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法律文件中的近义和同义词翻译
发布时间:2011-9-3 11:46:00||  点击:1357次||  文章分类:翻译学习||  发布人:翻译家(Fanyijia.com)


摘 要:本文就法律文件用词精确这一特点,探讨中译英这类文件时经常遇到的近义和同义词问题,用实例印证,指出如何理解这些词,并根据法律用语要求传意精确的特点,如何选用译文的词语,以保证译入语与原语具有对等的法律含意和功能。

    关键词:近义和同义词;法律文件;译入语;原语

    The Translation of Words of Similar Meanings and Synonyms in Legal Documents

    Abstract: This article discusses the importance of the diction of English words of similar meanings and synonyms in the translation of legal documents from Chinese into English, and, by analyzing a sampling of  translated legal clauses, tries to point out that correct English wording is essential to the total transmission of their meaning in relation to their legal functions in both source and translated languages.

    Key Words: words of similar meanings and synonyms, legal documents, translated language, source language

    随着我国入世,法律文件翻译的研究已成为翻译工作者的一项重要任务。我们不仅要把国际的法律文本译成中文,使我们能了解熟悉国际法律;我们还要把我国的涉外法规译成英文,使世界了解中国。

    法律文件包括各类法律文献,如合同法、公司法、仲裁法等行政法规,以及合同双方缔约的合同文本,合资企业的章程等。要做好这类文件的中译英,首先要研究这两种语言在法律文件中的特点。法律语言自成体系,有自己个性与特点,它要求准确、正规、鲜明,并有自身专业用语,自成一家的语言结构。掌握原语及译入语的上述特点,是译好法律文件的根本。

    用词准确是法律文件翻译的特点之一,法律文件的权威性就是通过这点显示出来的,所以译文要保证译入语准确无误地表达出原语法律文件中的真正含义。因此法律文件英译时,英语词汇的选择,尤显重要。选词时要考虑到近义和同义词的区分,单复数的不同含义,还要注意到中英词汇广义、狭义、具体意义和抽象意义的不同之处。本文凭借一些例子,探讨见诸法律文件中这类英语近义和同义词的正确用法,以确保译入语的准确性。

1.     关于request 和 require的区别

    例:

     人民法院有权要求当事人提供或者补充证据。

    原译:

     A people’s court shall have the authority to request the parties

    to provide or supplement evidence.

     英语表示“要求”这个词大致有3个,即ask, request, require。 ask为泛指,request和 require为特指。request表示make a request,所以 request (sb to do sth) 是“请求(某人做某事)”,是下对上的要求;而require表示order, demand, 是“命令,要求”之意,指上对下的要求,比如法律条款对当事人的要求,业主对雇员的要求。此句中人民法院对当事人的要求,当然是require;译文使用request不准确。此句可改为:

     A people’s court shall have the authority to require the parties to provide or supplement evidence.

    2.关于legal,lawful 和legitimate的区别

    例:

    公司职工依法组织工会,开展工会活动,维护职工的合法

    权益。

    原译:

     The staff and workers of a company organize a trade union

    in accordance with the law to carry out union activities and protect

    the lawful rights and interests of the staff and workers.

     原文的“维护职工的合法权益”意为“维护职工的合法正当权益”,因此译文用lawful欠准确,应译为“legitimate”。

    关于“合法的”,英文中有三个词“legal,lawful 和legitimate,”它们意思很近,但有差别。“legal”按《牛津现代高级辞典》,意为:connected with, in accordance with, authorized or required by the law (法律上的, 合法的,法律承认的,法律要求的,法定的。),它强调 “合乎国家正式颁布的法律的,或经法律许可的”。例如:“诉讼过程”应译为the course of legal proceedings,即法定程序,所谓“法定”是指“合乎国家正式颁布的”,所以“法律行为”是legal act,“法定地址”是legal address,“法定代理人”是legal agent,;“司法协助”是legal assistance,“法人”是legal entity,“法律事务”是legal business,“法律效力”是legal effect,“法律效用”是legal effectiveness,“法定财产”是legal estate,等。

    “lawful” 意为allowed by law;according to law(合法的,法定的),是强调“合理合法的”,意为“合乎或不违反国家的法律、教会的戒律或道德的标准”,与“legal, legitimate”有差别。 例如:“合法行为”是lawful action,“合法政党”是lawful party,“合法财产”是lawful property,“合法席位”是lawful seat,“合法婚姻”是lawful wedlock,等。

