I’m reviewing a recent law-text published in English and aimed first at the English-speaking Commonwealth legal market, though also the bilingual (French and English) French-speaking market. It’s a comparative law look at how a number of Commonwealth jurisdictions and France – so common law and civil law – deal with some issues common to tort and delict.
The text contains French-language quotations, some of which make significant points, which are not translated (nor always summarized), though generally the author’s lead-up provides context. Some of the untranslated passages contain information one won’t get from the surrounding English portions.
I concede that all of us (Canadian) legal professionials should be sufficient in our 3 official legal languages (English, French, Canadian-Legalese); however, it’s also true that too many English speaking members of the profession don’t go beyond the first and some fluency in the 3rd.
Kidding aside, I’m interested in reader’s views on the decision not to translate key passages in French into English. It can’t have been an oversight. It makes the text harder to digest for the casual reader, in the context of a subject which is already fraught with problems.