly on what it is that places legal language and legal translation apart from other types of text (on legal translation in general, see Šarčević 2000). The occasion offered by the invitation to speak in celebration of the life and translation work of St Jerome on the day associated with his memory as a saint, 30 September, at the Department of Professional and Intercultural Communication of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in its 75th year, 2011, presented an opportunity to explore certain contrastive issues, and the theme of this paper arose from this circumstance. As a celebration of the life and work of Jerome, it seemed of interest to take the subject of Biblical translation, of which Jerome was a supreme master, and compare it with the more mundane and secular work of EU legal translation, as two fields which at first glance do not seem to have much in common beyond that of involving translation. One can explore similarities and differences between the two genres and see whether there is a link between the age of Jerome and the modern age of European economic integration, and between Biblical and legal translation.