To gain access to the Lawinwords European Legal Studies Area a subscription to this blog is required. This area provides a professional overview of English law and of the common law system when compared with the civil law systems and the divide between language and legal culture. In this section, we will be considering the sources of law and the law-making process, together with the legal language of Italy and England in particular, and in the USA, France, and Germany. An analysis of comparative language will also be offered.

This section is intended for those international students in the fields of European legal studies, legal translation and simultaneous conference interpretation who are in need of a deeper understanding of the underlying relationship between law, legal culture, and language, which is usually not fully covered during the academic years. In fact, the contact points between English law and the civil law language of Italy, France, and Germany are numerous.

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Furthermore, it must be said that inevitably and in spite of translators and conference interpreters, the legal translator and conference interpreter finds himself in the position of being a professional legal comparatist – in theory at least. This is a factual reality and they are as a result professionally bound and without delay to be expert in foreign languages and translation techniques as well as knowledgeable, if not experts in, comparative law.

We should make it clear that being an expert in comparative law does not equate with legal expertise or of being a practicing lawyer, given that comparative law is not a branch of positive law. Comparative law is not a gathering of rules that regulate specific relationships with legal effects and, in fact, there is no similarity between positive law and comparative law as, for example, with the private international law.

The legal-comparatist translator, and/or conference interpreter, will have to consider legal concepts that are not a part of his native language and its legal cultural system. Accordingly, he must observe and compare the divide between two different forms of thought process whereby principles conveyed by language result in realities and concepts expressed in the rules that follow.

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Dr. Salvatore Ivan Italiano

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