Challenges of Legal Translation with Special Reference to Turkey Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Özer Erdoğan B.

in: Synergy III - Challenges in Translation, Aslı Özlem Tarakçıoğlu,elif ersözlü, Editor, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., Berlin, pp.217-234, 2021

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Other Book
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
  • City: Berlin
  • Page Numbers: pp.217-234
  • Editors: Aslı Özlem Tarakçıoğlu,elif ersözlü, Editor
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


This study takes into consideration the challenges encountered in translating legal language with special reference to the translated Turkey judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”). The aim is to partially meet the growing need for a strategy to acquire more accurate translations of legal discourse so as to prevent delay in justice and loss of time and money. In order to reveal the background in the first place, the historical and structural changes experienced in both the English legal language and the Turkish legal language are touched upon. Subsequently, the characteristics of the legal translation and the qualifications of the legal translator are overviewed for a better understanding of the peculiar and difficult nature of this type of translation. Before turning to the analysis of samples specifically chosen from the published translations of the judgments rendered by the European Court of Human Rights in the applications lodged against Turkey which is one of the Contracting States to the European Convention on Human Rights (“Convention”), the importance, structure and languages of the ECtHR are looked through briefly. While exemplifying and analysing semantic challenges of legal translation between English and Turkish, the study sets forth to address the questions of what those challenges are and how to overcome them. In this respect, the focus is on the Turkey judgments of the ECtHR which are of binding force for our country in the international law. The translations, accessed on the database of the Human Rights Documentation (“HUDOC”), are delimited to those finding a violation of the Convention or its Protocols to which Turkey is a contracting party. It is concluded in this study that overcoming the challenges of legal translation requires established legal terminology of functional and lexical equivalence, qualified translators having received legal translation training and in-depth knowledge of legal discourse.