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Keywords: legal, proper names, eponym, ethnonym, hydronym, hodonym, oikonym, oronym, toponym

Translation of legal texts is one of the most complex types of translation and it has an expressly dual character. The duty of the translator is to study and comprehend not only the grammatical differences in each language, but also the specific legal systems pertaining to the source and target languages, for which the translator might need to consult specialists of relevant legal branches.

Legal texts are drawn up using words of various levels of complexity that are used in everyday language and to which the legislator has assigned particular legal meaning. In practice we call them legal definitions and terms.

Many scholars have made observations with regard to legal terms being culture bound. Legal terms, as like proper names, have a meaning determined by the legal culture in which they have developed. They are culture items. The category of cultural items is not a fixed one. This label has also been applied to proper names, in that an understanding of their meaning can only be gained by acquiring the appropriate knowledge of the culture in which they have been developed.

In this case, there is some classification of proper names referring to legal notions:

-         eponym - proper names of a person or group of persons, forming the basis of the name of another person, family, place, object etc.

e.g. Dales law, Stiglers law, Princess Sophias Precedence Act 1711;

-         ethnonym proper names of an ethnic group (a tribe, a folk, a clan etc.), or a member of this group

e.g.The Reindeer Koryak, closest to the Chukchi, represented almost half of the Koryak population. Koryak is not a native ethnonym but was created by the Russians from the root kor, meaning reindeer, originally as korak, he who owns reindeer. William W. Fitzhugh & Aron Crowell, Crossroads of Continents, 1988;

-         hydronym proper names of a name of a body of water, forming the basis of names of seas, bays, lakes, fishponds, rivers, waterfalls etc.

e.g. The Fleet - , ;

-         hodonym proper names of route names, forming the basis of names of streets, squares, motorways, paths, tunnels, bridges etc.

e.g. Newgate Prison , ѳ, , ;

-         oikonym proper names of all kinds of human settlement, forming the basis of cities, towns, villages, hamlets, farms, ranches, houses etc.

e.g.Brixton Prison - : ; Danbury Federal Correctional Institute , : ;

-         oronym proper names of an elevated formation of the terrain, forming the basis of names of mountains, mountain ranges, highlands, uplands, hills, rocks etc.

e.g.San Quentin Prison (, );

-         toponym proper names of a place, inhabited or uninhabited, forming the basis of names of mountains, water, islands, woods, towns, villages, fields, streets, routes etc.

1985 Colorado Statute , - , .

The translator must translate the text of the source language in such a way as to exactly convey in the translation the contents of the original document and that the translation would have the same legal effect as the original document. At this stage the translator becomes a creator of a new text, bearing the responsibility that the translation will not create unnecessary legal consequences. When translating legal texts and documents, it is mandatory to adhere to the rules for designing and drawing up documents.



1.     Dictionary.com.

2.     Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary