The dubious quality of legal dictiona... - Maastricht University


Reference


Title:The dubious quality of legal dictionaries
Author(s):Groot, Gerard-Rene de ; Laer, Conrad J.P.
Type:chapter
Year:2007
Abstract:Legal dictionaries are useful tools in preparing quality translations. Unfortunately,their quality is often questionable due to a lack of reliability. Many such dictionaries deserveserious criticism, which becomes clear when our evaluation criteria are applied.Based on comparative legal research, these criteria are applied to the basic organisation ofbilingual and multilingual legal dictionaries.The crucial issue in dictionary assessment is to establish a sound basis for criticism. Weare convinced that this basis is found in the nature of the language of the law. Thelanguage of the law is very much a system-bound language, i.e. a language related to aspecific legal system. Translators of legal terminology are obliged therefore to practicecomparative law. Based on these crucial considerations, desiderata for reliable legaldictionaries may be formulated.Our final conclusion is that most legal dictionaries must be classified as a lexicon, whichimplies here that they are of dubious quality. To date, few legal dictionaries have attemptedto meet our criteria. Dictionaries that are based on comparative legal research, on theother hand, offer advantages that render them useful to professional translators.
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