增词与减词在法律及经贸文献翻译中的应用The Application of Additions and Omissions to Legal and Business Translation


The Application of Additions and Omissions to Legal and Business Translation


With its entry into the WTO, China will involve itself in the world5s economy more profoundly and widely. In the contemporary highly legalized society, laws are closely concerned with people’s economic activities, thus translation of legal documents becomes increasingly important.

Legal document translation has a lot in common with the translation of other documents; however, legal language has its unique stylistic and linguistic features. But there has been an absence of profound and systematic theory typical of legal document translation. It is a pity that skills involved in legal translation are only discussed in general and only few examples are illustrated.

Beginning with the analyses of legal language, the thesis intends to discuss the methods employed in legal translation, especially focusing on the application of additions and omissions in legal and business translation. Quite a few examples show that the two techniques play an important role in legal and business translation.

The thesis consists of six chapters and a conclusion.

Chapter One conducts an investigation of the translation studies. In this part, traditional Chinese translation theories are contrasted with western translation theories.

Chapter Two focuses on the distinguishing features of legal language from the perspective of style and lexicon, on the basis of which the author proposes the criteria in i translating f legal documents.

In the first part of Chapter Three, the author introduces the redundant information theory which was put forward by Nida and which finds reasons for addition and omission of words in the process of translation. In the next part, close attention is directed to the differences between Chinese and English. Following the overview is the application of the redundant information theory to literary translation.

Chapter Four and Five are the most important parts in this thesis. Quite a few examples concerning additions and omissions are elaborated from the perspective of C-E translation. Through analyzing these examples we can reach the conclusion that not only are the techniques widely employed in legal and business translation, but they are the effective means to achieve the closest natural equivalent in translating legal and business documents.

Considering the distinguishing differences between Chinese and English, Chapter Six attempts to give a simple look at some examples concerning additions and omissions in the process of E-C translation.


The thesis discusses the application of additions and omissions in legal and business translation. Although it cannot contribute much to the establishment of a systematic theory of legal document translation, the thesis is after all a combined trial study of English-Chinese contrastive study and translation of legal and business documents. Legal document translation is a brand new field in China’s translation circle and it requires flexible application of various translation techniques; on top of that, it requires language proficiency and consistent scrutiny on the part of a translator. It is the author’s sincere hope that the thesis can throw some light on legal document translation and a profound and systematic theory of legal document translation can comes up soon.

Key words:



functional equivalence

legal document translation

translation skills

the redundant information theory



中国加入世贸组织之后,国内市场进一步对外开放,中国与世界各国的经济 和贸易往来与日俱增。而在当今这样一个高度法治化的社会,法律法规与人们的 经济生活已经是休戚相关,法律文献的翻译也显得尤为重要。

法律翻译与一般性文件的翻译既有相通之处,又有其自身特点。但是历年来 有关法律文献翻译中独到的理论并未得到深入研究,目前也未有一套成熟的法律 文献翻译理论体系。而法律文件翻译的实践,如翻译技巧,也有文章涉及,但给 人的感觉往往是泛泛而谈,点到为止,且举例甚少。这不可不说是一种缺憾。

本论文从法律文件的特点入手,分析了法律文献翻译的方法,尤其深入挖掘 了增词法与减词法在法律经贸文件翻译中的作用及应用。通过大量举例证明,这 两种翻译技巧在法律及经贸文献翻译中的重大作用。

本论文共分六章。第一章介绍了有关翻译的基本知识,如翻译的本质,过程, 及标准。国外的翻译标准提到了泰特勒的翻译三原则和奈达的“功能对等”理论。 国内翻译理论提到了玄奘的“忠实、顺畅”,严复著名的“信、达、雅”,以及鲁 迅的“宁信而不顺”的观点。

论文第二章讨论了法律英语在文体和词汇方面的特点,并针对这些特点提出 了法律翻译的标准和基本要求。在论文的第三章,作者着重介绍了奈达提出的剩 余信息理论。剩余信息指信息传递中超过最低需要量的那部分信息量。剩余信息 理论为多种翻译技巧,特别是增词法与减词法,提供了坚实的理论基础。

接下来的第四、五章是本论文的重点,即在功能对等和剩余信息理论的指导 下,增词与减词在法律经贸文献翻译中的具体应用。这两章分别分若干部分,从 各个角度(汉译英)阐述了法律经贸文献翻译中增删的必要性及广泛应用。

考虑到英、汉两种语言一些显著的差异,论文第六章简单增补了英译汉过程 中一些比较特殊的增删例子。

该硕士论文研究了增词与减词两种翻译技巧在法律文献翻译中的运用,虽相 对于建立一套法律文献翻译理论体系而言,微不足道,但毕竟在法律文献翻译理 论探索中迈出了一小步。在中国翻译界,法律文献的翻译是一个新领域,要求译 者理论联系实际,不断提高语言能力。本文旨在抛石专引玉,真心希望在我国法律 翻译领域内尽快有一套完整而成熟的法律文献翻译理论出现。


Translation 15

Chapter Three The Redundant Information Theory And Its Application To

Literary Translation 36


  • Addition of articles 56
  • Addition of prepositions 57
  • 6 Addition of pronouns 59

Conclusion  92

Bibliograph  94


Chapter One About Translation and its Theory

  • Nature of translation

Over the centuries, many linguists and translation theorists gave numerous definitions of translation, but no universally accepted definition has yet been made. Many books have been written about translation—from the most general theory such as the definition of translation to the extremely specific techniques of how to translate a single word. However, they seem to have never reached consensus on what translation actually is. Great varieties of translation theories have been expressed, and it is difficult to decide which is the best. Some remarkable definitions shed light on what translation is.

According to Mildred Larson, ”Translation consists of translating the meaning from the source language to the receptor language; translation is basically a change of form.”

Eugene A. Nida, a famous American theorist on translation, puts forward his well-known definition: ”Translating consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style.” (Nida and Taber The Theory and Practice of Translation 1969: 12)

Peter Newmark defined translation as, ”Translation is rendering the meaning of a text into another language in the way that the author intended the text. It is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language.55

In CatfordJs words, translation was defined as, “the replacement of textual material in one language (SL) by equivalent textual material in another language (TL)”

A German scholar, Christiane Nord, put forward a new definition of translation on the basis of her former theories in the eighties, as “Translation is the production of functional target text maintaining a relationship with a given source text that is specified according to the invented or demanded function of the target text(translation skopos). Translation allows a communicative act to take place which because of existing linguistic and cultural barriers would not have been possible without it.”

From those definitions, we can understand that translation involves two different languages, and it is the transmission of messages between languages. Normally one thinks of a message in terms of its verbal elements, that is to say, the words, grammatical structures and the rhetorical features. These verbal elements differ in languages, so that people speaking different languages will express their messages in different forms but with the same meaning. Among those definitions, Nida’s stands out, which delineates the goal of translating and which sets up a standard for translators.

  • General criteria of translation

As far as criterion of translation is concerned, people are not of the same opinion. What is a good translation? This question has been discussed by lots of translators and theoreticians, and it is an important yardstick in measuring whether a translated text is good or not.

In the history of translation in China, the famous Buddhist monk, Xuan-zhuang, a great translator and organizer of translation in the seventh century, set down the criterion of “truthful and understandable”, by which “he tried to have the best of two worlds” ( Jin Di and Nida On Translation 1969: 79)

Another important translator, Yan Fu, a navy cadet who turned social scientist, put forth the traditional three-in-one principle, namely, “faithfulness”, “intelligibility” and “elegance”, which should not be ignored as far as the criteria of translation are concerned. Among the principle^,”faithfulness“ is the most fundamental, which means that the translation must be equivalent to the original text in content, meaning and style; it is the reproduction and has no or little loss of meaning, no or little over translation and under translation. “Intelligibility“ means the translation should be natural and idiomatic to the target readers, it has no sign of translation as if it were originally written in the target language.

“Elegance“ refers to the style of the translated text, which should be pleasant to read.

Lu Xun, who was famous for his literary skill and revolutionary fervor, fought against the tendencies of irresponsible translation and laid particular importance on faithfulness.

When comparing Chinese translation theorists with westerners, one finds a notable difference. The Chinese harp on the linkage between faithfulness and intelligibility; the westerners focus on equivalence, variously phrased and defined.(杨自俭 1994: 775)

In 1790, Alexander Tytler wrote the first significant book on translation entitled Essay on the Principles of Translation(《论翻译的原 则》),stating that “a good translation is one in which the merit of the original work is to so completely transfused into another language as to be as distinctly apprehended and as strongly felt by a native of the country to which that language belongs as it is by those who speak the language of the original work.55 (Quoted from Peter Newmark, 2002: 4) Based on this definition, Tytler put forward three principles of translation:

  1. The translation should give a complete transcription of the ideas of the original work;
  2. The style and manner of writing should be of the same character with that of the original; and
  3. The translation should have the ease of the original


Since “There are, properly speaking, no such things as identical equivalents^^ (Belloc, 1931a and b, p. 37) (Nida, 2004: 159), loss of information occurs in almost all translation, so one must in translating seek to find the functional equivalence which is stated in Toward A Science Of Translating as “closest natural equivalent”. (Nida 2004: 166) Nida believes that a satisfactory translation should fulfill the requirement that the “receptor language be the closest natural equivalent of the source language message”. (Nida, 2004: 166) Leonard Forster echoes the same point of view: “a good translation should be one which fulfills the same purpose in the new language as the original did in the language in which it was written.^^ (Nida, 2004: 162)

In terms of “the closest natural equivalent”, Nida set forth two requirements for adequacy of a translation, namely, a minimal requirement and a maximal requirement: A minimal requirement for adequacy of a translation would be that the readers would be able to comprehend and appreciate the translated version in the same way as the original readers of the text understood and possibly responded to the original version. A maximal requirement for translational adequacy would mean that the readers of the translation would respond to the text both emotively and cognitively in a manner essentially similar to the ways in which the original readers responded. (Nida: Theories of Translation/夕卜

国语 1989: 6 p. 6)

In Language, Culture and Translating, Nida proposed some principles in deciding what should be done to produce the closest natural equivalence in case a more or less literal correspondence is not functionally equivalent in both designative and associative meanings. (For detailed information, see 1993: 125-128) With these principles, Nida’s theory of functional equivalence is concrete and feasible as well as scientific and systemic.

