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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HO CHI MINH CITY UNIVERSITY OF LAW

GRADUATION THESIS
B.A. DEGREE IN ENGLISH
Major: Legal English

AN OVERVIEW OF TRANSLATION THEORIES AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
FOR THE TRANSLATION OF ENGLISH VS. VIETNAMESE LEGAL TEXTS

Supervisor

: PHAM THI THUY DUNG, MA

Student

: DANG THI NGOC MUOI

Student ID

: 1652202010035

Class

: LE41

Ho Chi Minh City, 2020

i



HO CHI MINH CITY UNIVERSITY OF LAW

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

FACULTY OF LEGAL LANGUAGES

Independence – Freedom - Happiness

Major: Legal English

COMMENTS OF SUPERVISOR
Student: DANG THI NGOC MUOI
Student ID: 1652202010035
Class: LE41
Thesis title: AN OVERVIEW OF TRANSLATION THEORIES AND ITS
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TRANSLATION OF ENGLISH VS. VIETNAMESE
LEGAL TEXTS
1. Thesis objectives: .....................................................................................................
2. Submission date of thesis: .......................................................................................
3. Supervisor: ................................................................................................................
4. Comments of Supervisor: .........................................................................................
5. Score of thesis evaluated by Supervisor: ...............................................................

Contents and objectives of thesis were passed through the Supervisor and
Department.
Date … Month … Year 2020
SUPERVISOR’S SIGNATURE

ii



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
During the process of fulfilling this graduation paper, I have received a great deal
of invaluable support, guidance and timely encouragement from my teachers, family
and friends. It would be necessary for me to devote this opening page to show my
gracefulness towards these beloved people.
First and foremost, I would like to express my grateful thanks to my research
supervisor, Ms. Pham Thi Thuy Dung, for her unfailing encouragement, constant
support and supervision during all stages of this study. Her detailed comments and
valuable advice have tremendously helped me shape my ideas and realize my aims.
She has also provided me with a lot of materials as well as created favorable
conditions for me to complete this research. Therefore, it is an undeniable fact that my
paper would have never been accomplished without her dedicated assistance.
Secondly, I am greatly indebted to Ms. Pham Thi Phuong Anh and Mr. Luong
Minh Hieu (lecturers in Department of Legal English) for spending time answering my
questions, for being so kind to show interest in my research and for giving precious
advices. Besides, I want to show my genuine appreciation towards all lecturers whom I
have had the opportunity to collaborate with during my four years in HCMC
University of Law. Thanks to their wonderful lectures, I have been enriched the
academic knowledge of my major – Legal English and had a good background to do
this graduation paper. Moreover, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my
head teacher, Ms. Le Thi Xuan Thu for her support and inspirations from the very first
days of my university life.
In addition, I am extremely grateful to my friends for their encouragement and
precious assistance throughout my dissertation. Their spiritual support is an important
driving-force for me during this difficult time. Especially, I wish to thank my
classmates in LE41 class for their enthusiastic and effective cooperation in the
pre-research interview.

3



Finally, I take this opportunity to express deepest gratitude to my dear family,
specially my parents for the unceasing encouragement, support and attention during
my years of study and through the process of researching and writing this thesis.
Ho Chi Minh City, 22nd May 2020

4


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

SL

: Source Language

TL

: Target Language

ST

: Source Text

TT

: Target Text

ISC


: International Sales Contract

5


LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Functional characteristics of text types to translation methods ......................28
Table 2. Analyzing lexical features of International Sales Contract 1 ..........................35
Table 3. Analyzing syntactic features of International Sales Contract 1 ......................36
Table 4. Analyzing lexical and syntactic features of International Sales Contract 2 ....45

6


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Conceptual Framework of the study ..............................................................23
Figure 2. An overview of translation theories ...............................................................25

7


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT .................................................................................................... 3
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .............................................................................................. 5
LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................... 6
LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................. 7
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................... 8
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION....................................................................................... 10
1.1


Background to the study ..................................................................................10

1.2

Aim of the study...............................................................................................11

1.3

Research questions ...........................................................................................11

1.4

Significance of the study ..................................................................................12

1.5

Scopes of the research ......................................................................................12

1.6

Outline of the thesis .........................................................................................12

