Book Review: The Ashgate Handbook of Legal Translation, Series: Law, Language and Communication. Edited by Le Cheng, King Kui Sin & Anne Wagner

DOI10.1177/2322005815607144
Date01 January 2016
Published date01 January 2016
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
The Ashgate Handbook of Legal Translation, Series: Law, Language and Communication. Edited by
Le Cheng, King Kui Sin & Anne Wagner. Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington, VT, 2014, 315 Pp.,
£ 90.
Languages are used as a means of communication between two different persons, two different
nations. Major languages in the world are always used as legal lingua francas in various contexts.
This can be seen in the eld of international public laws (treaties between states, law-related activities
of international organizations, etc.) and is also evident in cross-border business (contracts between
companies, international arbitration, etc.). There are two distinct perspectives on global translation of
language: there are those who focus on building international theory and those who are sceptical and
use language of various countries into practices. I will call them ‘source person’ in one category and
other as ‘target person’. I believe that this is a false dichotomy and that the real challenge is to reduce
the conict of perspective in a cross-cultural event, and to offer broader and worldwide perspectives for
understanding the rules of ‘translatability’ and ‘Third Space’ as called by Anne Wagner, King Kui Sin
and Le Cheng in the debate of legal translation, from theoretical to practical angles, with professional
and academics insights.
The book has emerged in the field of growing literature that seeks to locate the use of language in
the field of law. It has focused on how the language has been used to reduce the fiction of law in different
perspectives. It is truly an outcome of several years of research and exchange of ideas with shared
information. The book provides an opportunity for a general discussion on legal translation issues as
well as open discussions to enhance our understanding of the broader context of law, language and
communication.
The editors of the book under review, Anne Wagner et al., are pioneering scholars in legal translation
and its ontology of language used in different fields or arenas. They provide the framing chapter for this
collection. However, the book eschews the common trope of viewing language as a barrier and rather
focuses on broader and deeper understanding of legal language, depending upon concepts and ideas
emanating from different normative systems which are based on customs, religion, habitat, natural
resources, families, geography, climate, conception of morality and other features.
The book can be divided into two broad parts. In the first part, after the introductory chapter which
highlights the main theme of the book and details the research methods, the books shifts to exploring
and constructing an analytical framework for understanding the process and consequence of legal trans-
lation in theory. Theory is crucial in the study of law, language and translation in society. It focuses on
challenges faced in legal translation and the role played by legal translators such as jury and lawyers.
It also highlights the aspects of ‘foreignization’ and ‘domestication’ in target language.
The second part of the book shifts focus to the analytical approach taken by the actors involved in the
translation process, the actions they take and the final product they constitute from their practices.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
3(1) 124–128
© 2016 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
SAGE Publications
sagepub.in/home.nav
DOI: 10.1177/2322005815607144
http://ale.sagepub.com

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