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The text and context of EU directives: implications for translators

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Author(s): Diana Yankova

Journal: Ibérica
ISSN 1139-7241

Volume: 16;
Start page: 129;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: statutory language | legal translation | European legislation | supranational law

ABSTRACT
Contrastive studies of statutory legislation are very scarce world-wide. Research in legal language has mainly concentrated on adjectival law leading to linguistic insights regarding powerful versus powerless speech, fragmented versus narrative testimony, the effect on jurors of simultaneous and overlapping speech, the use of leading, suggestive or improper questions in the courtroom, etc. Language of the substantive law has so far received considerably less attention from linguists, although there is a general tendency in academic endeavours towards interdisciplinary studies. Linguistic analyses of substantive law have elucidated issues such as how to make existing or future statutes clearer, without loss of content (i.e. document design) or how law students can be taught to process legislation. The present article analyses the specific functional, linguistic and communicative characteristics of the legal genre from an applied linguist’s perspective in the context of European legal texts, as representing a unique set of features and conditions. It looks at the linguistic situation in Europe and the language policy in the EU with special emphasis on the translation regime of EU institutions. The participants in the communication and the special role of the translator in the law making process in the EU are discussed.
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