Translating Legal Collocations in Contract Agreements by Iraqi EFL Students-Translators

Muntaha A. Abdulwahid, Zaitul Azma Binti Zainon Hamzah, Pabiyah Hajimaming, Hussein W. Alkhawaja


Legal translation of contract agreements is a challenge to translators as it involves combining the literary translation with the technical terminological precision. In translating legal contract agreements, a legal translator must utilize the lexical or syntactic precision and, more importantly, the pragmatic awareness of the context. This will guarantee an overall communicative process and avoid inconsistency in legal translation. However, the inability of the translator to meet these two functions in translating the contract item not only affects the contractors’ comprehension of the contract item but also affects the parties’ contractual obligations. In light of this, the purpose of this study was to find out how legal collocations used in contract agreements are translated from Arabic into English by student-translators in terms of (1) purely technical, (2) semi-technical, and (3) everyday vocabulary collocations. For the data collection, a multiple-choice collocation test was used to be answered by 35 EFL Iraqi undergraduate translator-students to decide on the aspects of weaknesses and strengths of their translation, thus decide on the aspects of correction. The findings showed that these students had serious problems in translating legal collocations as they lack the linguistic knowledge and pragmatic awareness needed to achieve the legal meaning and effect. They were also unable to make a difference among the three categories of legal collocations, purely technical, semi-technical, and everyday vocabulary collocations. These students should be exposed to more legal translation practices to obtain the required experience needed for their future career.


legal meaning, legal collocations, contract agreements, student-translators, Iraqi student-translators

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