The European Arrest Warrant Some pragmatic and

The European Arrest
Some pragmatic and translation aspects
Dolores Ross & Marella Magris
Qualetra Final Conference, Antwerp,
16-17 October 2014
1. The EAW in Belgium and Italy
2. The EAW standard form: structural indicators
3. Linguistic indicators:
Judicial core terminology
Lexical features: conservatism and redundancy
Basic syntactic parameters
Discourse indicators and discursive strategies
4. Participants in the EAW communication situation
5. Translation of the EAW: best practices and quality
6. Legal translators in Belgium and Italy
7. Concluding remarks
1. EAW in Belgium and Italy
• Belgium: law of 19th December 2003
• Italy: law n. 69 of 22 April 2005
• Most innovative aspect: the EAW is a purely judicial
matter, it takes the decision for surrendering out of the
hands of politicians.
• Italy: Ministry of Justice centralises transmission and
reception EAW
1. EAW in Belgium and Italy
After “a few years of teething problems concerning conflict
with national constitutional laws, all member states […] are
using the instrument and it is thriving. In 2007 the
European Commission declared the EAW as a success”
(JUSTICE 2012: 7).
2. The EAW standard form: structural
• Art. 8 FD: all Member States use identical form and
• 9 sections: a – i.
• Section d, Legal Guarantees (NL juridische garanties, IT
garanzie giuridiche) and section e, Offences (NL strafbare
feiten, IT reati).
3. Linguistic indicators of the EAW in
Belgian Dutch and Italian
3.1 Judicial core terminology
Legal terminology “is the most visible and striking linguistic
feature of legal language as a technical language, and it is
also one of the major sources of difficulty in translating
legal documents”
(Cao 2007: 53).
3.1 Judicial core terminology
• Europees aanhoudingsbevel, Europees
arrestatiebevel – EAB
• Mandato di arresto europeo – MAE
• uitleveren (extradite) -> overleveren (surrender)
3.1 Judicial core terminology
Legal professions and court structures:
• Parket van de procureur des konings
• BC kamer bij de correctionele rechtbank
• Rechtbank van eerste aanleg
• Procura della Repubblica presso il Tribunale
• Procuratore della Repubblica, Sostituto Procuratore della
• Gip
• Gup
3.1 Judicial core terminology
Suspect/requested person
de gezochte persoon - la persona ricercata
de betrokkene - l’interessato
beklaagde - l’imputato
de veroordeelde persoon - il condannato
Defence lawyer
raadsman/advocaat – difensore/avvocato
Judicial decision:
vonnis/beslissing – decisione (giudiziaria) /provvedimento
3.2 Lexical features: conservatism and
Conservative character of legal language:
• at vocabulary level: archaic terms and expressions
• at syntactic level: obsolete clauses and constructions
• at discourse level: old-fashioned cohesive devices
3.2 Lexical features: conservatism and
• NL in voorkomend geval, een tegensprekelijk debat, stuiting
van de verjaring
• IT in specie.
• NL indien, betreffende, dewelke
• IT ove, ivi, stante
3.2 Lexical features: conservatism and
• Latin has had a pervasive influence on most legal
languages  “a large proportion of the vocabulary of
modern legal languages comes from the legal Latin used
in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, or the beginning of the
Modern Era” (Mattila 2013: 173-4; Tiersma 2008: 12).
• Latin still possesses high status in the Western world and
is being widely used as a stylistic tool with a display
NL: modus operandi, IT: in absentia
3.2 Lexical features: conservatism and
• The French language has had great prestige and importance in
legal language, and the French Civil Code had a tremendous
impact throughout continental Europe (Tiersma 2012: 18).
• For historical reasons Belgium has been strongly influenced by
the French language and culture, and this is clearly manifested
in the legal language too (Hendrickx 1999: 20-21).
 perhaps the main difference in legal style between the two
Dutch sublanguages.
3.2 Lexical features: conservatism and
• Outstanding position of legal English, richly endowed
with binary formulae, triplets and other words strings
(Mattila 2013, etc.).
