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Ontology as an information instrument for the legal translator

Author(s): Orozco, Mariana | Sánchez-Gijón, Pilar

Journal: Papers Lextra
ISSN 1885-2785

Volume: 2;
Start page: 11;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: Terminology | terminology management | legal translation | knowledge management | ontologies

Regardless of the speciality involved, one of the most evident difficulties in specialised translation consists of resolving terminological problems, to which end the translator often uses terminological works corresponding to the relevant field, such as databases. In this article, we present a reflection upon the shortcomings from which such works suffer, due to their very nature, where the management of legal terminology is concerned. Looking at the shortcomings identified, we propose a method of managing legal terminology, whether bilingual or multilingual, based on an ontological system, whereby it is possible to include all the concepts corresponding to both the languages and, thus, both the legal systems involved within a conceptual structure based on categories that are unrelated to any legal system. We present an example of terminological management in the form of an ontology and, chiefly, an example of the management of underlying concepts in legal texts, such as the clauses of a contract. Those examples could be combined into a single case that would permit the holistic management of the area in which the legal translator works. While terms are organised on the basis of their conceptual facet, a linguistic approach is taken thereto in a text, as well as in the ontology. That means that the linguistic facet of terms remains an essential factor in the management methodology that we propose.
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