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Re: [Czechlist] Elementary legal expressions from Czech to English

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  • 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 1 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
      >- 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

      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
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