Function: solemnity, dignity, over-cautionousness
NL moord en doodslag (murder)
IT omicidio volontario
NL vrijheidsstraf of tot vrijheidsbeneming strekkende maatregel
IT pena o misura di sicurezza privative della libertà
3.3 Basic syntactic parameters: long and
complex sentence constructions
• Among the most obvious syntactic features of legal
language is the use of extremely long sentences (Tiersma
2008: 15).
• Sentences with complex clausal structure, embedded
clauses, etc.
• “The layman citizen who wants to explore his rights in
judicial documents is often confronted with an
unreadable text” (Renkema 2004: 258).
3.3 Basic syntactic parameters: long and
complex sentence constructions
Dutch example:
Het verzet is een rechtsmiddel waardoor aan een partij, ten
aanzien van dewelke door een vonnisgerecht in eerste
aanleg of in graad van hoger beroep uitspraak werd gedaan
bij verstek, de mogelijkheid geboden wordt om de zaak
opnieuw aanhangig te maken bij het vonnisgerecht dat
uitspraak deed, teneinde de beslissing te horen intrekken
en de zaak andermaal, na een tegensprekelijk debat, te
doen beoordelen.
3.3 Basic syntactic parameters: long and
complex sentence constructions
[…] veniva condannata in Italia alla pena di anni 6 di
reclusione, oltre la pena accessoria perché ritenuta
responsabile della violazione degli artt. 74 commi 1, 2, 4, e
5 della l. 685/75 ed art. 74 commi 1, 2, 3, 4 DPR 309/90,
per aver, in concorso con altri soggetti di nazionalità
italiana, fatto parte di un’associazione finalizzata al traffico
illecito di sostanze stupefacenti del tipo eroina, cocaina,
extasy ed hashish, l’organizzazione della quale la
condannata faceva parte gestiva il mercato della droga in
Milano […]
3.3 Basic syntactic parameters: long and
complex sentence constructions
• importando ingenti quantitativi dello stupefacente dai
paesi di produzione, la droga veniva poi confezionata
negli Stati Uniti d’America e smerciata in Italia, in specie
[…] era diretta fiduciaria del correo […] gestiva i proventi
del traffico internazionale degli stupefacenti, ed era la
destinataria di tutti i messaggi funzionali all’attività
operativa dell’organizzazione durante la detenzione di
[…] organizzazione armata composta da più di dieci
persone operante in Milano dalla fine del 1970 al 1993.
3.3. Basic syntactic parameters: clauseinternal features
NL Verkrachting zijnde elke daad van seksuele penetratie
van welke aard ook en met welk middel ook, op een
persoon die daar niet in toestemt, de daad met name
opgedrongen zijnde door middel van geweld, dwang of list
of mogelijk gemaakt zijnde door een onvolwaardigheid of
een lichamelijk of geestelijk gebrek van het slachtoffer.
IT .. organizzazione armata composta da più di dieci persone
operante in Milano dalla fine del 1970 al 1993
3.3 Basic syntactic parameters: passive
voice and nominal style
Both passive and nominal constructions promote an impersonal
style. Judges and legislators tend to speak in the third person.
EAW introductory paragraph:
NL Ik verzoek om aanhouding en overlevering van de
hieronder genoemde persoon met het oog op strafvervolging of
tenuitvoerlegging van een vrijheidsstraf
IT Chiedo che la persona menzionata appresso sia arresta
e consegnata ai fini dell’espiazione della pena privativa della
3.4 Discourse indicators and discursive
• NL dit bevel
• IT il presente (mandato), tale (tali garanzie), siffatto
(siffatta pena).
Differences in discursive practices in Belgian Dutch:
Op X december bleef het 15-jarig slachtoffer samen met
haar moeder overnachten bij hun tante. XXX was daar
eveneens aanwezig en wordt beschouwd als ‘nonkel’.
Iedereen sliep in de living.