Although various criteria for the assessment of a translation have been proposed, specific requirements should be satisfied in translation of different varieties of language styles. Legal language shares much with common languages, and the translated legal texts must remain as true and close to the source language as possible, with the intention of the original text rendered precisely and completely into the translated text. Any misinterpretation in content and meaning in legal translation will cause great damage or serious consequences, since legal documents are to impose obligations and confer rights. There is no doubt that Nida’s theory of functional equivalence, universally accepted as a good criterion of varieties of styles, is also a good one for the legal documents translation.

Every language has its own peculiar forms and no two languages are identical, either in the meaning given to corresponding symbols or in the ways in which such symbols are arranged in phrases and sentences. As a result, there can be “no absolute correspondence between languages” (Nida Toward A Science Of Translation: 156) but be equivalent in different degrees, in respect of different levels of presentation (equivalent in respect of context, of semantics, of grammar, of lexis, etc.) and at different ranks (word-for-word, phrase-for-phrase, and sentence-for-sentence). So inevitably in any translation there will be more or less a “loss” of content and meaning, the translator should restrict this loss to the minimum.

A well-translated text should be equivalent both in content and in style, and natural, idiomatic to the target readers. To achieve this goal, the role that translation theory plays in the process of translation can not be ignored, because those principles “which are helpful in understanding the nature of translating or in establishing criteria for evaluating a translated text” and “these principles are stated in terms of how to produce an acceptable translation.(Nida Language, Culture and Translating’. 155) According to Peter Newmark(2004: 9), translation theory is “first, to identify and define a translation problem (no problem, no translation theory!) ; second, to indicate all the factors that have to be taken into account in solving the problem; third, to list all the possible translation procedures; finally, to recommend the most suitable translation procedures, plus the appropriate translation.5,


However, in the long history of translation, many theorists and translators have laid so much emphasis on theories of translation that translation skills seems to be long ignored. Just as Wang Dawei (穆雷 仲 伟合,2001) points out that there are several long-standing mistaken ideas about the study of translation in China: practice comes apart from theories; the definition of “science“ narrowly focuses on systematic study thus somehow neglects regularity; value too much Chinese traditional translation standards; pile up terminology when applying western translation theories while ignore techniques with high regularity. In his view, Wang Dawei intends to draw people’s attention to more detailed techniques rather than the translation theory. Similarly, Wolfram Wilas puts the idea into his book The Science of Translation: Problems and Methods as “…if it (the science of translation) decides in favor of a theoretical approach, it runs too great a risk of becoming methodically sterile and producing findings which have only limited relevance to a practically-oriented science of translation.” Peter Newmark even believes that ”Assumptions and propositions about translation normally arise only from practice and should not be offered without examples of originals and their translations.”(杨自俭 1994: 234) The importance of practice is also put forward by Nida, as “Since translating is essentially a skill, competence increased rapidly with practice.( Zhang Jinghao, A Letter On Translation With Nida)


To conclude, translation theories should come from practice, and guide translation activities, or it will become pointless and sterile; and translation practice will become aimless without the guide of translation theory as well. Translation theory develops from practice and serves it at the same time; it is improved and enriched continuously in the course of translation practice.

  • Procedures in translation

In Nida’s view (Nida Language, Culture and Translating’. 146), the four basic processes in translating consist of

  1. analysis of the source text;
  2. transfer from source to target language;
  3. restructuring in the target language; and
  4. testing of the translated text with persons who represent the intended audience.

Actually, the first process “analysis of the source text” is to understand the source language, while the second and third steps mean to express the meaning of the source text in the target language. For the fourth step, “testing“ doesn’t seem necessary, for translation can be done orally or in writing, whereas the former in most cases can hardly be tested. Whafs more, not all the written translation undertakes this process, especially for legal documents which require a special type of translation


and for which it is basically hard to collect the reactions of receptors.

In short, the process of translation can be simply grouped into two steps: the first step is to understand the source text and the second is to express the original meaning of the source text in the target language.

Understanding the text is the key to translating. As a translator said, “It is so much easier to translate if I really know what the text means.5, (Jin Di and Eugene A. Nida On Translation,. 123) This is the central problem of all translating, for most mistakes arise because translators do not fully understand the text. An English linguist, J R Firth once said: “Each word is a new word in a new context.n (Zhang Jinghao 1996: 14) Understanding means more than knowing the normal meaning of words. In fact, it is the failure at this point that is responsible for most deficiencies in translating.

This is a case in point.

The church stands on an embowered point of the bank of the Avon.

The original Chinese version:教堂位于艾汶河畔,有凉亭遮蔽。 (张经浩,1996: 14)

It is quite clear that it is impossible for the church to be embowered (遮蔽)by a bower. The Chinese version for “bower” is “凉亭so the verb “embower“ can have the meaning of “shelter or enclose in a bower”, however, it can also be represented as “shelter or enclose as if in a bower”. The past participle “embowered“ means “enclosed or surrounded, esp. by plants and trees“ which should be the right meaning in this sentence.

The author betters the Chinese Version as follows:


Complete understanding means a detailed treatment of both the designative and associative meanings of the lexemes, the syntax, and the discourse structures. Only if the source text be fully understood and appreciated, can the translation be possibly successful.

On the basis of the good understanding, a serious consideration must be given to the second step, that is, to express the original meaning of the source text in the target language, which involves the shift from thinking in the source language to thinking in the target language. For most Chinese translators C-E translation is probably much harder than E-C translation, for understanding the source text is easier than the process of expressing in the target language. For some people, the barriers to effective translation are so enormous as to make the task of a translator almost impossible. That is because, to a great extent, some translators do not have good control over the target language. As we all know, a good command of both the source and the target language is an obvious requirement for a translator. However, it is particularly important for a translator to write effectively in the target language. Only if a translator acquires the above mentioned language competence in the target language, can he successfully accomplish the second step of procedures in translation. That is to say, a good translation is ready to be produced.


Chapter Two Distinguishing Features of Legal Language
and Criteria of Legal Translation

We use the word “law”, a word in everyday conversation, in so many ways that it is not easy to give a definition that is well accepted by the most. According to The Language Of The Law, uAn expanded definition of the language of the law: The language of the law, as described in this book, is the customary language used by lawyers in those common law jurisdictions where English is the official language. It includes distinctive words, meanings, phrases, and modes of expression. It also includes certain mannerisms of composition not exclusive with the profession but prevalent enough to have formed a fixed association.^^

Language being the law’s vehicle of expression, it is important for the lawyers and translators to give special attention to the study of language. The field of legal texts covers a broad range: contracts, agreements, statutes, degrees, legal provisions, commodity warranty, insurance policies, treaty, deeds of trust, wills and testaments, leases and installment plans and etc. Legal texts are formulated in a special language generally known as the language of the law which is the instrumental language quite different from ordinary English. It requires special attention in the construction of legal documents and of statutory texts alike mentioned above. The language of the law or legal language has its own special features and this chapter mainly focuses on the stylistic and the lexical characteristics.

  • Stylistic characteristics of legal language

According to Nida, it is important to consider certain overall features of style which play an essential role in the process of translation. (Nida Toward a Science of Translating: 227) Stylistics concentrates on variation in the use of language. By styles we mean both the style of ST and that of the original writer. It is generally agreed that language can be divided into five different styles: formal, consultative, casual, intimate and frozen. (Martin Joos: The Five Clock ) (Ji Yiguang, 1998:5) That is why we can distinguish different genres such as the styles of a legal document, a scientific paper, a publicity leaflet, journalism and colloquial conversation.

The frozen style refers to the most formal style, commonly used in very solemn circumstances such as legal documents. Among all kinds of English styles, legal language is of the most formal style, that is, the frozen style, which characterizes in many aspects as followings: precision, conciseness, repetition and formality.

  • Precision

Nearly all texts demands preciseness let alone legal texts. Virtually, preciseness is the basis crucial to legal drafting. In his On Legal Language(《论法律的语言》),David Millin points out that ”Opposing themselves to ‘the inherent vagueness of language/ lawyers make many attempts at precision of expression/5 (Boston 1970) The quoted sentence above conveys the message that preciseness is of special importance for legal English. Henry Weihofen also made a statement about it in his book Legal Writing Style: “The lawyer must be more precise in his writing than almost anyone else. Most writers can expect their work to be read in good faith, that is, with an honest desire to understand what was meant. But the lawyer must write in constant fear of what we might call the reader in bad faith, the man looking for loopholes in the contract so as to avoid liability for his failure to perform, the disappointed heir who wants the will read in a way that would defeat the testator’s intention, the criminal defendant who wants the statute interpreted so as not to cover his act, and all the others who will want to twist the meaning of words for their own ends.”(Weihofen 1979: 386)

In order to achieve the goal of precision, legal drafters spare no efforts in explaining everything clearly so that nothing disputable concerning the stipulation of rights or obligation should arise. Likewise, legal translators should do the utmost to the effect of exactness in translation. To illustrate this point, the author of this thesis wishes to quote two examples.

Ex. 1

……O除合同另有规定外,拖航费已经支付的,承托方应当退 还给被拖方。

….In such event, the towage price that had already been paid shall be returned to the tow party by the tugowner, unless …

第一百五十八条(Maritime Code of the PRC)

“退还”can either be translated into “return” or “refund”. However, the former one is informal and comparatively the latter is a formal word. As is said, legal language should be as precise as possible, it is better to use the formal word. So “returned“ should be replaced by “refunded”.

In fact, ££refund^^ is used in the same law for many times to express the meaning “退款”、”退钱”,for example:

… whereas any amount in surplus shall be refunded to the shipper. (Art. 88)

If the freight has already been paid, it shall be refunded to the shipper, … (Art.90)

Ex. 2



The English version:

…all the directors shall be appointed and replaced by the parties

to the venture.

“replaced” means “替换” or “顶替”,and it is not an exact version for “撤换The right word should be “removed”, meaning dismiss from a job or office.

  • Conciseness

Shakespeare says “Brevity is the soul of wit”. It is especially true of legal language. Apart from precision, conciseness is another distinguishing feature of legal language, which means giving as much information as possible in as fewer words as possible. The simplest, most concise language is the best for legislation. Henry Weihofen talked about it in his book West Law.

”Conciseness is particularly important for lawyers. Lawyers, more than most writers, must say exactly what they mean, no more and no less. Every additional word is one more potential source of ambiguity.”

“We like a writer who can communicate his thoughts in a straight-forward way, without circumlocutions or redundancies.(陈忠 诚 1998: 19) (Redundant Information Theory is totally another case and will be immediately explained in the next Chapter.)