     “legitimate” 意为lawful, regular, reasonable,(合法的,正规的,合理的,可说明为正当的) ,是强调既是合法的,又是正当的,指根据法律、公认权威与准则为正当的。例如:“合法防卫,正当防卫”是legitimate defence,“合法的自由,正当的自由”是legitimate freedom,“合法收入,正当收入”是legitimate income,“合法的宗教活动”是legitimate religious activities,等。准此,原文的“职工的合法权益”应理解为“合法正当权益”,译文中lawful rights and interests of the staff and workers应改为legitimate rights and interests of the staff and workers。又,原译系叙事,而原文是法律规定,含义大有出入,所以全句可改为:

    The staff and workers of a company may, in accordance with the law, organize a trade union to carry out union activities and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the staff and workers.

3.     关于formulate和enact的区别:

    例:

    为了发展对外贸易,维护对外贸易秩序,促进社会主义市

    场经济的健康发展,制定本法。

    原译:

     This Law is formulated with a view to developing the foreign

    trade, maintaining the foreign trade order and promoting a healthy

    development of the socialist market economy.

    “制定”译为formulated不十分准确。目前国内法律文件中,凡提及“制定法律”一般用此词,各文件相互参照,似乎formulate已成为惯用法。根据《牛津现代高级英文辞典》定义,formulate意为express clearly and exactly,即明确表达,比如formulate one’s thoughts / a doctrine(明确表达思想或宗旨)。法律英语中表示“制定法律”,应用动词enact。按上述辞典定义,enact意为make (a law);decree, ordain(制定(法律),颁令,规定)。比如,“制定法律”应译为enact a law,“制定条文”是enact clauses;其名词enactment,也有“制定,规定,颁布,通过,法令,法规”等意。比如,enactment of law(制定法律,法的制定)。为顾及习惯用法并按照英文法律文件的语言特点,采用同义词连用,此句可改为:

     This Law is formulated and enacted in order to develop the foreign trade, maintain the foreign trade order and promote a healthy development of the socialist market economy.

    

    4.关于terms和clause的区别;in reasonable ways和in a reasonable manner的区别

    例:

     采用格式条款订立合同的,提供格式条款的一方应当遵

    循公平原则确定当事人之间的权利和义务,并采取合理的方

    式请对方注意免除或者限制其责任的条款,按照对方的要求,

    对该条款予以说明。

    原译:

     Where standard terms are adopted in concluding a contract,

    the party which supplies the standard terms shall define the rights

    and obligations between the parties abiding by the principle of

    fairness, request the other party to note the exclusion or restriction

    of its liabilities in reasonable ways, and explain the standard terms

    according to the requirement of the other party.

     评:此段译文有多处用词不当的地方。

     原文的“格式条款”,不能直接按字面译出。中文的“条款”一词有两种含义,一是表示“条件、条款”,意为“规定”,二是表示合同法律文件中某一具体条款,例如第几条款,这里的“格式条款”应该属于后一种,因为合同有“格式条款”与“非格式条款”两种,而不是“规定”。因此,“格式条款”不能译成 “standard terms”。 Terms (pl) 意为conditions, provisions,比如“根据合同条件条款”我们应译成:in accordance with the terms, conditions and provisions of the contract。

    本条文里的“格式条款”应译成  “standard clauses”。clause意为(legal) complete paragraph in an agreement, or legal document(法律),即“合同协议,法律文件的条款。”所以“合同第10条款”应译成Clause 10 of the contract。

     原文中的“合理的方式”译成 “in reasonable ways”不妥。way一般表示“ method”方法,有时也表示 “condition, state, degree,(情形,状态及程度),比如“大规模地”可译成in a big way。“合理的方式”应译成 “in a reasonable manner”。 manner 表示“方式”(可数,通常作单数),比如“以这种方式”可译成“in this manner”。

     此句可改为:

     Where standard clauses are adopted in concluding and entering into a contract, the party supplying the standard clauses shall, under the principle of fairness, define the rights and obligations between the parties thereto, ask the other party, in a reasonable manner, to note the clause on the exclusion or restriction of its liabilities, and explain the standard clauses in accordance with the requirement of the other party.

