Radmila Schneider, translator ICTY
A legal translator’s task is not only to achieve linguistic equivalence: the translated text – a court decision, a judgment – should have the same legal effect as the original. Working in the context of the international criminal law, translator is a mediator not only between two languages, but also between two legal systems: in the case of the ICTY, between common law and civil law.
The intention of this paper is to illustrate some of the difficulties in translation from English into Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and between two legal systems, using as one of apparently benign examples the notion of “reasonable” (reasonable trier of fact, reasonable doubt, reasonable cause, etc.) which embodies the empiricist, inductive universe of thought as background of Anglo-American law, and which can, if always translated literally, be perceived as dissonant or incongruent within the conceptual and terminological context of continental law.