30(1) - 2018

Übersetzungsmethodische Überlegungen zur Terminologieentscheidung am Beispiel „wesentlicher Bestandteile“, insbesondere im deutschen und brasilianischen Zivilrecht

Sven Korzilius


Reflections on translation methodology in the case of terminological decision-making, using the example of “essential component parts”, in particular in German and Brazilian civil law


Translation studies generally assumes that problems of equivalence between legal terms result from conceptual incongruence between legal systems, and therefore might be resolved first and foremost by conceptual legal comparison. By means of the example of wesentliche Bestandteile in German law (translated to English as “essential component parts” by von Borch 1980, S. 79) and a profound legal comparison with its Brazilian counterpart, the present article qualifies this assumption and shows, inter alia, that even in the case of highly equivalent legal concepts, the formation of equivalent legal terms at the level of the language of the law has not always happened, so that different terms prevail among different “legal formants”, i.e. in different text types, branches of law, speech communities etc. (“fragmented denomination equivalence”). In the Brazilian case, the article explains the less fixed connection between words and concepts by the fact that Brazilian legal culture imports concepts with different origins. Subsequently, the article will show that deficient or imprecise word formation has negative repercussions at the conceptual level, where it may lead to confusion, even among jurists of the language of origin. The article deduces methodological proposals from these findings.


Equivalence, comparative method, translator decision-making, error prevention, false friend

DOI 10.17462/para.2018.01.05

22 avril 2018
  30(1) - 2018