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW............................................................................ 14
2.1 Definition of the key terms ..................................................................................14
2.1.1 Translation – Translation theories .................................................................14
2.1.1.1 Translation ...............................................................................................14
2.1.1.2 Translation theories .................................................................................15
2.1.2 Legal translation ............................................................................................16
2.1.3 International Sales Contract ...........................................................................18
2.2 Previous studies ....................................................................................................19

CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................... 21
3.1 Research questions ...............................................................................................21
3.2 Context and design of the study ...........................................................................21
3.3 Research instruments ...........................................................................................22
3.4 Conceptual framework .........................................................................................23
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ................................................................. 25
4.1 An overview of translation theories .....................................................................25
4.1.1 Linguistic Theories ........................................................................................26
4.1.2 Philological Theories .....................................................................................26
4.1.3 Functional Theories .......................................................................................27
8


4.1.3.1 Text-type Theory .....................................................................................27
4.1.3.2 Translational Action Theory ...................................................................29
4.1.3.3 Skopos Theory.........................................................................................29
4.1.4 Sociolinguistic Theories ................................................................................30
4.1.5 Relevance Theory ..........................................................................................31
4.2 Illustration of how translation theories applied in translating specific
International Sales Contracts. ....................................................................................31
4.2.1 International Sales Contract 1 ........................................................................32
4.2.1.1 Linguistic Theories ..................................................................................35
4.2.1.2. Philological Theories ..............................................................................37
4.2.1.3. Functional Theories ................................................................................38
4.2.1.4 Sociolinguistic Theories ..........................................................................40
4.2.1.5 Relevance Theory ....................................................................................40
4.2.2 International Sales Contract 2. .......................................................................42
4.3 Translation theories‟ implications for translating International Sales Contracts. 47
4.3.1 Linguistic Theories ........................................................................................47
4.3.2 Functional Theories .......................................................................................47

4.3.3 The remaining theories ..................................................................................48
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION ........................................................................................... 49
5.1 Conclusion............................................................................................................49
5.2 Limitations of the study .......................................................................................49
5.3 Recommendations for further study .....................................................................50
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................... 51

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
Nowadays, although English is not an official language in many countries, it is the
language most often taught as a foreign or a second language. Around the world, there
are an estimated 1.5 billion people learning English1. There are many reasons why
learning English has seen an exponential growth in recent years, it all boils down to
the fact that English has become the “global language” of business, politics,
international relations, culture, and entertainment2. As a result, the necessity of
translation service from English to other languages and vice versa is dramatically
important in modern world. Not only do people depend on it to bridge communication
gap, but it also accommodates human access to the wealth of many global aspects.
Due to the development of the demands of translation, throughout the time, there
are a lot of scholars around the world trying to investigate and analyze translation
theories in order to find ways to deal with the issues of translation. It is unquestionable
that translation theories have an important role not only in determining the suitable
translation methods but also providing a background for problem solving. Besides, it is
noticeable that there are different co-existing theories, each directed toward the same
object of study but with a different approach and focus. From these things, the
question of “Which theory should be applied to produce a good translation, especially
in the legal field?” is raised.

With open-door policies for all countries in the world and in the integration
process of the globalization, there have been more and more foreign investors to
Vietnam. This creates chances for economic development. Therefore, the translation of
Vietnamese legal documents into the “global language” - English and vice versa is
crucially essential. As a student majoring in Legal English, in my university
curriculum, I realize that many of my classmates are found getting into difficulties
with the “Legal Translation” subject. From that fact, with the aim of finding out which
type of legal documents they struggle the most, a small interview had been adopted for
1

Beare, Kenneth. (2020, February 11). How Many People Learn English? Retrieved from
https://www.thoughtco.com/how-many-people-learn-english-globally-1210367
2
al, N. P. (2012). Research in English and Applied Linguistics (REAL) Vol 2: Beautiful World is Seen from the
Eyes of Linguists. LLC Publishing.

