mismatches render the text in the specified instances less authoritative and less committal. They also convey a different referential meaning in some other instances.
In many cases, TT does not make use of the verb structure with shall in its normal use in legal English.
It can be said that both the ideational and interpersonal components of ST are violated with the interpersonal component being violated to a greater extent.
Mismatches on all parameters have a contribution to this, especially those on the parameters of Social Role Relationship and Province.
Target readers of TT are foreign investors from various countries. Those who are from a legal system similar to that of Vietnam will to a great extent perceive the
translation the way Vietnamese readers do, both ideationally and interpersonally. But those from other legal systems, especially those of the Common Law tradition, will
mainly perceive the ideational aspect only.
3.2. Quality of the translation
The underlying idea in House’s model is that a translation should be functionally and pragmatically equivalent to its original. Functional equivalence is
achieved when the TT can match its ST in function and employs equivalent situational-dimensional means to achieve that function. And a text’s function is made
up of an ideational and an interpersonal component. The ST’s ideational function is to inform the addressees of measures to
guarantee their investment activities in Vietnam by setting forth their rights and obligations, the addresser’s commitments, as well as guarantees for other issues
related to investment activities in Vietnam. The ST’s interpersonal function is to show the addressees that the addresser is being direct, authoritative, and at the same
time committal. Assessed on this criterion, the English translation of chapter II of the
Vietnamese Law on Investment of 2005 has a rather poor quality. In certain cases the TT does not match its ST’s function, both ideationally and interpersonally. All these
functional mismatches have been listed above, so only one typical example should be mentioned, i.e. 82d. In the ST, the focus is on “goods that are manufactured” -
hàng hoá sản xuất, but in the TT the phrase is translated into “the manufacture of goods”, which is a completely different focus.
Not only does the TT fail to match the ST’s function in certain instances, it also fails to employ situational-dimensional means equivalent to those of the ST.
There are considerable mismatches on all parameters of the dimension of language use, which leads to a violation of both ideational and interpersonal functions of the
ST. Some linguistic means constitute mismatches on more than one parameter, for example:
The improper use of modal verbs and modal expressions in TT wrongly conveys the addresser’s intention. Obligations are sometimes turned into permissions,
and commitments into obligations. This improper use also weakens the authoritative tone of the text.
ST makes use of the unique characteristics of linguistic items, like the unidentified number of nouns, the tenselessness of verbs, and the formality of
Chinese-Vietnamese words, to construct the text as it is, to create the genre of the text. TT, however, cannot reveal these characteristics.
The use of extra linguistic items makes TT in some instances clearer than ST, which is not pragmatically equivalent. TT readers can understand the addresser’s
ideas more easily while ST readers have to make inferences.
3.3. Implications for translating Vietnamese legal documents into English