But the truth is that some English versions of Chinese laws are not as concise as they should be. This is something really_worthy of immediate attention. Many reasons contribute to the verbose English version of Chinese laws, and using of unnecessary words may take the lead. Look at the following examples:


中华人民共和国为了扩大国际经济合作和技术交流,允许外 国公司、企业和其它经济组织或个人(以下简称外国合营者), 按照平等互利的原则,经中国政府批准,在中华人民共和国境内, 同中国的公司、企业或其它经济组织(以下简称中国合营者)共 同举办合营企业。

…the People’s Republic of China shall permit foreign companies, enterprises… within the territory of the People’s Republic of China…


The italic part is repeated information, wordy and unnecessary. To achieve the purpose of conciseness, the author of this thesis suggests using the legal expression of “the said country^ to avoid the redundant phrase “the territory of the People is Republic ofChina,\

The improved version is:

…the People’s Republic of China shall permit foreign companies, enterprises… within territory of the said country…

Ex. 4


The Chinese Government protects, by the legislation in force, the investments of foreign parties…


The English version is not concise enough. A five-word-phrase “by the legislation in force” is used to express the meaning of “依法”which, however, can be translated into only one word, that is “legally”, representing the same meaning with equal authenticity So the version can be bettered as follows:

The Chinese Government legally protects the investments of foreign parties …

The essence of conciseness is to express much in a few words or sentences, so omitting needless words should be the fundamental principle for the purpose of conciseness. A sentence should not contain any unnecessary words, and a paragraph no unnecessary sentences. _ ——-— 一

If one word can communicate the intended sense exactly, two words or more should never be used. However, the most important thing that must be borne in a translator’s mind is that what he omits is really unnecessary and that he should not violate the principle of precision. Another example:

Ex. 5


  • ••and continuouslyenhancing the level of people’s enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights.

(Report On The Work Of the Government: 2005)

The adverb “continuously“ is used in the English version to modify the verb “enhancing”. However, if we give another thought to the version, wouldn’t it be more concise that “continuously“ is omitted, for it is well known that the progressive tense of verbs can generally include the meaning of “不断

Similarly, in the next example the modifier “积极”is unnecessary to be translated for the purpose of conciseness.

Ex. 6


We should press ahead with all supportive reforms.

(Beijing Review 2005/5)

It is needless to put uactively^ or avigorously,J before “press ahead” which already contains the meaning of “积极

  • Repetition

Another striking characteristic of legal language is its abundance of repetition. As it is mentioned in 2.1, precision is the sole of legal language. Do these two features of legal language produce contradiction? Let’s see what Henry Weihofen said in West Law. ”Exactness often demands repeating the same term to express the same idea. Where that is true, never be afraid of using the same word over and over again. Many more sentences are spoiled by trying to avoid repetition than by repetition.”(易

治贤 1999: 7)

Repeating the same words aims at making the translation more exact and unambiguous and more compact and authentic.

This is a case in point.

Ex. 7

如果仲裁在中国进行,则应将案件提交:(北京)或(上海)或 (深圳)中国国际经济贸易仲裁委员会,适用该委员会的仲裁

规则;如果仲裁在日本进行,则应将案件提交(东京)或(大 阪)日本商事仲裁协会,适用该仲裁组织的仲裁规则。

The English version:

If the arbitration takes place in China, the case shall be submitted to China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (Beijing) or (Shanghai) or (Shenzhen) and the arbitration rules of this Commission shall be applied. If the arbitration takes place in Japan, the case shall be submitted to the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (Tokyo) or (Osaka) and the arbitration rules of this arbitration organization shall be applied.(易希贤 1998: 8)

In the English version, the same sentence structure “if …takes place in…“is used twice; verbs like “take place”, “submit”, “apply” are repeatedly used. The repetition here makes the version more forceful, compact and authentic. Besides, no verbosity is caused.

Another phenomenon widely existing in legal documents is the repetition of nouns instead of pronouns, for pronouns will often cause ambiguity and confusion which would be intolerable in legal English. For example:


公司的重要文件,包括但不限于经营计划及月度、季度和年度 的报表等,经总经理和副总经理会签方为有效。

The documents on the major issues of the Company, including but not limited to, the management plan, the monthly report, quarterly report and annual report, shall be signed jointly by the General Manager and Deputy General Manager, then the documents shall come into effect.

“Report“ in the English version is repeated more than once in order to make the meaning clearer and the version more readable. The use of “documents” (noun) instead of “they”‘ (pronoun) perfectly avoids ambiguity and confusion, thus achieving precision and equal authenticity.

  • Formality

As far as formality is concerned, legal language is one of the most formal styles. The formality of English language is achieved through the combination of a variety of approaches, among which the use of formal words takes a major share. Formal words are everywhere in all kinds of legal documents. For example: “prior t。” is used instead of “before”, (‘subsequent ton instead of “after” and ‘”provided thatinstead of “but” in contracts.

The following is just one of many examples.

The parties may modify the contract upon consensus through consultation.

——第七十七条(Contract Law of the PRC 1999: 39) The parties may dissolve the contract upon consensus through consultation.

——第九十三条(CLPRC 1999: 46)

The rights and obligations under a contract shall terminate in any of the following situations.

——第九H–条(CLPRC 1999: 44)

In the above three examples, formal words such as “modify, dissolve, terminateare employed instead of their informal synonyms “change, write off, end”.

Other examples of formal words commonly used in legal documents are: construe ( explain or interpret) deem ( consider) partake in (take part in) forthwith ( at once) expire ( at the end)


commence (begin)

procure ( obtain)

Formal expressions for affidavits are as follows: “being first duly sworn”, “depose and says”, “before me”, “a notary public”; likewise, we can use “Now therefore”, “It Is Ordered”, “Adjudged”, “Decreed” to achieve formality instead of the common word “judgment”.(孙万彪 2004: 2)

It is also noticeable that legal documents often consist of archaic words and phrases which always contribute to formality. Archaic words and phrases will be discussed in 2.2.

  • Lexical characteristics of legal language
    • Frequent employment of archaic words

Archaic words refer to those words composed of two parts: here, there, where + after, by, on, to, under, upon, with, etc., which are seldom used in other English styles but are frequently adopted in legal writing. As D. Crystal and D. Davy (1969: 207) wrote “It is especially noticeable that any passage of legal English is usually well studded with archaic words and phrases of a kind that could be used by no one else but lawyers.n Such words reflect the regular, solemn, conservative, rigid and authoritative style of legal documents. Not only can archaic words add a touch of formality to the language in which they occur, but also can


promote precision and avoid unnecessary repetition.


Excusable Delay where the term is used in this Agreement shall mean those causes of delay specifically identified in Article 7 hereof.

The use of “hereof’ gets rid of the verbosity in saying “Excusable Delay”, thus achieving conciseness and avoiding unnecessary repetition.


A contract shall be an agreement whereby the parties establish, change or terminate their civil relationship.

合同是当事人之间设立、变更、终止民事关系的协议。(王晓 宁 2001: 28)

In the English version, ^whereby” ( =by which 靠那个)introduces an attributive clause and “which” refers to “an agreement”. It seems that there is no corresponding word for “whereby“ in the Chinese version, whereas the meaning “靠协议”has already incorporated therein.

Many other archaic words employed in legal documents are: hereafter: in this document and after this point 此后,以后 hereby: in this way or by this letter 以此,以此方式,特此 herein: in this document此中,于此,在此文件中 hereunder: under this heading or below this phrase 在下面 hereinabove: above in this document, statement 前文

heretobefore: previously or earlier 在此之前,到现在为止 herewith: together with this letter or written material 随此 thereafter: after that 此后

thereinafter: afterwards listed in that document 此文后面

theretobefore: before that time 在那之前

whereby: by which 按,靠那个

whereunder: under which 在其下

wherewith: with which 以此方法

The above examples clearly convey the message that appropriate employment of archaic words can contribute to the formality of legal texts, avoiding unnecessary repetition and reducing the possibility of ambiguity; hence making the sentence more cohesive and well knit.

  • Words used in coordination

Another notable feature of words in legal English is the frequent appearance of pairs of synonyms and parallel structure, which is especially an outstanding characteristic of contract. By way of this feature, legal texts expound clearly nearly all the expected conditions. The followings are examples that can be easily found in legal documents: agent or collector (代理或收款人)

by and between (由 并在 之间)

customs fees and duties(关税)
goods and chattels(货物与动产)
last will and testament(遗嘱)
losses and damage(毁坏,损坏)
made and singed(由……签订)
null and void(无效)
on and after(在……和在……之后)
provisions and stipulations(规定和约定)
purchase and sell(购买和销售)
sign and issue(签发)
terms and conditions(条件,条款)
gaming and wagering(赌博)


Sometimes legal drafters are likely to put together English words and words of French origin, such as ”breaking and entering”(闯入), “goods and chatties”(私人财产).The latter word of those phrases is used to reinforce the meaning of the former one.

Why does legal English have this kind of feature? Goldfarb Ronald L. explains the reason in Clear Understanding: a guide to legal writing: “Legal languages grew out of Old English common law, enriched by the Latinate tradition of the early Church and the tradition of civil law brought to England, along with the Norman French, during the Conquest. As a result, Anglo-American law is still flecked with French phrases, Old

English words and Latinisms…(李文阳 科技翻译:15) Crystal also held the view that “Draftsman got into the habit of using these pairs at a time when there were in the language both native English and a borrowed French term for the same referent.(Crystal, 1968: 208).


Any stipulation …that derogates from the provisions of this Chapter shall be null and void. However, such nullity and voidness shall not affect •••

第四十四条(Maritime Code of the PRC)


The carrier shall not be liable for the loss of or damage to the goods occurred during the period of carrier’s responsibility arising or resulting from any of the following causes:

第五H—■条(Maritime Code of the PRC)

In these two examples, null and void, nullity and voidness, arising or resulting are of the usage of reduplication of synonyms. The purpose of this use is not only to respect the tradition, but also to seek accuracy and completion of meaning.

It is blameless to use commonly used reduplications of synonyms or near-synonyms to obey the habit of legal English, whereas it is of great necessity to avoid using superfluous words. In a word, the skillful grasp of coordinate words is one of the most effective ways to raise accuracy and preciseness to the translation.

Because of the authoritative nature of legal documents, the translation of archaic words and coordinate words requires legal translators’ high attention and skill. Chapter Four and Chapter Five will focus on how to translate legal texts characterized in the above mentioned features.

Other distinguishing characteristics of legal English, such as, the use of technical terms, preference for formal or big words, common words with special meanings, words of French and Latin origins, will not be discussed in this thesis, for they are not so close with the translation skills that will be dealt with in the following two chapters. However, those features are indeed quite noticeable in legal texts and surely worthy of attention.

