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Elementary legal expressions from Czech to English

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  • Jirka Bolech
    Hello, A classic problem and I believe (or hope) there is a standard solution: How do you convey things like the following into English[my guesses/options]?: -
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 4, 2000
      Hello,

      A classic problem and I believe (or hope) there is a standard solution:

      How do you convey things like the following into English[my
      guesses/options]?:

      - zakon c'. ... Sb. ["Act ... of Digest"; I see "of Cl." as of "Collection"]
      - Obchodni zakonik ["Business Law", "Commercial Code"]
      - Stavebni r'ad ["Building Code"]
      - vyhlas'ka c'. ... Sb. ["Public Notice ..."]
      - sme'rnice [decree]

      Can you recommend a good source of such vocabulary, preferably on the Net?
      Also, each act has its name and I suppose there is, again, a standard,
      established translation into English; perhaps even as part of the act. Do
      you know of such a 'glossary'?

      Have a good weekend.

      Jirka Bolech
      Liberec, CR
    • Michael Trittipo
      ... I thinnk it depends in part on the expected audience. U.S. law librarians in academic settings will prefer Sb. without any translation (or Zb. for
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 6, 2000
        At 09:59 2000/03/04 +0100, Jirka Bolech wrote:
        >How do you convey things like the following into English[my
        >guesses/options]?:
        >
        >- zakon c'. ... Sb. ["Act ... of Digest"; I see "of Cl." as of "Collection"]

        I thinnk it depends in part on the expected audience. U.S. law librarians
        in academic settings will prefer "Sb." without any translation (or "Zb."
        for Slovak, since the split). My reference for that is the Bluebook (15th
        ed. p. 231; I'm sure the more recent editions track on this point). But
        law librarians' "professional deformation," especially when working in
        academic settings, gives them particular needs and interests.

        If one assumes that a more or less typical common-law jurisdiction lawyer,
        or even a layperson, is the audience, I would suggest using one of the six
        combinations resulting from "Compiled|Collected Statutes|Laws|Acts," but
        not the "of" forms that would be required if the "-ed" adjectives were
        turned into nouns. (Of course, the "of the Czech Republic" part is fine.)
        My own preference is "Collected Laws of the Czech Republic (year)." That
        is, I suggest using adj+noun of the CR, not noun-of-noun of the CR.

        The reason is that such adj+noun titles are the norm for comparable U.S.
        works, e.g., ILCS = Illinois Compiled Statutes, MCL = Michigan Compiled
        Laws, McKinney's (N.Y.) Consolidated Laws (uncompiled session laws), Nevada
        Compiled Statutes, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, etc., included
        sometimes in parentheses, e.g., Alaska Laws (Compiled Statutes) (although I
        think the latter is generally a librarian's note, not part of the official
        title). The "Collected Laws" form is more common in non-official
        compilations, typically historical, but fits the same adj+noun (not
        noun-of-noun) form, and would be easy for any U.S. lawyer to understand and
        use.

        I don't like "of Cl.," for two reasons. First, I think that "Coll." works
        better than "Cl." for "Collect[ed|ion]." "Cl." looks more like "class" or
        "clause," not "collection." Second, even where one might, speaking, say
        "of" when following a division number with a work's title, U.S. written
        legal citation style is to use commas instead of words. So "Act No. XXX,
        Coll. 19xx" works for me.

        But, since "Coll." is not, by itself, going to be very meaningful to a
        non-Slavist law librarian, and a lawyer would ask a law librarian for the
        full text, my practice would generally be to translate it in full once, the
        first time it appears, as "Collected Laws of the Czech Republic (year)"
        (even if it only said "Sbirka zakonu" without finishing the title), and put
        in a parenthetical saying (hereinafter "Coll."), assuming a document that
        would allow doing that (maybe without the "hereinafter").

        I'd stay away from "Digest" or "Digested," and I don't think I've ever seen
        anyone else use it. At least in U.S. legalese, and I think maybe in U.K.
        and other jurisdictions, too, but am not certain of them, a "digest" often
        implies some kind of analytical, summarizing or classifying work, not a
        straight uncommented collection of full text. A web search on "legislative
        digest" will show some of the kinds of things I mean.

        I'd be interested in how others handle "v zneni." The sbirka cite uses "in
        the wording of." But often, I'm inclined to think that "in the . . .
        version . . . " (choose post- or pre-modification) or "as amended by X
        thing / through Y date. . . " works better (or maybe even without
        reflecting the "v" at all, just saying in a parenthetical ("text of . . ."
        or ". . . version"). Opinions?


        Michael Trittipo, J.D. UofMinn 1981
        tritt002@...
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