Journal of Romance Studies

French, English, Amharic: the law in Ethiopia

Journal of Romance Studies (2009), 9, (2), 1–9.

Abstract

The language of the law is difficult to translate because words or expressions in a particular language often carry concepts that do not exist in another. In this respect, the dissimilarity between French and English laws is striking. The difficulties further increase when either of these two legal systems – or both – is used as a basis for yet another system which adheres to its own legal traditions. Ethiopia is a particularly good example of such a thorny problem. In the 1950s Emperor Haile Selassie undertook a thorough reform of the legal system. At the time, little thought seems to have been given to the confusion likely to result from the introduction of the French approach into the existing Ethiopian system. The interpretation of these antiquated codes is proving increasingly difficult because law practitioners cannot access French sources. In this particular case, language is shown to be a key factor in the understanding and correct use of the law.

Access Token
£25.00

 Google Scholar

David, René (1960) ‘Report de la Commission de Codification’, Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 4, 668–81. Report de la Commission de Codification Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 4 668 81 Google Scholar

Graven, Philippe (1965) An Introduction to Ethiopian Penal Law (Haile Selassie I University in association with Oxford University Press). An Introduction to Ethiopian Penal Law Google Scholar

Harvey, Malcolm (2005) ‘Incroyable mais vraie; la traduction juridique’, in La langue, le discours et la culture en anglais du droit, ed. Rosalind Greenstein (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne), 57–68. Incroyable mais vraie; la traduction juridique La langue, le discours et la culture en anglais du droit 57 68 Google Scholar

Jauffret, Alfred (1965) ‘Introduction’, in Code de Commerce 1960 (Paris: Librairie générale de droit et de jurisprudence), 7. Introduction Code de Commerce 1960 7 Google Scholar

Koller, Werner (1992) Einführung in die Übersetzungwissenschaft (Heidelberg and Wiesbaden: UTB). Einführung in die Übersetzungwissenschaft Google Scholar

Pelage, Jacques (2000) ‘La traductologie face au droit’, paper presented at the International Colloquium, ‘Legal translation, theory/ies, and practice’, University of Geneva, 17–19 February. La traductologie face au droit Google Scholar

Raymond, James (2004) ‘Ideology and jurisprudence: French theory and Anglo-American law’, in Justice on Trial, ed. Pascale Feuillée-Kendall and Helen Trouille (Oxford: Peter Lang), 171–84. Ideology and jurisprudence: French theory and Anglo-American law Justice on Trial 171 84 Google Scholar

Selassie, Girma W. (2007) ‘Some nostalgic thoughts on the teaching of law in Ethiopia’, Mizan Law Review 1.1, 120–33. Some nostalgic thoughts on the teaching of law in Ethiopia Mizan Law Review 1.1 120 33 Google Scholar

Šarcevic, Susan (2000) ‘Legal translation and translation theory : a receiver-oriented approach’, paper presented at the International Colloquium, ‘Legal translation, theory/ies, and practice’, University of Geneva, 17–19 February. Legal translation and translation theory : a receiver-oriented approach Google Scholar

Taylor, Simon (2005) ‘The language of court judgements: a comparison of judicial discourse in England and France’, Langues et languages 27, 117–21. The language of court judgements: a comparison of judicial discourse in England and France Langues et languages 27 117 21 Google Scholar

Vlachopoulos, Stefanos (2004) ‘Translate the untranslatable?: the impact of cultural constraints on the translation of legal texts’, in Language in the Law, ed. John Gibbons, V. Prakasam, K. V. Tirumalesh and Hemalatha Nagarajan (Hyderabad: Orient Longman), 100–15. Translate the untranslatable?: the impact of cultural constraints on the translation of legal texts Language in the Law 100 15 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Briottet, Roger