10


this study. The interview has been conducted to a group of 10 students from LE41
Class of HCMC University of Law. These students have been invited randomly among
volunteers. Surprisingly, the result that I got is eight out of ten interviewees giving the
same answer: International Sales Contracts. Like any other types of translation work,
translating English sales contract is certainly a huge challenge for translators since
they have to deal with non-equivalence as well as accumulate both linguistic and
cultural knowledge in the native language and foreign languages.
For the reasons above, I choose “An overview of translation theories and its
implications for the translation of English vs. Vietnamese legal texts” with the
focus put on the International Sales Contracts.
1.2 Aims of the study

With the rationale presented in the previous part, the two purposes of this study are
as follows:
Firstly, the study aims to clearly summarize the major strands of translation
theories, as well as, figure out the characteristics of these. Interestingly, translation
theory is still a controversy topic when a group of researchers has given various
perspectives about it, which provides us many useful ideas and viewpoints taken from
different lens.
Secondly, two specific examples of International Sales Contract would be
illustrated to find out how the mentioned translation theories are applied. As a
consequence, the study will suggest applying certain types of translation theories to
translate English – Vietnamese International Sales Contract.
1.3 Research questions
This study is expected to give the answers to two main research questions: the first
one is “What are the common translation theories?”, and the other is “How are those
mentioned translation theories applied in translating English - Vietnamese
International Sales Contracts?”. Thanks to the answers to these questions, the primary
aim of this paper could be attained that is finding out translation theories‟ implications
for the translation of International Sales Contracts.

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1.4 Significance of the study
This study provides useful information about translation theories which are
unintentionally ignored by students studying “Legal Translation” subject as well as by
the translators when performing the work of translation. In addition, the interviewed
group, as mentioned in the first part of this Chapter – Background to the study (LE41
students), makes my study distinguished and practical compared to others since it
concentrates the appropriate object for the legal context that is legal students. In other
words, my paper seeks to bring helpful results for students who have major in

language and law in general and for LE41-ers in particular. Moreover, serving as a
good source of accurate and useful information, the findings which this thesis will
reveal may benefit future researchers for conducting new researches or testing the
validity of other related findings.
1.5 Scopes of the research
There is a vast number of translation theories existed, and each theory is used in
different translation aims. Remarkably, on the basis of purpose, there are two
categories of theories in translation.
In the first one, the predominant purpose is to express as exactly as possible the
full force and meaning of every single word and turn of phrase in the original.
In the second one, the predominant purpose is to emphasize on the understanding
that different languages encode meaning in differing forms, accordingly guides
translators to find appropriate ways of preserving meaning, while using the most
appropriate forms of each language.
This study points out five typical theories of the two categories above.
Furthermore, as the result of the interview mentioned before, this study focuses on the
translation of English – Vietnamese International Sales Contracts.
1.6 Outline of the thesis
This paper comprises of five chapters put in the following order. First, some
general issues (the background, the aim, research questions, the significance, the scope
of the study) are mentioned in the chapter of Introduction. Then, key terms are defined
in the Chapter 2 - Literature review. Besides, in this chapter, I also examine some
previous studies that already have been completed in my topic area. Working on all of
12


the related theories, the issue concerning the way to conduct the study is covered in
Chapter 3 – Methodology. In addition, the conceptual framework of the study is also
established in this chapter. Chapter 4 also known as “the body” of the thesis consists of
the findings and discussion of results; in other words, this chapter is considered as the

answer for the research questions. Finally, I come up with my conclusion in the last
chapter – Chapter 5. There could be some limitations of the study and some
suggestions for further research.
Keywords: translation, translation theories, legal translation, International Sales
Contract.

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CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Definition of the key terms
2.1.1 Translation – Translation theories
2.1.1.1 Translation
Translation typically has been used to transfer from written or spoken SL texts
to equivalent written or spoken TL texts. In general, the purpose of translation is to
reproduce various kinds of texts including religious, literary, scientific, and
philosophical texts in another language and thus making them available to wider
readers1. Translation has existed in every corner of our life. It is considered as an
indispensable part in the fields of not only literature, culture and religion but also
commercial advertisement, popular entertainment, public administration, international
diplomacy, scientific research and publication, judiciary procedure, immigration, and
education2,…Hence, the definition of translation is numerous. From different
perspectives, theorists state various definitions for translation. Most dominant
viewpoints regard translation as interlingual translation, a process or a form of crosscultural communication.
Most definitions on translation center on interlingual translation – translation
from one language to another. Typically, Foster (1958: 1) 3 views translation to be the
act of transferring via which the content of a text is transferred from the source
language (SL) into the target language (TL). Sharing the same point, Catford (1965:
20)4 points out that translation is the replacement of textual material in one language
(SL) by equivalent textual material in another language (TL). In this definition, the

most important thing is equivalent textual material. Nonetheless, it is still vague in
terms of the type of equivalence. Similar to the Catford‟s definition is that by Savory
(1969)5 who contends that translation is made possible by an equivalent of thought that
lies behind its different verbal expressions.