  • The criteria of legal translation

Compared with some larger linguistic aspects such as literature, translation theory is rather underdeveloped. As a special-purpose translation, legal translation is only one of the sub-areas of translation. Along with the tendency of globalization and development in intercultural communications, translators have realized the importance of legal translation and started the study on it. For the most part, modern translation theorists no longer regard translation as a mechanical process of transcoding one language into another. Nor is a text regarded as ‘a string of words and structures to be converted into a string of equivalents5 (Sarcevic 1997: 5).

Since legal texts are subject to legal criteria, it follows that a theory for the translation of legal texts must take account of legal considerations. By the same token, it cannot disregard basic issues of translation theory. Just as what is mentioned earlier in this Chapter, legal texts such as laws and contracts are primarily regulatory in nature and have their own peculiar characteristics which should of course be taken into consideration as far as legal criteria is concerned.

  • Fidelity

To produce a text that leads to the same results in practice, the translator must be able “to understand not only what the words mean and what a sentence means, but also what legal effect it is supposed to have, and how to achieve that legal effect in the other language.5, (Sarcevic 1997: 72) Since the main goal of legal translation is to reproduce the content of the source text as accurately as possible, the principle of fidelity should be taken as the first criterion to legal translation. Legislative writing admits of no ambiguity in interpreting the documents. “The factual and authorized field of legislation has the effect that no element of it may be ‘ignored, perverted, enlarged, or constrained.5

(Bowers 1989: 53) This does not mean, of course, that legal translation should be word-for-word translation, in which the words of the source text are translated literally into the target language and even the grammatical forms and word order of the source text are retained, that is to say, no original words and sentence are allowed to be altered. However, legal English is noted for its peculiar unusual grammatical and syntactic features, besides, English and Chinese belong to different language families, the former belonging to Indo-European language family, while the latter, to Sino-Tibetan language family. (Differences between the two languages will be further discussed in Chapter Three, 3.2) So it is not proper to apply word-for-word translation to legal documents. Other explanations, mainly demonstrated in Chapter 3, also contribute to the argument that literal translation is not appropriate for legal translation and the employment of techniques such as addition and omission of words are of great importance to the process of legal translation.

  • Functional equivalence

“Fidelity to the original text must be the first consideration.” (Sarcevic 1997:16) But how to achieve fidelity when we do legal translation? “Functional equivalence^^ put forward by Nida can serve as perhaps the best solution to the problem. By functional equivalence, Nida means that it is essential that functional equivalence be stated primarily in terms of a comparison of the way in which the original receptors understood and appreciated the text and the way in which receptors of the translated text understand and appreciate the translated text.” (Nida Language, Culture and Translating: 116) This means that target language receptors must understand the content of the text, but they should also be able to appreciate some of the impact and appeal which such a text must have had for the original receptors. He holds the view in the book On Translation that the relation, of target language receptors to the target language text should be roughly equivalent to the relationship between the original receptors and the original text. He used the phrase “roughly equivalent to” (Jin Di and Eugene A. Nida 1884: 86) because he believes that no translation can be an absolute rendering of all of the content and form of the original. <£cEquivalenceJ cannot be understood in its mathematical meaning of identity, but only in terms of proximity, i.e. on the basis of degrees of closeness to functional identity.n (Nida Language, Culture and Translating: 117) Moreover, he treated functional equivalence in terms of the “closest natural equivalent”. (Nida Toward a Science of Translating: 166} which contains three essential terms: a) equivalent, which points toward the source-language message, b) natural, which points toward the receptor language, and c) closest, which binds the two orientations together on the basis of the highest degree of approximation.

In general, considering the above summarized characteristics of legal English, fidelity should be the first criterion of legal translation and considering diversities of culture and language ( English and Chinese) (See Chapter 3), functional equivalence can be viewed as the second criterion of a good legal translation.

With these two criteria kept in mind, with careful legal considerations of legal texts held in mind, a translator can produce good legal translation. However, as a highly complicated and demanding job, the translation of legal documents also acquires sufficient skill through years of practice.


Chapter Three The Redundant Information Theory And Its
Application To Literary Translation

3.1 A general look at the redundant information theory

With the development of science and technology, the information theory has been applied in linguistics, especially in translation, adding fresh blood to translation theories, by its special means, finding reasons for addition and omission of words in translation. This Chapter will discuss application of the redundant information theory to the two widely used techniques in translation.

Translating means communicating, and this process depends on what is received by persons hearing or reading a translation. Communication consists essentially of three factors: source, message, and receptor. (Nida: Toward A Science Of Translation: 120) We can treat communication as a procedure by which source and receptor are related through the instrument of a message. This basic relationship may be diagrammatically represented as follows:

  • the procedure of communication


Such a diagram is, however, too simplistic, for communication is far more complex, with many additional factois involved. However, it is
based on this that Nida introduced information theory into the process of communication. In terms of this theory it is possible to study the rate of flow of message in a channel, for the number of messages which can be communicated is mathematically related to the number of singling units.5, (Nida: Toward A Science Of Translation: 125) According to him, the flow of message in a channel of the source language should be a considerable measure fit to the reader of the source language, for the original message is well prepared for them considering the linguistic and cultural background of the source language. In this case, the communication load of a message is appropriate for readers of source language, thus the communication can be successful, that is, readers of source language can fully understand the message conveyed.

  • Communication load is appropriate and the message conveyed can be fully passed to readers of Source language.


Length of Source language

However, readers of the target language are not as capable as those of the source language in understanding the original message, for they lack cultural awareness of the circumstances of the original

communication. Normally, it is harder for the receptor to comprehend the message than it was to the original receptors. If it is too hard, he is likely to give up or only can accept part of the message conveyed. In this case, equivalent message cannot be achieved.


Length of Source language

How to solve this problem? Following Nida’s direction, we can “lengthen“ the message, that is, to take more time to communicate it, and to add redundant information, so as to lower the degrees of difficulty of the source language and make it equivalently meaningful.

Figure 4: communication procedure of Target language


Length of Target language

“Lengthening” the message means to add amounts of words with the purpose of ensuring the quality of target text, and hence to achieve efficient communication. This does not mean, of course, that translators can rewrite the texts, adding information that he considers useful and omitting information that is too hard to understand, which is not only a total violation of the source text but also a real violation of the principle of fidelity. Although amounts of words are added to the target text, information to be conveyed is to remain the same because what is added is necessary redundancy aiming at increasing explicitness and lessening communication load. A really satisfactory translation should not impose a sort of burden on the receptor, so “any message in the source language will need to be filled out with at least some types of redundancy, so as to match the linguistic and cultural redundcincy to which the original receptors has access.” (Nida: Toward A Science Of Translation”. 130) Such redundancy may be accomplished by a number of techniques, especially addition and omission of words, to be discussed in Chapter Four and Five.

Though redundancy might seem to be a waste of effort, it actually fills a very important role in the efficiency of languages, which, according to Nida, ”normally tend to produce message of about 50 percent redundancy.5, (Nida: Toward A Science Of Translation: 130) For example: Those people are famous movie stars in Hollywood. Seeing “Those”, we know it must be followed by plural form “people”, “are” and “stars”, but not the single form “person”, “is” and “star”. There are four plural forms in this sentence, thus the last three are redundant information which is caused by the requirement of grammar. There is another case in point. The lines of one of an old but very famous Chinese song goes like this “保卫家乡,保卫黄河,保卫河北,保卫全中国” .The first “保卫” is new information whereas the rest is repetition and redundant information. To conclude, since the normal procedure of communication cannot do without redundant information, a skillful handling of it is a must to produce a satisfactory translation.

  • A general view on comparison of Chinese and English

Since all the theories, methods, techniques concerning translation are based on comparison, ifs better for a translator to discern the difference in the ways of thinking and the modes of expression of the two languages concerned to render a good translation. Chinese and English belong to different language families: Chinese is a language of paratactic structure belonging to the Sino-Tibetan language family whereas English is a language of hypotactic structure belonging to the Indo-European language family. The former is an ideographic language composed of monosyllable units-logographic characters-which represent ideas or things rather than the sound of a word, while the latter is an alphabetic language composed of Latin letters which represent the sound of a word.

Some linguistic phenomena existing in one language are lacking in the other (e.g., the indefinite and definite articles, inflection, tense, post-modifiers of a noun, etc., in the English language and various classifiers, special sentence with either an adjective, a subject-predicate construction or verbal expressions in series as its predicate, the pivotal sentence, etc. in the Chinese language.)

To be more specific, let5s take a close look at the characteristics of the two non-related languages. English is subject-prominent (subject-predicate) while Chinese is topic-prominent (topic-comment). English is a typical SVO language, with rigorous rules of the consistency between subject and predicate. Subject is the most important component and a complete English sentence cannot do without a subject (with the exception of sentence in the imperative mood). Chinese is topic-prominent, which sometimes referred to as topic-comment type. The topic, the known information and the main thing that is being talked about, is mentioned at the beginning of the sentence, and then a sentence called comment adds more detailed information about it.

Another significant difference between English and Chinese is that English is hypotaxis while Chinese is parataxis. Hypotaxis means the coordinative or subordinative arrangement with some corresponding expression of the syntactic relation between the propositions, while parataxis means the coordinative or subordinative ranging of propositions one after another without connectives showing the syntactic relation between them. One of the main differences between parataxis and hypotaxis lies in the fact that connectives are much less imperatively needed in a Chinese composite sentence than in an English complex or compound sentence. The languages used as legal English and legal Chinese are of no exception. The two well acknowledged characteristics of English and Chinese mentioned above give definite direction to translators involving E-C translation or via versa. Only if the essence of a language is made clear can a translator be more conscious of features of a language thus produce a good translation.

Language is a complicated phenomenon. Every language has its own peculiar forms and no two languages are identical, either in the meanings given to corresponding symbols or in the ways in which such symbols are arranged in phrases and sentences. As a result, there can be “no absolute correspondence between languages” (Nida Toward A Science Of Translation: 156), hence it is impossible to achieve completely equivalent but the “closest natural equivalent77. However “The greater the differences between the source and the target languages, the greater the need for adjustments.(Nida Language, Culture and Translating: 129) He also points out that “In some languages the closest equivalent to the subject-predicate clause type may be better designated as topic-comment.(Nida Toward A Science Of Translation: 209) As just explained above, English is subject-predicate and Chinese is topic-comment, so we can draw a conclusion that there does exist the great possibility for these two languages to achieve the “closest natural equivalent”.