    5.关于revoke和rescind的区别

    例:

     合同无效或者被撤销后,因该合同取得的财产,应当予

    以返还。

    原译:

     The property acquired as a result of a contract shall be returned

    after the contract is confirmed to be null and void or has been revoked.

     原文的“被撤销”译为 has been revoked,欠准确,应为rescind。按《牛津现代高级双解辞典》定义,revoke意为repeal, cancel, withdraw (a decree, consent, permission, etc),即“废止,撤销,取消;宣告(命令,同意,允许等)无效”,例如“取消决定”可译成revoke a decision,“撤销委托”可译成revoke commission,“吊销执照”可译成revoke a licence。

    rescind意为legally repeal, annual, cancel (a law, contract, etc)即“(法律)废止,撤销(法规,合约等)”,例如“取消合约” 可译成rescind an agreement,“废除法律”可译为rescind a law.“废除不合理的规章”可译为rescind the unreasonable rules,“取消判决”可译为rescind a judgment。  

     根据上述定义,本句可改为:

     The property acquired by either party as a result of a contract shall be returned to the other party after the contract is confirmed to be null and void or has been rescinded.

    6.关于reject和refuse的用法;“负责任的人”与“负责人”的区别

    例:

    合同生效后,当事人不得因姓名、名称的变更或者法定代

    表人、负责人、承办人的变更而不履行合同义务。

    原译:

     After a contract becomes effective, the parties may not reject to

    perform the obligations of the contract because of modification of the

    title or name of the parties, or change of the statutory representative,

    the responsible person or the executive person of the parties.

     原文中的“不得…….而不履行合同义务”译为 “may not reject to perform the obligations of the contract”,是误译,应将reject改为refuse。按《牛津现代高级英文辞典》,reject法律上意为refuse to accept即“拒绝,不接受,驳回”。比如,“不受理申诉”可译为reject a complaint,“驳回证据”可译为reject (a) proof,“驳回上诉”可译为reject an appeal。refuse意为show unwillingness to accept (something offered),“拒绝,拒受,拒给,不愿”等意。例如,“不准保释;拒绝保释”可译为refuse bail;“拒绝履行”可译成refuse to perform,“拒绝查帐”可译为refuse inspection of books,“抗税”可译为refuse to pay tax。

    原文中的“负责人”译成responsible person不妥。 Responsible指“负有职责”,“有责任感”,“可靠”,与“负责人”不是一回事。例如:Isn’t he too young for such a responsible job? (让他负责如此重要的职责,他是否太年轻了?);又如:Alice is a very responsible baby-sitter. (阿莉丝看小孩很负责任。);Give the job to a responsible man. (把工作交给负责任的人);Betty is a responsible young lady.(贝蒂是个有责任感的姑娘。)

    position 作可数名词(多作单数),表示“处境,境地”之意。例如:A man in his position might have done the same thing.(一个处于他位置的人也会做出同样的事。); Madame Michel found herself in an embarrassing position (米歇尔夫人发现她处境很尴尬); “负责人”应译为“the person in a responsible position”, 即“处于负责岗位上的人”。准此,此句可改为:

     After a contract becomes effective, the parties thereto shall not refuse to perform the obligations of the contract due to the modification of the title or name of the parties thereto, or the change of the statutory representative, the person in a responsible position or the executive person of the parties thereto.

    7.关于enlarge和increase的区别

    例:

     当事人一方违约后,对方应当采取适当措施防止损失的扩大,

    没有采取适当措施致使损失扩大的,不得就扩大的损失要求赔偿。

    原译:

     After one party violates a contract, the other party shall

    take proper measures to prevent from the enlargement of losses; if

    the other party fails to take proper measures so that the losses are

    enlarged, it may not claim any compensation as to the enlarged losses.

     原文中的“防止损失的扩大”应理解为“防止损失的增加”,因此译成enlarge不妥,应为increase。根据《牛津现代高级英文辞典》的定义,enlarge意为make or become larger (扩大,增大),比如,放大相片,enlarge a photograph;扩建房屋,enlarge one’s house。increase意为make or become greater in size, number, degree, etc.即在尺寸、大小、数量、程度上的增加、增大、增多。“损失的扩大”意为“损失程度的增加”,故应为 increase。

    另,原译中“from”和“as to”均系误译,见改译。此句可改为:  

     After either party violates a contract, the other party shall take proper measures to prevent the increase of the loss. Provided that if the other party fails to take proper measures so that the losses are increased, the party in question shall not claim any compensation in relation to the increased losses.

