AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 1. February 2023                                Pp.4-20

Proximity Principle in Legal Translation

Hasan S. Ghazala

Department of English, College of Social Sciences
Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia.


This research paper introduces to proximity principle as an approach to translation in general, and legal translation in particular, when the full meaning is not attainable in the Target Language(TL). The main problem of this study is how to translate legal texts more approximately than accurately due to several reasons highlighted below. The principal aim of the study it to probe the principle of proximity as a translation strategy compared to perfect equivalence. accordingly, the importance of the study lies in understanding the process of the translator’s strife for approximate meaning in the TL. So, the main question of the paper is how translators manage and struggle to translate unfindable legal terms closely into the TL. On the other hand, the methodology of the study is based mainly on theoretical definitions, logical arguments, analytical and practical discussion, translation procedures and strategies, and culminated by conclusions and findings. One main finding is to establish the principle of proximity in translating legal texts in specific as a major strategy in translation theory to sort out solutions to the problems of translating non-equivalent legal terms. Finally, the paper covers points like the scope of proximity principle, its applicability, the justifications for using it, volume of potential loss of meaning involved, its credibility, proximity vis-à-vis faithfulness and accuracy, etc. All these and other points are considered in relation to a huge number of applications in practice in legal context.

Cite as:

Ghazala, H. S. (2023). Proximity Principle in Legal Translation. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary
7 (1). 4-20.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no1.1


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HASAN SAID GHAZALA is a full Professor of Translation and Style (since 2003) at the English Department, College of Social Sciences, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia. He has so far published (31) books and (66) papers in the two areas of his specialism, most of which are in the field of translation, including 3 Dictionaries and 11-volume Encyclopedia of Translation Textbooks (over 3500 pages), the first of its type in the world. His latest is a big one-volume First Arabic Encyclopedia of Translation (2020) (in Arabic), Styles of Speaking (in Arabic) (2020) and A Textbook of Legal Translation (2021). He is the winner of Sheikh Hamad International Translation Award in 2017 (Translation Studies and Dictionaries Award).