In order to establish translation equivalence between these two non-related languages, many techniques have to be adopted: transposition (e.g., turn post-modifiers in English into pre-modifiers in Chinese), transformation( e.g., change parts of speech and turn the passive voice in English into the active voice in Chinese), transfer( e.g., abstract vs. concrete, affirmative vs. negative), substitution( e.g., substitute some noun phrases in English into verb phrases in Chinese), addition and omission. The last two translation techniques are what this thesis mostly focuses on.

  • The application of redundant information theory to literary translation

As far as translation techniques are concerned, addition and omission, the two frequently used techniques, find their way in almost all translation works. Just as Nida said, “all translating involves differing degrees of paraphrase, since there is no way in which one can successfully translate word for word and structure for structure.n (Language, Culture and Translating: 2) “differing degrees of paraphrase^must include the employment of different translation skills, thus inevitably addition and omission of words should be involved. Take Yan Fu, one of the first initiators of translation theory in Chinese history, for example. He translated the title of Aldous Huxley5s book Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays into 《天演论》,where omission occurs, while he translated the spirit of the book “survival of the fittest” into Chinese “物竞天择,适者生存”,where the technique of addition is applied.

There is a famous saying of Taylor, “There is no mathematics without plus or minus, which holds good for translation.”(罗庆兀,1999: 3) Here, plus and minus in mathematics means the techniques of addition and omission in translation. Also Wang Zongyan points out: “All translations involve to a degree of additions, simplifications and omissions, conscious or unconscious.”(翻译新论:779)

Wang Zuoliang, who translated Francisco Becon, Of Studies gives us a very good example applying the technique of addition. He translates the sentence “Histories make men wise; poems witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend.” into Chinese as “读史使人明智;读诗使人灵秀;数学使人周 密;科学使人深刻;伦理学使人庄重;逻辑修辞之学使人善辩。”He adopted the strategy of addition (addition of verbs) in almost all the sentences except the first one. The original sentence is a very typical English one no matter in choice of words or in syntax, while Wang ZuoliangJs Chinese version typically embodies characteristics of Chinese.

Lefs take a close look at how addition and omission of words are employed on the basis of redundant information theory in literal translation.

Ex. 13

When I came to I was in the water, swimming automatically, though I was about two thirds drowned. (Jack London) 当我清醒过来时,发觉自己在水里,虽然浸得半死,却本能的 浮着。(吴玉音译)(Chinese Translators Journal: 1988/4)

Although there is no correspondence verb to “发觉”in the English version, we can get the meaning easily from the context. It is just because the addition of the Chinese verb “发觉”that the Chinese version becomes fluent and explicit.”发觉”is redundant information, without which a heavy communication load will be imposed on the receptor of the target language.

Just as mentioned above, English is hypotaxis while Chinese is parataxis. Connectives are quite often used in English, which show the syntactic relation whereas it is not the case in Chinese. So when it comes to C-E translation, it would be better for a translator to take adding connectives into consideration.

Ex. 14


Try again and you will succeed.



Then look out for your skin if you chip it!(杨宪益译)(Chinese

Translators Journal: 1988/4)

In the English version, “and” and “if” are redundant information. Adding these connectives is reasonable and necessary because the syntactic relation that they represent is implied in the original sentences. Further more, the adjustment make the version more conform to English usage.

The redundant information theory also can explain omission of words in bilingual translation.

Ex. 16


In this sentence,”游”is repeated three times only to achieve rhythm of syllables because Chinese writers have cultivated an inclination to use disyllables. The last two “游’s” are redundant information. Besides the English language does not have the tendency of repetition, so it is not necessary to translate them into English. The English version is:

Practically every river has an upper, a middle and a lower part.

Frequently used abstract nouns in Chinese, such as,”情况”、”1可题”、

“建设”、”现象”usually do not have much actual meaning by themselves. They are redundant information involving manner or collocation of the language and they make sentences fluent and readable. So in E-C translation, abstract nouns should be added whereas in C-E translation be omitted.

Ex. 17

On profit distribution, that5s all I have got to say.

关于利润分配问题,我就说这些。(孙万彪2004: 94)


多年来,该国一直存在严重的失业现象。(孙万彪2004: 93)

For many years, there has been serious unemployment in that country.

Adding the redundant information ”问题 ” makes the Chinese version explicit and readable. As for Examplel8, on the contrary, redundant information ”现象” is unnecessarily translated. Otherwise, the English version would be verbose and awkward.

To conclude, message can be communicated in most cases, but it may be necessary to ulengthen^^ the message, that is, to take more time to communicate it if the message is too difficult to understand. By adding or omitting redundant information to the target language, communication load can be reduced, thus readers of target language can fully understand and appreciate the message conveyed.

Chapter Four Addition Of Words In Legal And Business English

The previous chapter discusses the wide existence of addition and omission of words in literary translation while the present chapter and next chapter are going to deal with the techniques of adjustment used in the process of legal and business translating, by additions and omissions.

As expounded in the previous chapters, such terms to some degree distort the picture of the translation process, making it appear that the translator himself performs these operations on the material in question. In fact, what he really does, or what he should do, is to select in each instance the closest natural equivalent. That is to say, they are required to produce correct equivalents— not to serve as an excuse for tampering with the source language message. This is the same case as far as legal translation is concerned.

“Although translations of legal documents are among the oldest and most important in the world, legal translation has long been neglected in both translation studies and legal studies.Susan Sarcevic said so at the very beginning of her book New Approach To Legal Translation. (Susan Sarcevic 1997: 1) As a result, the legal translators are only passive mediators whose main task is to reproduce the source text (Wilss 1988a: 3; Honig and Kussmaul 1982: 14) In fact, legal translation affects all of us in one way or another. International trade, for example, could not function without legal translation. Fortunately, legal translation has now called more and more attention from people especially from lawyers and linguists. And legal translators, with the development of the theory and practice of legal translation, are now gradually converting their passive role in the communication process into an active one, even emerging as text producers with new authority and responsibility.

With China’s accession to the WTO, it is almost certain that the study of the translation of legal documents, such as translation of economic laws, regulations and rules, and contract documents, will become an important research topic for Chinese translators.

Legal translation has long been regarded as one of the most rigid types of translation, just as Peter Newmark concludes that legal translation is “more restricted than any other form,” (Peter Newmark 2002: 47) thus it is forbidden for translators to add or subtract words from the original text. However, with the development of legal translation theory and practice, legal translation is far more than a process of transcoding languages. And legal translators should enjoy more freedom. In Elmer Driedger’s words, uthe modern translator who, as a writer of laws must have the freedom of an artist, i.e., the freedom to use the fullest extent everything that language permits.(Susan Sarcevic 1997: 161) The freedom here, to my understanding, is the necessity of employing certain techniques in legal translation, but not literal (word-to-word) translation which has long been regarded as the most appropriate way to translate legal documents. The final goal that the legal translator wants to achieve, as explained in the previous chapter, is to select in each instance the closest natural equivalent.

Of the many types of additions which may legitimately be incorporated into a translation, the most common and important are:

  • Addition required because of grammatical restructuring; and
  • Addition from implicit to explicit status when content of target text is involved.

As long as grammatical restructuring is concerned, addition may be further sub-divided into:

  • Addition of subject;
  • Addition of object;
  • Addition of conjunctions;
  • Addition of articles;
  • Addition of prepositions; and
  • Addition of pronouns.

This part focuses only on C-E translation.

  • Addition required because of grammatical restructuring
    • Addition of subject

It is universally accepted that Chinese sentences can make sense without the subject or the object; however, it’s not the case in English. For C-E translation, the implied subject or object should be added to the English version in accordance with the English grammar. According to common practice, “it” and pronouns (personal pronoun, possessive pronoun, self-pronoun, etc.) can function as subject or object.


若另外两方在九十(90)天期限内未行使其优先购买权或未向 拟转让方支付出售价款,则应被视为已就该项拟议中的转让给 予事前书面同意。(孙万彪2003: 27)

If the other two Parties fail to exercise such preemptive right to purchase or pay the selling price to the Intending Transferor within the ninety (90)-day period, they shall be deemed to have given their prior written consent to the proposed transfer.

In the Chinese version, the subject “另外两方”is omitted before ”贝ll 应被视为已就该项拟议中however, obscurity doesn’t occur and the Chinese expression is quite understandable. But it wouldn’t be a complete sentence if “仇ey” is not added. It is common practice to add subject in C-E translation. The self-pronoun “their“ is also added to the English version. Though it is rarely used in Chinese, sometimes it is inseparable for English usage.

As far as no-subject C-E translation is concerned, Wang Dawei suggests that nouns or pronouns which contain no actual meaning be added as the subject. (Wang Dawei 1999: 81)

Ex. 20


(Wang Dawei 1999: 84)

So long as we stick to this attitude, it will be alright and we will not commit any major mistakes.

The original Chinese sentence is obscure to some extent; it’s not clear that “M。” “坚持这种态度” and “M。” “不会犯大错误”,but the sentence is correct and understandable. However English version can not do without a subject so the pronoun “we” is added to accord with the English grammar. The subject of “就不要紧”is also unclear and different readers may comprehend differently. Here “Empty it“ is filled out in this example, and other words, such as, “everything”, “the situation”, ^things” can also function as proper subject.

  • Addition of object which is left out in the original version




Licensor guarantees that licensor is legitimate owner of the know-how supplied by licensor to licensee in accordance with the stipulations of the contract, and that licensor is lawfully in a position to transfer the know-how to licensee.

(中国翻译1999: 16)

It appears that the part followed after the phrase “in accordance with” should be “合同”,however, in line with the English grammar, the object of uin accordance with^ is “stipulaticms“ but not contract. The right object ustipulations” must be complemented.



(Wang Dawei 1999: 88)

Version one: We allow a wait-and-see attitude, but experiments should be conducted resolutely.

Version two: We allow people to reserve their judgement, but we must try these things out.

What does “允许”refer to is not clear in the Chinese version, neither does Version One. Although it doesn’t seem improper to handle it this way, Version Two supplies more information, showing leaders allow common people to reserve their judgement. The object of “要坚决地试” is not indicated either, and ifs not necessary to indicate it in Version One, for passive voice is used. However, in Version Two “these things” is added serving as the object, which refers to previously mentioned ”证券、 股市”,enriching the information.



Party B shall undertake to pay wages of a temporary replacement, should Party B deem it necessary to have one.

Pronoun “it”, the object of “deem”, was inserted in the English translation. In Chinese-English translation, pronoun is often added to act as subject or object.

Another example:


如蒙贵方再增供200吨,不胜感凝。(陈浩然1987: 230)

We would appreciate it very much if you could supply 200 tons in addition.

