The Legal Translator a Photocopying Machine!

Hisham Obeidat, Rasheed Al-Jarrah


By coaching the current research problem within a psycholinguistic model of analysis such as relevance theory, we aim to show how translating a legal document (Specific Power of Attorney in our case) can be geared towards the maximization of relevance. The main thrust of the argument is like this: the translator should be able to infer the meaning the original text is intended to communicate to his/her audience by optimizing the ratio between the contextual gains and the processing effort in that any additional cognitive effort should be invested in producing additional contextual effects. According to Gutt (2000: 170), this can only be done when the translated text shares "all the communicative clues of that original." Concisely, by issuing the Specific Power of Attorney, the donor of the action is legally conferring certain duties/responsibilities to the Attorney in Fact to represent and carry out on behalf of the donor. The legal translator, the argument goes, has to account for the demands of customer’s satisfaction: the judge, the lawyer, clerks in the Department of Land, and the layman. An integration approach that combines the notion of Genre with the principle of Relevance, we hope to show, facilitates the process of selecting and narrowing down the relevant information with the least processing cognitive effort.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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