29(1) - 2017

La traduction des décisions de justice dans les revues juridiques suisses : développement d’un régime de traduction privée (1853-1912)

Valérie Dullion


The translation of judgments in Swiss law journals. Towards a private translational regime (1853-1912)


Whereas Swiss legislation is enacted in three official languages, judgments are usually passed in only one language, depending on the geographical origin of the case. However, uniform application of the law requires case law to be accessible for lawyers throughout the country. The dissemination of judgments despite language borders is provided by law journals devoting a large part of their activity to translation. This study focuses on the four major journals, and on the translation practices they developed in the second half of the 19th century and still follow today. By situating and analysing the collection of these periodicals between 1853 (establishment of the first journal) and 1912 (coming into force of the Swiss Civil Code), this study aims to define the translational regime at work and to understand how it emerged with its specific features. The study shows that this selective, private, scholarly translation work has come to be widely used and recognized among lawyers and can thus be seen as a kind of translation policy within legal circles. It developed as a complement to official multilingualism and to the use of several languages by individuals in day-to-day legal practice, illustrating the complexity of transfer modes typical of multilingual societies.


Translation history, legal translation, official multilingualism, law journals, judgments

DOI 10.17462/para.2017.01.07

April 18, 2017
  29(1) - 2017