  • Addition of conjunctions

As expounded in the previous chapter, Chapter Three (3.2), English is hypotaxis whereas Chinese is parataxis. That is to say, connectives are much less imperatively needed in a Chinese composite sentence than in an English complex or compound sentence. In Chinese, different clauses are loosely clustered together according to their contextual meaning. On


the contrary, conjunctions must be added to join them together into a sentence in English. Generally speaking, two kinds of conjunctions are usually employed: one is coordinating conjunctions and the other, subordinating conjunctions.



——第八4-一条(CLPRC 1999: 41)

Where a creditor transfers its rights, the transferee shall also obtain the accessory rights related to the creditor’s rights…


……买卖人拒绝接受标的物或者解除合同的,标的物毁损、灭 失的风险由出卖人承担。

——第一百四十八条(CLPRC 1999: 69)

…In case the buyer refuses to accept the targeted matter or dissolves the contract, the risks of damage and loss of the targeted matter shall be borne by the seller.

The Chinese original is featured by covert coherence realized logically or semantically. No visible connectors appear in the two examples: they are interrelated in logic by hypotaxis. However, both English versions successfully convert Chinese parataxis into English hypotaxis by adding conjunctions “where” and “in case”. It goes without doubt that conjunctions can also be inserted in the middle to lubricate the





第一百八十一条(CLPRC 1999: 84)

Where the supplier does not rush to repair and thus causes losses to the consumer, the supplier shall be liable for damages.



The parties may, when making a contract, use written form, verbal particular auenuon io mis prooiem, ror a coniraci giuneu wim amcic mistakes can by no means become an enforceable legal document.



第七条 商业特许经营管理办法(Beijing Review 2005/6)

A franchisor shall meet the following requirements: …



第九条 商业特许经营管理办法(Beijing Review 2005/6) To collect franchise fees and deposit in accordance with the franchise system;

The redundant information, indefinite article “tm” and definite article “the” are served as additions to conform the English usage.

  • Addition of prepositions

The Preposition in English is one of the most important types of “functional word^^, showing grammatical relations between words and connecting words to phrases, phrases to sentences. According to statistics made by Cur me, an famous American linguist in his well-known book Syntax, 286 prepositions exist in English, among which the most commonly used are at, by, for, from, in, of, on, to and w”/i.(英汉比较与 翻译 1998: 88) Considering the important role that preposition plays in English, translators should handle more carefully with them and sometimes need to add proper prepositions in C-E translation.



You are requested to approach our Shanghai Branch for offers for the items enquired Jbr in your letter.(陈悭亍然 1987: 231)


我们想提醒贵方注意,贵方总裁在上次来访时曾保证今后不再 发生类似的差错。(陈浩然1987: 232)

We wish to remind you of the promise made by your President during his last visit to prevent the recurrence of similar mistakes in future.



We have convinced our endusers of the fine quality of your product.(陈浩然 1987: 232)

There are also other similar examples like Ex.33 and 34, i.e. a verb is followed by an indirect object and direct object, between which a preposition is inserted. Some verbs like inform, advise and etc. also can function like this. It is advisable that translators bear this usage in mind and add proper prepositions to the corresponding verb to make the English sentence normative.

  • Addition of pronouns

Personal pronouns are widely used in English, which usually are followed by possessive pronouns, so that agreement in person is achieved. In order to conform to English usage, a translator always needs to add personal pronouns and possessive pronouns, otherwise the translation would be unnatural and awkward.



则应在收到转让通知后的九十(90)天内以相等于转让通知内 列明的出售的价款购买转让股权。

If the other two Parties exercise their preemptive right to purchase all (but not part) of the Transferred Equity Interest, they shall, within ninety(90)days of receipt of the Transfer Notice, purchase the Transferred Equity Interest at a price equal to the selling price set out in the Transfer Notice.(孙万彪 2003 : 24)


中国政府依法保护外国合营者按照经中国政府批准的协议、合 同、章程在合营企业的投资、应分得的利润和其他合法权益。

The Chinese Government shall protect, according to the law, the investment of foreign joint ventures, the profits due them and their other lawful rights and interests in an equity joint venture…





We recommend your acceptance.(周立人 2000/1)

4.2 Addition from implicit to explicit status when content of target text is involved

  • Addition of archaic words

As has been set forth in Chapter Iwo (2.2.1), archaic words are frequently employed in legal English. The use of archaic words, on the one hand, can add formality to the English version; on the other, they can improve precision and avoid unnecessary repetition. Bearing the functions of those words in mind, a translator can try adopting them properly in C-E translation.



——第十二条(Maritime Code of the PRC 2002: 12)

The owner of a ship or those authorized thereby may establish the mortgage of that ship.

“Thereby”, clearly referring to “the owner of a ship”, raises formality to English version, hence conforms closer to the style of legal English. Meanwhile, precision and concision are achieved.

The case is far from unique.


Ex. 38

本法第二十二条规定的海事请求权转移的,其船舶优先权随之 转移。

——第二十七条(Maritime Code of the PRC 2002: 18)

In case the maritime claims provided for in Article 22 of this Code are transferred, the maritime liens attached thereto shall be transferred accordingly.

By adding ”thereto”, the repetition of noun phrase “the maritime claims” is voided.

Ex. 39

多式联运经营人负责履行或者组织履行多式联运合同,并对全 程运输负责。

——第一百零四条(Maritime Code of the PRC (2002: 60) The multimodal transport operator shaJl be responsible for the performance of the multimodal transport contract or the procurement of the performance therefor, and shall be responsible for the entire transport.

Instead of repeat the noun phrase “the multimodal transport contract, the archaic word “therefor” is added to the English version with the result that the sentence is concise and the style is normative legal English.

Such words in the three examples above reflect the regular, solemn, conservative, rigid and authoritative style of legal documents. It is of great necessity to employ the usage of such words and exercise it when do C-E translation.

  • Addition required because of repetition

One of the striking characteristics of legal language is its abundance of repetition as expounded in Chapter Two (2.1.3). Henry Weihofen made a statement in West Law. “Exactness often demands repeating the same term to express the same idea. Where that is true, never be afraid of using the same word over and over again. Many more sentences are spoiled by trying to avoid repetition than by repetition.^^ (中国科技翻译 1999: 7) It is especially true for international economic contract, for repeating the same words or sentence structure can make the English version more exact and compact. Taking this into consideration, some words should be added in C-E translation to achieve the intended effect.


公司的重要文件,包括但不限于经营计划及月度、季度和年度 的报表等,经总经理和副总经理会签方为有效。

The documents on the major issues of the Company, including but not limited to, the management plan, the monthly report, quarterly report and annual report, shall be signed jointly by the General Manager and Deputy General Manager, then the documents shall

come into effect.(中国科技翻译 1999: 7)

“报表”in the original appears only once, however, two extra “reports” are added in the English version so no ambiguity will be produced, hence the version becomes more exact and forceful. Also, the addition of a subject occurs in the translation: udocumentsis inserted in the last sentence, which perfectly avoids ambiguity and confusion.

  • Addition to add preciseness and exactness

As is known, one of the fundamental features of the practice of law is its reliance on language as a means of operation. Legal activities cover a wide range such as legislation, judicature and enforcement of laws and they all have one and the same functional tenor: they are concerned with imposing obligations and conferring rights and therefore are authoritative, directive and deterrent. To satisfy this special function, legal language must be precise in the first place.

As expounded in Chapter Two (2.2.1), archaic words can improve precision and avoid unnecessary repetition so translators should be conscious of adding such words to the corresponding version.

For example:

Ex. 41


Version One: This contract hereby comes into effect from the date of execution by the Purchaser and the Builder.

Version Two: This contract comes into effect from the date signed by the Buyer and the Builder.

It is obvious that only after the archaic word ‘Tiereby“ is added in the Version One, can the sentence fully explains the causal relation between “签约”and “生效”,thus the version becomes more logical and precise.

See the next example:

Ex. 42


(孙万彪2004: 2)

Omission occurs in the Chinese original: 不当之处 is omitted from the phrase ”应当要求限期修改”and it should be added to the English version.

If anything inappropriate is found in the documents submitted, the examination and approval authority shall require it be amended within the specified time.


在仲裁过程中除了正在仲裁的部分条款外,合同的其他条款应 继续执行。

Try to compare the two versions:

  1. In the course of arbitration, the contract shall be continuously executed by both parties except the part which is under arbitration.
  1. In the course of arbitration, the contract shall be continuously executed by both parties except the part of the contractwhich is under arbitration.

“除了正在仲裁的部分条款外”is translated into “except the part which is under arbitration“ in the first version, while, “except the part of the contract which is under arbitration“ in the second one. The restrictive phrase “of the contract55 is added before the attributive clause, making the translation much more precise.


(营企业在合营期内不得减少其注册资本。)因投资总额和生 产经营规模等发生变化,确需减少的,须经审批机构批准。(孙 万彪 2004: 20)

This sentence structure is typical in Chinese: a conditional clause plus a main clause. However, the subject doesn’t appea.r and omission occurs in the conditional clause “确需减少的”(”注册资本”is omitted.) So according to the context, when it is translated into English, “registered capital55 should be added.

The English version:

If there is a real need for reduction of the registered capital due to changes in the total amount of investmen t, the scale of production and operation, or other circumstances, such reduction shall be

subject to approval by the examination and approval authority.

Ex. 45

改进和开发合同产品的技术,所有权属改进、开发的一方,对 方不得去申请专利或转让给第三方。

The ownership for any modification and improvement of the Contract Product shall belong to the party having developed the aforesaid modification and improvement. The other party shall not apply, for its oyvn profit, for patent right or transfer the information of the modifications and improvements to a third party.

Addition of words afor its own profit“ also occurs in this example thus the English version is more precise and exact in meaning.

In conclusion, although we may describe the above techniques as involving “additions”, it is important to recognize that there has been no actual adding to the semantic content of the message, for these additions consist essentially in making explicit what is implicit in the source-language text. One should be on guard against abusing this technique. Only where it is necessary to reveal covert original meaning for the sake of faithfulness and smoothness can this technique come into use. Otherwise it might lead to overtranslation even mistranslation as discussed in the latter part of Chapter Five of this thesis.


Chapter Five Omission of Words in Legal and Business


The previous chapter discusses the technique of addition in the process of legal and business translating and this chapter will focus on the application of omission in legal and business translating.

