33(1) - 2021

Die Übersetzung des napoleonischen Handelsgesetzbuches und ihr Einfluss auf die italienische Rechtssprache am Beispiel von banqueroute und faillite

Sarah Del Grosso

The translation of the Napoleonic Commercial Code and its influence on the Italian legal language using the examples of banqueroute and faillite

At the beginning of the 19th century, five modern legal codes were introduced in France. This codification was to be extended to other parts of Europe under Napoleonic rule, including the newly founded Kingdom of Italy. This article focuses on the Italian translation of the French Commercial Code. A draft text written in Italian under French supervision was rejected at the last minute, and the Italian jurists involved in drafting the text were then asked to translate the French text. Many of the letters written by these jurist-translators during the translation process were discussing the applicability of the new legal system. The subject of this article is how Italian legal language has been influenced by the translation of this French legal code, with a focus on how the meaning of legal terms formerly used in Italy was redefined after translation. An example of this would be the translation of the French legal terms banqueroute and faillite. Since the meaning of the Italian terms bancarotta and fallimento differs from the meaning of the corresponding French terms and was thus considered to be confusing, the Italians attempted in vain to retain their legal tradition. Due to the two parallel legal traditions, translation errors were only partially corrected in handwritten draft versions. Nevertheless, Italian legal language and culture were permanently influenced by the translation.

Translation history, legal language, Kingdom of Italy, Napoleon, politics of translation

DOI 10.17462/para.2021.01.07

April 25, 2021
  33(1) - 2021