Stepping over linguistic and legal boundaries Creativity and discourse changes in legal translation

  • Stefanos Vlachopoulos University of Ioannina
Słowa kluczowe: translation, creativity, language of the law, discourse, common law, Cyprus


The topic of the paper is creativity in legal translation. Legal discourse is unique for every legal system and it evolves into a unique and inherent entity hand in hand with the legal system it serves as a vehicle for communication. Accordingly, translating legal discourse means transferring thought patterns into another legal culture and consequently into another legal discourse. So far, research in the field of legal translation has focused almost exclusively on the comparative and descriptive analysis of original and translated texts disregarding how and why the particular decisions were made. All of this has proven to be very valuable, but does not provide a deeper understanding of the mindset behind the decisions of translators. The cognitive processes behind the legal translators’ decisions fueled by creative problem-solving remain undisclosed and leave us in the dark as to what links the translators’ choices to their cognition. Scrutinizing excerpts from common law precedent cases and law books translated by the Cypriot judges and used in a court decision reveals us what links their creativity to the possible discourse changes.