6. The translation of legal texts as culturemes

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To fully envisage the overall culture-boundness of legal texts, a targeted translation procedure has to combine insights resulting from work in several disciplines, such as translation studies, sociocognitive and cultural approaches to terminology studies, comparative law and legal linguistics. We suggest viewing legal texts as culturemes, i.e. patterns of communicative behaviour involving both the extra-textual aspect (the legal system/culture underlying the text) and the textual aspects (the textual macro- and microstructure). Within the cultureme model, legal terminology, i.e. concepts and categories specific to a particular legal system, is considered the key textual aspect which functions as a signpost – by marking the text type and the relevant area of law in which it occurs and by contributing to identifying the legal system and the wider legal culture underlying the text. The cultureme model is also applied in producing the target text in which features of the source and target culturemes are combined to best comply with the skopos.


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