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Textual features Linguistic features of English legal language

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The Lord Chancellor may from time to time prescribe and publish forms of contracts and conditions of sale of land, and the forms so prescribed shall, subject to any
modification, or modification, or any stipulation or intention to the contrary, expressed in the correspondence, apply to contracts by correspondence, and may,
but only by express reference thereto, be made to apply to any other cases for which the forms are made available.
Section 46, Law of Property Act 1925, UK
In the above example, modifications have split the following verb complexes: may prescribe and publish; shall apply; may be made to apply.
Negation Legal English makes use of a considerably great amount of negation
Impersonal constructions + Avoidance of first and second personal pronouns
Sex offenders shall register with the police … + Passives
+ Nominalizations No will shall be revoked by any presumption of an intention on the ground of
an alteration in circumstances. Use of modal verbs to establish rights and obligations
The major aim of statutory provisions is to establish rights and obligations within their scope of regulation. They can either point out what the subjects are obliged to
do, what they are not allowed to do, or what they can choose to do or not. For establishing obliged and forbidden actions, the modal verbs “must” and “shall” are
used, with “shall” being preferred and not being used simply as a marker of future tense as it often is. For establishing permitted actions, the modal verbs “may” and
“can” are used, with “may” being preferred.

1.1.4.2.3. Textual features


Repetition of nouns
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Nouns in legal documents are often repeated, not replaced by pronouns, which brings cohesion to the documents, and enhances precision.
This is an excerpt from section 3 of the Criminal Code 1995 of Western Australia, where the word “offence” is used eight times the word is underlined:
3 . Offences, types of Offences are of 3 kinds, namely, crimes, misdemeanours, and simple offences.
Crimes and misdemeanours are indictable offences.
Where for any indictable offence offenders may be punished summarily any court of petty sessions before which a person charged with the offence or which deals with
the charge or examines the person charged, or commits him for trial shall be constituted by a magistrate alone, or if there is no magistrate available and the
person consents, by 2 justices.
A person guilty of a simple offence may be summarily convicted by 2 justices in petty sessions.
An offence not otherwise designated is a simple offence.
Use of anaphoric and cataphoric reference Anaphoric and cataphoric references are often used to refer the reader to another
provision either before or after the present one. They may also refer to a provision in another statute.
598 . Kidnapping; alternative verdict
Upon an indictment charging a person with an offence under section 332
the person may be convicted of an offence under section
333 .
Avoiding pronouns One means of gaining precision is to repeat nouns e.g., player, rather than using a
pronoun e.g., he after a person or thing is introduced. Pronouns can sometimes have ambiguous reference, so this technique can indeed enhance precision.
Cognitive structure of “if X, then Z shall be do Y” In this underlying structure, “if X” is made up of conditional or concessive adverbial
clauses. Examples of coordinated adverbials in this structure are: on the expiration …. Or on the previous death …. subject to any authorized endorsement …. And to
the production …
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All these linguistic features of English legal language are well manifest in an example from the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade below:
GATT Article II 1b 1. b The products described in Part I of the Schedule relating to any contracting
party, which are the products of territories of other contracting parties, shall, on their importation into the territory to which the Schedule relates, and subject to
the terms, conditions or qualifications set forth in that Schedule, be exempt from ordinary customs duties in excess of those set forth and provided for therein. Such
products shall also be exempt from all other duties or charges of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation in excess of those imposed on the date of this
Agreement or those directly and mandatorily required to be imposed thereafter by legislation in force in the importing territory on that date.
The core of this provision is only “The products described in Part I of the Schedule shall be exempt from ordinary customs duties. Such products shall also be
exempt from all other duties in excess of those imposed on the date of this Agreement.”

1.2. TRANSLATION THEORY


Until now, there has been no agreed theory of translation among scholars. They all approach translation studies from different angles, and propose what they
consider reasonable. Yet, there are common points in their works: definition of translation, translation strategies, methods or principles, translation equivalence and
translation assessment, all of which will be discussed hereafter in terms of translation definition, translation strategiesmethods, and translation equivalence and assessment.

1.2.1. Definition of translation


For most ordinary people, ‘to translate’ simply means to put something originally in one language into another language so that the readerlistener of the
second language understands what the writerspeaker of the first language says. But for theorists, things are seldom that simple.
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