1

Ordudari, M. (2007). Translation procedures, strategies and methods. Translation Journal.
Sakai, Naoki "Translation.". New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Retrieve from Encyclopedia.com:
https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/translation
3
Foster, M. (1958). Translation from/into Farsi and English. Retrieved from http://www.parsa-ts.com/index.htm
4
Catford, J.C (1965/1978). A Linguistic Theory of Translation. London: Oxford University Press.
5
Savory, T. (1969). The Art of Translation. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd.
2

14


Considering translation as a process, Finlay (1971: 17)1 defines translation as
“a bilingual mediated process of communication which ordinarily aims at the
production of a TL text that is functionally equivalent to a SL text”. In a similar vein,
Pinchuck (1977: 38)2 states that translation is “a process of finding a TL equivalent for
an SL utterance.” Besides, Wilss (1982: 3)3 points out that translation is a transfer
process, which aims at the transformation of a written SL text into an optimally
equivalent TL text, and which requires the syntactic, the semantic and the pragmatic
understanding and analytical processing of SL.
Viewing translation as a form of cross-cultural communication, Tianmin (2000:

1)4

alleges

that

“translation

is

simultaneous

de-contextualization

and

re-

contextualization, hence is productive rather than reproductive.” A similar idea is
echoed by Hatim and Mason (1997: 1)5, who consider translation as “an act of
communication which attempts to relay, across cultural and linguistic boundaries,
another act of communication.”
In conclusion, although these definitions are different in expression, they share
common features that they all emphasize the importance of finding the closest
equivalence in meaning by the choice of appropriate target language's lexical and
grammatical structures, communication situation and cultural context.
2.1.1.2 Translation theories
There are different views on translation theory put forward by linguists and
translation theorists. Catford (1965: 20)6 argues that “the theory of translation is
concerned with a certain type of relation between languages and is consequently a

branch of Comparative Linguistics”. Thus, translating is defined as the replacement of
textual material in one language (SL) by equivalent textual material in another
language (TL).
According to Newmark (1981: 19)7, translation theory is concerned mainly
with determining appropriate translation methods for the widest possible range of texts
1

Finlay, I.F. (1971). Translating. Edinburgh: The English University Press.
Pinchuck, I. (1997). Scientific and Technical Translation. Andre Deutsch.
3
Wilss, W. (1982). The Science of Translation. Stutgart: Gunter Narr verlag Tubingen.
4
Tianmin, S.J. (2000). Translation in context. Retrieved from http://accurapid.com/journal/36context.htm
5
Hatim, B. & Mason, I. (1997). Translator as communicator. London and New York: Routledge.
6
Catford, J.C (1965). A Linguistic Theory of Translation. London: Oxford University Press.
7
Newmark, P. (1981). Approaches to Translation. Oxford: Pergamon Press Ltd.
2

15


or text-categories. It also provides a framework of principles, restricted rules and hints
for translating texts and criticizing translations, a background for problem solving.
Analogous to Newmark, Graham (in Ross, 1981: 23-24 and 26)1 asserts that
any substantial theory of translation assumes some formal inquiry concerning the
general principles of accomplishment, the very principles which define an object and
specify a method of study. A rigorous theory of translation would also include

something like a practical evaluation procedure with specific criteria.
In brief, translation theories demonstrate that translating is not simply about
the transmission of codes based solely on semantic and formal linguistic elements but
rather concerns the rendering for communication purpose and therefore is inevitably
concerned with pragmatic features of language. Additionally, translation theory
includes principles for translating figurative language, dealing with lexical
mismatches, rhetorical questions, inclusion of cohesion markers, and many other
topics crucial to conduct a good translation2.
2.1.2 Legal translation
Basically, based on the translation platform, legal translation means taking a
legal text in one language then producing it in another language. However, legal
translation is dissimilar to other type of translation work because law is culturedependent. Therefore, it is considered as one of document translation‟s most complex
forms. Legal translation requires a very high degree of accuracy, which cannot be
delivered by machine translation. Several viewpoints about legal translation are stated
as follows.
According to Wikipedia, legal translation is the translation of language used in
legal settings and for legal purposes. Legal translation may also imply that it is a
specific type of translation only used in law, which is not always the case. As law is a
culture-dependent subject field, legal translation is not necessarily linguistically
transparent. Intransparency in translation can be avoided somewhat by use of Latin
legal terminology, where possible3.