The letter of the law was still regarded as inviolable at the beginning of the twentieth century and it was generally believed that, for the sake of promoting uniform interpretation by the courts, every word of the source text had to be faithfully reproduced in the target text. However, things are quite different today as people now widely acknowledge that it is the meaning of the text that counts, not that of the words. Although it is generally agreed that omissions are permitted, there is no consensus on which words can be deleted and how extensive the omissions can be. “In legislation, a word used without purpose or needlessly is not merely a tedious imposition upon the time and attention of the reader; it creates a danger because every word in a statute is construed so as to bear a meaning if possible. A superfluous word is therefore a potential source of contention.,, (Susan Sarcevic 1997: 185) With this in mind, translators must decide which deletions are justified and how far-reaching they can be without endangering uniform interpretation. Though, in translating, omissions are neither so numerous nor varied as additions, they are,


nevertheless, highly important in the process of adjustment. They include primarily the following types:

  • Omission of category nouns;
  • Omission of specious modifiers;
  • Omission of verbs; and
  • Omission required because of repetition.
    • Omission of category nouns

Many nouns which show no specific meaning but are indispensable in grammar widely exist in Chinese, such as:”任务”、”现象情况”、 “过程”、“工作”、“事业”、“因素”、“态度”、“局面”、“状况”and etc.. Those words usually indicate the category or attribute of an object, without reality. If word-for-word translation is used here to translate the words, verbosity and superfluity must be produced. To avoid this, a translator must omit those words in C-E translation.


…受要约人有理由认为要约是不可撤销的,并已经为履行合同 作了准备工作

…There are grounds for the offeree to maintain the irrevocability of the offer and the offeree has made preparations for the fulfillment of the contract.

第十九条(CLPRC 1999: 13)

The redundant information “工作”doesn’t provide any new information, thus it is omitted in the English version which becomes precision and concision. As a result, functional equivalence is achieved.



溪 2000/2)

China is carrying out nationwide pollution control and environment protection.

It is not necessary to translate the redundant information ”工作”and “活动”into English, and the omissions cause no ambiguity. Actually the omission of words here lightens the communication load thus the goal of concise is achieved.


我们要重视沿海与内地贫富差距问题.(Beijing Review)

We must pay close attention to the gap between coastal and inland areas.


你应对退休问题抱积极态度。(孙万彪2004: 93)

You should adopt a positive attitude toward retirement.

“问题”in both examples is redundant information, which shows no specific meaning and which should be deleted when translated into English. However, words are omitted, the information to be conveyed is


not. Surely English versions are the closest natural equivalent to the Chinese originals.

Ex. 50

多年来,该国一直存在严重的失业现象。(孙万彪2004: 93)

For many years, there has been serious unemployment in that country.

In the next two examples, the category word ”关系”providing no actual meaning can both be omitted.


收入分配关系还没有理顺。(王大伟1997: 39)

The distribution of income needs to be straightened out.



(We have) balanced reform, development and stability.

  • Omission of specious modifiers

Some modifiers in Chinese, such as “胜秘S 开”、”彻屁粉碎”、”盲 无根据的甯翦不切实际的必想”, are used to give emphasis thus can make sentences much more forceful and readable. The use of those words conforms to Chinese usage, and at the same time, no verbosity or encumbrance is caused. On the contrary, English language differs considerably in this point. If those modifiers are translated word-for-word into English, the version will be superfluous and the sentences illogical. Carefulness is needed when translators deal with specious modifiers in C-E translation.

Ex. 53

进一步简化手续,及时地积极地从国外引进,并且认真组织科 学技术人员和广大职工做好消化和推广工作。(中译英技巧文 集 1992: 42)

We should simplify procedures and take prompt action to import urgently needed technology.. .organize scientists, technicians and workers to assimilate and popularize imported technology.

If the original Chinese is translated word-for-word, that is, add “further“ before “simplify”, vigorousbefore “action”, “eaniesf加 or actively“ before “organize”, and “the mass of“ before “workers”, the English version would become verbose and unreadable. And this is not actually the closest natural equivalent.



We demand that US government apologize to China for this incident.(中译英技巧文集1992: 43)

If astrongly ” and ”solemnly ” are added into the English version, the effect of the English sentence would be just the opposite to what one wishes, making it seems that we don’t really ask the US government to


apologize. Omitting of ”强烈”and “郑重”is to show our attitude neither humble nor arrogant thus properly express our attitude.

Ex. 55


We must crack down on all criminal activities according to the law and eradicate such social evils as pornography, gambling and dug abuse and trafficking.

It is not necessary to modify “crack downw and “eradicate”, for the two words themselves are strong in mood. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (LDCE) 1987 gave definitions to the two as: to take strong and severe action to deal with something bad; get rid of something completely. According to this,”严厉”and “坚决”are left untranslated.”现象”is also omitted in this example.

Other examples:

Ex. 56

只有充分发展商品经济,才能把经济真正搞活,使各企业增加 效率。

The development of a commodity economy is the only way to invigorate our economy and prompt enterprises to raise their efficiency.

“充分”、“真正”are used for the sake of emphasis, containing no actual meaning. The English version leaves them untranslated, effectively avoiding Chinese-English occurs.

  • Omission of verbs

As it is well known that Chinese language is verb-dominant while English is noun-dominant. As far as E-C translation is concerned, verbs can be added to the Chinese sentences. Just the contrary, translators can omit verbs in C-E translation.

Ex.5 7

我们对维护人权的承诺必须坚决,我们的法律必须公正,我们 的美德必须保存:强者决不能欺凌弱者,人的尊严必须提高。

Our commitment to human rights must be absolute, our laws fair, our natural beauty preserved; the powerful must not persecute the weak, and human dignity must be enhanced.(张福林 1998: 127)

Thanks to the English usage,“维护”and the last two “必须”are of no necessity to be translated. Omitting these verbs causes no loss of information and functional equivalence is achieved.


关于人工流产争论的一个重要方面是,法律是否允许妇女进行 人工流产,如果允许的话,该在什么样的情况下进行

One important aspect of the controversy of abortion is whether a woman should be permitted by law to have an abortion and, if so,

under what circumstances.(张福林 1998: 126)

“允许”and “进行”are left untranslated.



1987: 203)

The price for muriate of potash offered by you is 2% higher than that by another supplier.

The past participle “offered“ is omitted, i.e. …than that (offered) by another supplier.

Ex. 60

民事法院的职能是解决争议,维护社会安全,维持国家稳定, 保护公共利益并积极保护个人的正当权利。(张福林1998: 120)

The function of civil courts is to settle dispute, and look to social security, national stability, public interests and prudential conservation of just claims of private persons.

The verb phrase “look to” is followed by four objects, namely, “social security”, “national stability”, “public interests” and “prudential conservation”, however it would be rather verbose for “look t。” to be added before each object. Just as the proper English version, the verb phrase “look to” is only kept before the first object with the next three omitted, and it is a quite natural English sentence.

  • Omission required because of repetition

Repetitions in many cases are used for the sake of emphasis. Nevertheless, the repeated lexical items must be omitted, or, in some cases, replaced by a term that intensifies the expression in question. This is a case in point.

Ex. 61

多年来贵方供应的橡胶,装船数字极为紊乱。贵方电报通知的 数量,船代理提供的装船数量,舱单的数量,副本提单的数量 和正本提单的数量经常不一致。(陈浩然1987: 193)

“数量”is repeated for five times, which is inevitable in Chinese but which must be avoided in English. If the five “数量”is translated word-for-word, the version must be verbose and superfluous:

Version One:

For years the figures showing the quantities of the rubber shipped by you have been in a complete mess-up. Discrepancies were often found among the quantities stated in your cables, the quantities of the loaded goods reported by the ship agent, the quantities indicated in the manifests and among the quantities in the original and duplicate bills of lading.

To avoid unnecessary repetition of “quantities”, some should be omitted in the English version. The translation would be much more concise and fluent if it goes like this:

Version Two:

For years the figures showing the quantities of the rubber shipped by you have been in a complete mess-up. Discrepancies were often found among those stated in your cables, indicated in the manifests and in the original and duplicate bills of lading as well as of the loaded goods reported by the ship agent.

“Those“ keeps “quantities55 from repeating several times and “and” is replaced by “as well as“ with the result that verbose and awkward is avoided and the closest natural equivalent is achieved.



It is the business of the police to prevent and detect crime and of the courts to punish crime.(张福林 1998: 126)



Messrs. Cookson, Robinson and Williams will be invited to attend the mini fair.(陈浩然 1987: 203)

(Messrs. Mr…. and Mr….)

There is another kind of repetition caused by using of strings of synonyms (For detailed information see Chapter Two, 2.22). Synonym, according to Peter Newmark in his book Approaches to Translation, means a word with the same meaning as another but often with different implications and associations. However, he suggests that the translator should choose the word he considers stylistically most fitting rather than the word that most obviously translates the source language word (Newmark 2002: 146). While translating those synonyms into Chinese, it is not necessary to copy the same pattern in Chinese. For example: Rack and ruin:毁灭 not破坏和毁灭 Really and truly:真正的 not真的和真实的

If not so, the version would be wordy and awkward.

Ex. 64

Unless the policy otherwise provides, the insurer is not liable for ordinary wear and tear …(付锦蕊 2002 : 38)


Ex. 65

The sellers and the buyers agree that the relevant terms and conditions may be amended and revised through negotiation, as and when the need arises.(周振邦 1998: 179) 必要时,双方可经协商修改本合同的有关条款。

This is a typical example: three pairs of synonyms are used in one sentence.

“terms and conditions ” 条款

“be amended and revised 被修改

“as and when ” 在 时

The meanings of two synonyms above complement each other to make the denotation more complete and accurate. However, it is unnecessary to translate each word into Chinese; otherwise the Chinese version would be verbose and unreadable.

  • Conclusion

As in the case of additions, these omissions do not actually alter the in the least the message and they do not lessen the information carried by the communication, either. In fact, these omissions are justified primarily on the basis that they result in a closer equivalence than would otherwise be the case. As very popular and important techniques, addition and omission can be a great help to those who are capable of handling it. There is only one thing that a translator should always bear in mind, that is, he should be on guard against abusing the techniques. Otherwise overtranslation even mistranslation may occur.

Ex. 66

承运人同收货人、提单持有人之间的权利、义务关系,依据提 单的规定确定。

The relationship between the carrier and the holder of the bill of lading with respect to their rights and obligations shall be defined by the clauses of the bill of lading.

第七十八条(Maritime Code of the PRC)

This is a typical undesirable example of omission. It is quite easy to find out that “收货人”is left untranslated. It is an unacceptable omission because of the loss of information which is a serious violation of translation principles. It is generally understood that the holder of the Bill of Lading and the consignee may be the one and the same person, and the omission of the consignee may well be justified. However, the legal postion of a consignee is a bit different from a holder of the B/L in that the latter may not be a consignee, and the former may endorse the B/L to the latter. The untranslated part “收货人”should be added to the English version to make the sentence complete.

