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Friday, 21 October 2011 10:00

Special Issue of The Translator: Law in Translation

Call for Papers


Law in Translation


Special Issue of The Translator

(Volume 20, Number 2, 2014)


Guest-edited by

Dr Simone Glanert, Kent Law School, Canterbury, UK


The Translator, a peer-reviewed journal enjoying an international reputation in the field of translation studies, invites contributions for a special issue on Law in Translation to be published as Volume 20, Number 2, 2014.


In an era marked by processes of economic and political integration that are arguably unprecedented in their range and impact, the translation of law, whether understood in its literal or metaphorical sense, has assumed a significance that can hardly be overstated. The following situations are typical. As the expression of a strong postcolonial commitment, various African states have decided to draft their legislation in more than one official language with a view to conferring equal authority to colonial and traditional languages. Elsewhere, an influential group of European lawyers is seeking to develop a civil code for the European Union that stands to be translated in 23 languages. Meanwhile, former political and military leaders are being prosecuted for genocide before the International Criminal Court, a body consisting of judges from many different legal backgrounds and operating according to a complex multilingual procedure. Controversially, the US Supreme Court has relied upon foreign law in order to assess the constitutionality of a Texas statute criminalizing certain forms of sexual behaviour.


Each of these instances raises the matter of law in translation. Can legal rules carry identical normative implications in more than one language? Can law achieve uniformity despite requiring to be rendered in many languages? How do interpreting and translation affect adjudication in a multilingual courtroom? To what extent can a given legal text make sense in a different legal culture? These questions raise only some of the difficult issues that confront lawyers and translators currently acting across national borders.


The Translator wishes to attract critical, innovative and interdisciplinary contributions drawing on fields such as translation studies, linguistics, literary theory, sociology, philosophy and postcolonial studies in order to probe the interface between law, language and translation, with specific reference to the transnational situation as it is currently unfolding. 
A non-restrictive list of possible topics includes:


  • A History of Legal Translation, or the Changing Role of the Legal Translator
  • Theories of Legal Translation: Is There a Need for a Fresh Start?
  • The Translation of Law as Interdisciplinary Practice (The Relevance of Philosophy, for Example)
  • Other Translations: Lawyers Translating the Humanities for Lawyers
  • Does Gender Matter in Legal Translation?
  • Is Legal Translation Political?
  • Sign-Language Translation before the Courts
  • On Routes and Roots: The Peregrine Character of Law
  • A Common Legal Discourse for the European Union: Myth or Reality?
  • Drafting Legislation in More than One Language: Promises and Pitfalls
  • The Theory and Practice of Legal Translation in a Postcolonial Context
  • International Courts: How to Adjudicate in a Multilingual Legal Environment
  • International Conflict Resolution: A Role for Legal Translation?


Those interested in contributing to this special issue should send an abstract of no more than 500 words accompanied by a short biographical note to the Guest Editor, Dr Simone Glanert (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), by 1 July 2012.


Contributions will be expected to range between 6000 and 9000 words in length (inclusive of notes). Illustrations from languages other than English will need to be glossed. Selected contributors will be asked to submit their paper for peer review by 1 April 2013. It is envisaged that formal acceptances will be communicated in early September 2013. Final versions of accepted papers will need to be submitted by 1 December 2013.

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