Summarizing 3.3-3.4
• Typical syntactic and discourse features in the Belgian
and Italian EAWs: long and complex sentences,
embedding constructions, a high degree of participle
syntax, passive voice in Italian.
• Need for plain language principles (Mattila 2012: 33,
Tiersma 2008: 24).
• NL een beklaagde die […] niet zelf of vertegenwoordigd
door zijn raadsman is verschenen, kan […] in zijn
afwezigheid veroordeeld worden [‘bij verstek’].
4. Participants in the EAW
communication situation
Producer of the source text: judicial authority of the
issuing Member State
Receiver: competent judicial authority of the executing
Member State
Person wanted for prosecution
Professional relationship between the people taking part in
the EAW communication activity
Communicative purpose
5. Translation of the EAW: best practices
and quality assurance
• The scarcity of translation capacity in some Member States,
associated costs, difficulties in translation into some of the less
common languages in short periods of time or the bad quality of
translations are recurrent arguments (Evaluation Report Council
European Union 2009: 10).
• Often, judges and prosecutors are “visibly wary” of the quality of
translations they deal with, especially in the most common
languages such as English or French (De Sousa Santos & Gomes
2010: 110-111)
5. Translation of the EAW: best practices
and quality assurance
• Major problem - the organization or consolidation of reliable highquality translation services at a national level and the availability of
a reliable Europe-wide source of translated and original legal texts
on these matters. (De Sousa Santos & Gomes 2010: 101-102).
• Another important issue - communication between legal
practitioners and translators
5. Translation of the EAW: best practices
and quality assurance
• Need for effective communication
• English translation?
• Up to now, translation “tends to be approached in a
strongly reductionist way. It is generally speaking
approached as a ‘tool’, as a service” (Lambert 2009: 76)
• Trend towards a more collaborative translation model
5. Translation of the EAW: best practices
and quality assurance
• Endorsement of the “application of plain, legal-language
principles to improve target language readability and render
more elegant and useful translations” (Wolff 2011: 237).
• the translator is gradually becoming a knowledge manager,
called on to perform higher order skills of textual and
discourse competence, with increasing use of genre-based
competences, thereby generating ‘intellectual capital’
(Risku et al., 2010: 88-89).
6. Legal translators in Belgium and Italy
• In Belgium, there is currently no centralised official database
of interpreters and translators.
• There are ‘lists’ of legal interpreters and translators, which are
drawn up by different courts on different levels: national,
regional or local (Hertog 2001: 10).
• In May 2014, the Belgian Parliament has approved a proposal
for the creation of a national register.
6. Legal translators in Belgium and Italy
• “Italy has no national database of translators or
interpreters. This is to give the Italian judiciary the
freedom to choose translators and interpreters as they
see fit”
• The Italian law implementing the Directive 2010/64/EU
has adopted a “shortcut” solution: instead of creating a
national register, it has only introduced the requirement
that experts in translation and interpretation must be
enrolled in the register of experts (Albo dei periti)
maintained by each Court.
6. Legal translators in Belgium and Italy
• The prerequisites to enroll in these registers vary from
place to place. Very heterogeneous quality levels will
probably continue to characterize the field of legal
translation in Italy, at least in the foreseeable future.
• However, translation of the EAWs is done by internal
translators of the Italian Ministry of Justice
7. Concluding remarks
Legal translation plays a significant role in our age of
globalization “where the mobility of persons, goods,
services, and capital across borders has changed the
dynamics of law, forcing legal professionals to
communicate in a wide variety of multilingual and
multicultural settings”
(Šarčević 2012: 187)
7. Concluding remarks
“For centuries the translator has been viewed as a
solitary figure working in isolation, pondering over
words and sentences. Within a few years his/her
workplace was then transformed by terminological
databanks, MT-systems, the Internet with its
attendant tools and all the other technological
developments that are still being updated at an
ever-increasing rate”
(Snell-Hornby 2010: 368)
Dank u voor uw aandacht!
Grazie della vostra attenzione!
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