    8.关于package和packing的区别

    例:

     买卖合同的内容除依照本法第十二条的规定以外,还可以

    包括包装方式、检验标准和方法、结算方式、合同使用的文字

    及其效力等条款。

    原译:

    Other than those as stipulated in Article 12 of this Law, a sales

    contract may also contain such clauses as package manner, inspection

    standards and method, method of settlement and clearance, language

    adopted in the contract and its authenticity.

    原文中的“包装方式”,不能译成package manner,而应译为manner of packing。这两个意思相近的词,中译英时应特别注意。

    package意为parcel of things, packed together即,“包、包裹”。比如:一捆信件,a package of letters, 二十支装的一包香烟,a package of 20 cigarettes。packing (不可数名词)意为process of packing (goods),(包装货物的过程,打包,打行李)等意。此句中的“包装方式”自然是指“包装的方式”“打包的方式”,而不是“包裹的式样”,因此应译成packing。此句可改为:

    Besides those specified in Article 12 of this Law, a sales contract may also contain such clauses as manner of packing, inspection standards and method of settlement and clearance, and the language adopted in the contract and its authenticity.

    9.关于above, over and beyond的用法

    例:

     租赁期限六个月以上的,应当采用书面形式。当事人不

    采用书面形式的,视为不定期租赁。  

    原译:

     Where the lease term is above 6 months, the lease contract

    shall be in written form. If the parties do not conclude it in written

    form, it shall be deemed an unfixed lease.

     “超过”“高于”有三个英语用词,above, over, beyond, 但各自用法不同。

    “六个月以上”译成above 6 months,不如“beyond 6 month”好。介词above表示greater in number, price, weight, etc,即(数目)大于,(价格)高于,(重量)超过,但above有“在…..之上”的意思,指位置,引伸为“超出”“多余” 或“与……无关”之意,因此通常在表示高低的才用above。比如, The temperature is three degrees above zero.(现在的温度是零上3度)。遇到数字和表示数量与长度的词语,over较为常用,over意为more than。比如,You have to be over 18 to see this film. (18岁以上的人才能看这部电影)。There were over 100,000 people at the pop art festival.(参加流行艺术节的人数超过10万)。

    beyond意为(of time)later than, 指时间超过。比如,Don’t stay out beyond 10 o’clock. (10点以后不要呆在外面)。He never sees beyond the present.(他眼光只看到现在。) 此句可改为:

     Where the lease term is beyond 6 months, the lease contract shall be made and concluded in a written form. If the parties thereto fail to conclude the lease contract in written form, the lease in question shall be deemed an unfixed lease.

    10.关于urge 和remind的用法

    例:

     承租人应当按照约定支付租金。承租人经催告在合理期

    限内仍不支付租金的,出租人可以要求支付全部租金,也可

    以解除合同,收回租赁物。

    原译:

     The lessee shall pay the rent according to the terms of the contract.

    If the lessee still does not pay the rent within a reasonable time limit

    after being urged, the lessor may request it to pay all the rent, or rescind

    the contract and take back the leased property.

     原文中的“催告”译成urged,欠准确,应用remind。根据《牛津现代高级英文辞典》定义,urge表示request earnestly, try to persuade; strongly recommend, (力请,力劝,推荐之意)。比如,The salesman urged me to buy a new car. 而remind somebody to do something, 表示cause (somebody) to remember to do something,提醒(某人)做某事。比如,Please remind me to answer that letter.(请提醒我复信)。

     原文中的“承租人经催告后”,译成英文时,应进行语内译,理解为“承租人经提醒”,才能使译文准确。原译文中尚有其他不妥之处,一并改正如下:

     The lessee shall, under the requirements and provisions of the contract, pay rent. If, within a reasonable time limit after being reminded to do so, the lessee still fails to pay the rent, the lessor may request the lessee to pay all the rent, or may rescind the contract and take back the leased property.

    11.关于at risk 和in danger的用法;“处于危险之中”与“处境危险”的区别

    例:

     承运人在运输过程中,应当尽力援助患有急病、分娩、

    遇险的旅客。

    原译:

     A carrier shall, during the period of carriage, render whatever

    help assistance as it can to a passenger who is seriously ill, or who is

    giving birth to a child or whose life is at risk.