The bettered version is:

The relationship between the carrier and the consignee or the holder of the bill of lading…

Similar examples are:


出租人应当提供约定的船舶;经承租人同意,可以更换船舶。 但是,提供的船舶或者更换的船舶不符合合同约定的,承租人 有权拒绝或解除合同。

The shipowner shall provide the intended ship. The intended ship may be substituted with the consent of the charterer. However, if the ship substituted does not meet the requirements of the charter party, the charterer may reject the ship or cancel the charterer.


第九十六条(Maritime Code of the PRC)

Compare the Chinese version with the English one, it is clear that ”提 供的船舶“is left untranslated, owing to which, confusion may occur. According to the English version, 4<the charterer may reject the ship or cancel the charter“ only because “the ship substituted does not meet the requirements of the charter partyIt is natural to comprehend that even if “提供的船舶不符合同约定的”,the charterer may not reject the ship or cancel the charter. Obviously, this comprehension is against the. original meaning. So the omitted part should be added to the English version:

…if the ship provided or substituted does not meet the requirements…



When the maritime court deems it necessary, it may directly send officers to go aboard for purposes of supervision.

第二十六条(Special Maritime Procedure Law of the PRC)

“For purpose of” is a fixed expression with no plural form. “purpose“ can have plural form referring to several aims. So the expression can be changed into “for the purposes 矿.However, in this article, there:s only one purpose: supervision. So “for purposes of5 in the original English version should be “for purpose of5.



Labor management departments at all levels…



Public health departments… at all levels…

In Prof. Chen Zhongcheng’s opinion, the phrase “at all levels^ in the above two English versions should be omitted to achieve conciseness. However, the author of this thesis doesn’t think this is a proper solution to this problem. The Chinese government at different levels has its clear limits of authority, exceeding of its own power limits is not allowed. Owing to this, documents issued by the Chinese government tend to translate the phrase “各级”instead of omitting it. For example:



The State Administration of Commodity Inspection and the commodity inspection authorities at various levels

——第二条(国家进出口商品检验局关于印发《商检行政复 议实施办法》的通知:1995)



The National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses

at various levels



……爸级工商行政管理部门应当通过商标管理,制止欺骗消费 者的行为。

…The administrative departments for industry and commerce at all levels shall, by means of trademark administration, stop any practices that deceive the consumers.


All the materials that the author of this thesis collected convey the message that it is better to translate “各级”in Chinese documents into English instead of omitting it.”各级”can be handled in several ways, such as, “at different levels”, “at various levels”, “departments across China”, etc.

However, this is hardly enough, for it is a question whether the ”at all levels^^ and its various alternatives can convey the implied meaning. This may be a question for my further research.

In a word, the techniques discussed in the previous two chapters are not designed to justify such a modification of the source-language message, but to facilitate its reproduction in a different form, and in its fullest and most accurate sense. What a translator should do is to select in each instance the closest natural equivalent. No alter of the information carried by the source language can be accepted.


Chapter Six Special Cases Involved In E-C Translation

Chapter Four and Five discuss the techniques of addition and omission only in C-E translation. Due to the differences between the two languages, English and Chinese, some aspects involved in E-C translation are also worthy of mentioning. The present Chapter focuses on additions employed in E-C translation.

  • Addition required because of the use of infinitives and participles

Nonfinite verbs, frequently employed in English, are often used to modify verbs in the main clause, with the meaning of time, cause, condition, result, mode, concession and etc. The logical relationship that nonfinite verb embodies is clearly incorporated in the original English text but need to be further explained so that the target readers can understand and appreciate equally.

Two examples are used to illustrate the point.


To attract foreign investment, the United States must offer higher interest rate, adding to domestic borrowing and financing costs, which boost inflation.

为吸引外资,美国必须提供较高的利率,而这样就会加重内债 和金融开支,最终导致通货膨胀。(郭富强2004: 46)

The infinitive phrase «to attract foreign investment”, providing background information for the main clause, is used to express purpose, so it’s better to add “为”,the redundant information, in the Chinese version. The present participle “adding to domestic borrowing and financing costs“ and the which-clause are connected to express causal relation: the present participle is the cause while which-clause is the result. Consequently, the addition of “而这样”、”最终”,also the redundant information, makes the Chinese more logical and explicit, at the same time, reduces the communication load.


Lung cancer, diagnosed early, can be successfully treated by surgery.


2004: 47)

The past participle “diagnosed early” expresses condition and it is incorporated in the English original. However, only aftei ”如果”is added to the Chinese version can Chinese readers have a better and clear understanding. As a result, functional equivalence is achieved.

  • Addition required because of the tense

Tense in English is expressed through device of grammar, that is, the change of inflectional form, for example, go, going, went, gone. In regard to tense, Chinese differs significantly from English in that devices of morphology and syntax are used to present the change of tense. Generally speaking,“着”、”了”、”过”can convey the message that the past tense is involved, while “曾”、”已经”indicates “past in the past”; that is, a time further in the past as seen from a definite viewpoint in the past.


According to our record your corporation bought a substantial quantity of chemicals from us. Unfortunately the business between us has been interrupted in the last few years.

根据我们的纪录,贵公司过去买我们化工产品的数量相当大, 可惜近几年来业务中断了。

The redundant information “过去”must be added into the Chinese version to express the exact time which is clear in the original English sentence.


In our opinion the damage to the goods is attributed to the fact that the bags are too thin. According to the contract the bags should have been 0.03 mm thick.

我们认为,货物的残损是由于包装袋太薄引起的。按合同规定 包装袋厚度本应为0.03毫米。


Inflation was and still is the major problem for that country.


(郭富强2004: 48)


We requested your urgent shipment of this product which you accepted.


求。(刘厚俊冯云霞1996: 255)

Ex. 80

…and the damages may not exceed the loss which the party in breach foresaw or ought to have foreseen at the time of the conclusion of the contract…

……而且,守约方得到的损害赔偿,不得超过违约方在订立合 同时,按照他当时已知或理应知道的情况,……

(李朝 2003: 14)

“Ought to +perfect tenseJ, indicates unfinished actions, i.e.”理应预 料到,实际上并未预料到”。The Chinese version handles the tense perfectly.

  • Addition required because of plural nouns

English and Chinese share little similarity as far as plural forms of nouns are concerned. By changing morphology and adding suffix English can express the plural meaning. Quite differently, Chinese uses words to


achieve the same effect. As a result, proper words usually should be added in E-C translation to make versions more accurate and readable.

Ex. 81

Our endusers show much interest in the medical instruments and supplies as illustrated in your catalogues.



There is considerable discrepancy between the quantities of goods indicated in B/L and manifest.


In Chinese “们”can express the plural meaning of people, and other words or phrases such as “数”,”许多”,”各种”,”各类”,”各批”can be inserted in the Chinese version before nouns to precisely reproduce the original.”各类”,”各批”in the two examples are redundant information, by adding which the version becomes more accurate and fluent.

Another example:


The starting and termination dates of the training shall be agreed upon between the parties in accordance with the stipulations of the Contract.(郭富强 2004: 44)



  • Addition for the purpose of semantic requirements

Ex. 84

The failure of either party at any time or times to require performance of any provision hereof shall in no manner affect its right at a later time to enforce the same.

任何一方在任何时候未要求另二方履行本协议任一条款,并不 影响其以后强制执行该条款的权利。(孙万彪2004:88).

4“require performancen exactly means “require the other party to perform“ and it is incorporated in English, without ambiguity. However, when it is translated into Chinese,“另一方”must be added so that the Chinese expression is explicit and clear in meaning.


Party A shall reimburse Party B for the cost of preparing and delivering the forgoing.(徐德林 1999/2)

According to the context, when we translate the word “forgoing ” into Chinese, we should make it clear that what it actually refers to and add words to explain its specific meaning. The Chinese version is: 甲方应偿还乙方制备并寄送上述资料样品的费用。

资料样品“is what l(for going “refers to, thus readers will get a better understanding.


The people’s court shall deliver detained persons to a public

security organ for custody. The people’s court may decide to grant the detained person an early release if he admits and corrects his wrongdoing.

被拘留的人,由人民法院交公安机关看管。在拘留期间,被拘 留人承认并改正错误的,人民法院可以决定提前解除拘留。

Adverbial modifier ”在拘留期间“is inserted to make the Chinese expression more fluent and the meaning more explicit.

Ex. 87

The procuration of women and girls for purposes of prostitution, and the causing and encouraging of such persons to prostitute themselves, are offences punishable by terms of imprisonment. 介绍妇女为娼以及致使并鼓励妇女卖淫均为犯罪,应判刑期丕 笠的徒刑。(肖云枢2001: 7)

The clause “夫妻一方死亡后另一方再婚的“ and the phrase “不等” are separately added in the Chinese version of the last two sentences so that the translation becomes much more smooth and coherent.


What we are concerned about is the availability of your product.

我们所关心的是贵方是否有货可供。(陈浩然1987: 235)

Translation of legal documents is an arduous and complicated process that involves many translation theories and techniques. A quailed legal translator should have a good command of not only bilingual but also relevant legal knowledge.


With China’s accession to the WTO, it is almost certain that the study of the translations of legal documents will become an important research topic for translators. In this thesis, apart from elaborating on the stylistic characteristics of legal language, such as precision, conciseness, repetition and formality and lexical characteristics of legal language, such as frequent employment of archaic words and words used in coordination, the author proposes the criteria for translation of legal documents.

Addition and omission are the two important techniques to achieve the closest natural equivalent. Not only are they widely employed in literary translation, but they are also frequently used in legal and business translating.

The information theory has been applied in linguistics, especially in translation, adding fresh blood to translation theories. The redundant information theory put forward by Nida especially explains reasons for addition and omission of words in both literary translation and legal translating which has long been regarded as one of the most rigid types of translation. Through adding or omitting the redundant information, the difficulty of understanding for the receptors is reduced; however, the information to be conveyed remains the same, hence the functional equivalence is achieved.

Translation of legal documents is by no means an easy task. It is wise for a translator to bear functional equivalence in mind whenever doing translating work. A good mastery of the differences between Chinese and English, especially those unique aspects in legal variety, is indispensable to producing smooth and natural rendition; also necessary are adequate skills in translation as well as a sufficient knowledge of the disciplines involved.

The author sincerely hopes her attempts may draw people’s attention to techniques employed in legal translating, thus contributing to the system of translating.