     原文中的“遇险的旅客”译成whose life is at risk是误译,“遇险的旅客”即“旅客生命遇到危险”,应该译成whose life is in danger。at risk一意为threatened by uncertainties (such as failure, loss, etc)指可能遭到失败,损失等意。比如,Is the government’s income tax policy seriously at risk? (政府的税收政策有可能招来大损失?)

    in danger意为“处境危险”,“遇险”,例如:He was in danger of losing his life. (他那时生命危在旦夕);We were in danger of being hit by a stone.(我们有随时被石头砸伤的危险)。此句可改为:

     A carrier shall, during the period of carriage, render whatever help and assistance as it can to passenger who is seriously ill, or who is giving birth or whose life is in danger.

    12.关于untrue和false的用法区别

    例:

     因托运人申报不实或者遗漏重要情况,造成承运人损失的,

    托运人应当承担损害赔偿责任。

    原译:

     Where a carrier suffers from damage due to untrue declaration

    or omission of important information by the shipper, the shipper shall

    be liable for damages.

     原文的“申报不实”即为“虚报”,英语的法律用词是false declaration。Untrue declaration按字面译出,欠准确。False有not right/ true/ real(错误,不对,不真实)之意,也有deceiving, lying(欺骗,不诚实)之意,比如,假账false account,诬告false accusation,欺骗性广告false advertisement,假报告false report,等。此句可改为:

     Where, due to the false declaration or omission of important information by the shipper, a carrier suffers from damage, the shipper shall be liable for the compensation for the damages.

    13.关于warehousing 和 warehoused的区别

    例:

     保管人根据存货人或者仓单持有人的要求,应同意其检查

    仓储物或者提取样品。

    原译:

     At the request of the storing party or the person who holds the

    warehouse voucher, the safekeeping party shall permit the person to

    check the warehousing goods or take samples.

     原文的“仓储物”不应译为warehousing goods,应译为warehoused goods。这里warehouse是及物动词,意为to deposit, store, or store in or as if in a warehouse (在仓库存放); warehousing一般作名词,意为“仓储”,“仓储费”。“仓储物”应理解为“仓储在仓库里的货物”, 因此译为warehoused goods。此句可改为:

       Upon the requirement of the storing party or the person who holds the warehouse warrant, the safekeeping party shall permit the person in question to inspect the warehoused goods or take samples.

    14.关于goods carriage和 the carriage of goods的用法区别

    例:

     货物运输需要办理审批、检验等手续的,托运人应当将

    办理完有关手续的文件提交承运人。

    原译:

     Where such formalities as examination and approval or inspection

    are required for goods carriage, the shipper shall submit the documents

    of fulfillment of the relevant formalities to the carrier.

     原文中的“货物运输”应译为the carriage of goods,意为carrying of goods from place to place,比如“旅客运输”的英文是carriage of passengers,“航空货物运输”可译为carriage of goods by air,陆地货物运输为carriage of goods by land,海上货物运输carriage of goods by sea。Carriage of Goods by Sea Act为英国《海洋货物运输法》(1924年)。Goods carriage 指 goods that are carried (运载的货物。) 此句可改为:

     Where such formalities as examination and approval or/and inspection are required for the carriage of goods, the shipper shall submit the documents of fulfillment of the relevant formalities to the carrier.

    中文的特点是用词简炼、词义深奥,用于法律文件更是如此。中译英时首先要把汉语的内含弄清。法律文件用词严谨,一字之差就有可能引起预想不到的后果。近义和同义词表达的法律含义有时不互等或不互用,因此翻译时,对它们的含义要把握确切,这样在语言转换时,就能保证译入语的用词与原语用词具有对等的法律上的意义和功能。

    参考文献

    倜西 董乐山 《英汉翻译手册》 北京:商务印书馆国际有限公司, 2002

    傅伟良 《英文合同写作指要》 北京:商务印书馆国际有限公司, 2002

    夏登峻 何联昇 《英汉法律词典》 北京:法律出版社, 1999

    单其昌 《汉英翻译技巧》 北京:外语教学与研究出版社, 1990

    法律文件中的近义和同义词翻译

    (The Translation of Words of Similar Meanings and Synonyms in Legal Documents)

    作者简介

    傅伟良,北京第二外国语学院英语系

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