1

Graham, Joseph F. (1981). Theory for Translation in Rose (ed) below.
Vallejo, J. D. (n.d.). Translation Theory. TranslationDirectory.com. Retrieved from
https://www.translationdirectory.com/article414.htm
3
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Legal translation. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_translation
2


16


According to Šarčević (1997: 13)1, legal translation is not merely translating
from the source language into the target language but is also “a translation from one
legal system into another – from the source legal system into the target legal system.”
From another viewpoint, Cao (2007)2 considers legal translation is a type of
specialist or technical translation, a translational activity that involves language of and
related to law and legal process. Legal translation refers to the rendering of legal texts
from the Source Language (SL) into the Target Language (TL). It is also important to
mention his classification of legal translation according to different criteria.
First, legal translation has been categorized according to the subject matter
of the SL texts into the following categories: (a) translating domestic statutes and
international treaties; (b) translating private legal documents; (c) translating legal
scholarly works; and (d) translating case law.
Second, legal translation can also be categorized according to the status of
the SL texts: (a) translating enforceable law, e.g., statutes; and (b) translating nonenforceable law, e.g., legal scholarly works.
Third, legal translation can be classified according to the functions of legal
texts in the SL: (a) primarily prescriptive, e.g., laws, regulations, codes, contracts,
treaties, and conventions; (b) primarily descriptive and also prescriptive, e.g., judicial
decisions and legal instruments that are used to carry out judicial and administrative
proceedings such as actions, pleadings, briefs, appeals, requests, petitions, etc.; and (c)
purely descriptive, e.g., scholarly works written by legal scholars, such as legal
opinions, law textbooks, and articles, the authority of which varies in different legal
systems.
Fourth, legal translation can also be classified in the light of the purposes of
the TL texts: (a) normative purpose, i.e., the production of equally authentic legal texts
in bilingual and multilingual jurisdictions of domestic laws and international legal
instruments and other laws; (b) informative purpose, e.g., the translation of statutes,

court decisions, scholarly works and other types of legal documents if the purpose of

1

Šarčević, S. (1997). New Approach to Legal Translation. The Hague/ London/ Boston: Kluwer Law
International.
2
Cao, D. (2007). Translating Law. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

17


the translation is to provide information to the target readers; and (c) general legal or
judicial purpose. In short, legal translation is used as a generic term to cover both the
translation of law and other communications in legal settings.
Furthermore, legal translation is not regarded as simple. It is considered as a
highly skilled task which has even been described as the “ultimate linguistic
challenge” (Harvey 2002: 177)1.
2.1.3 International Sales Contract
As being a sub-type of international contract, it is important to mention the
definition of international contract before pointing out what an International Sales
Contract is.
International contract refers to a legally binding agreement between parties,
based in different countries, in which they are obligated to do or not do certain things.
International contracts may be written in a formal way. Most businesses create
contracts in writing to make the terms of agreement clear, often seeking legal counsel
when drawing important contracts2. Contracts can cover all aspects of international
trade, the most commonly used are: International sale contract, International supply
contract, International manufacturing contact, International services contract,
International franchise contract,…

Bearing the characteristics of an international contract, International Sales
Contract is defined as an agreement between a seller and a buyer for the sale of goods.
The contract should, at a minimum, identify the seller and buyer, the quantity and type
of product, delivery time, price and conditions of payment. In addition, a wellconstructed International Sales Contract will reference the governing body of law, the
forum where any disputes are to be resolved and the method of dispute resolution,
such as arbitration as opposed to litigation3.
In brief, the above-mentioned information shows that an International Sales
Contract is an agreement between two parties from different countries on specific
goods and it has to state the rights and responsibilities of parties following the law.
1

Harvey, M. (2002). What‟s so Special about Legal Translation? Meta, 47 (2).
Internatiional contracts. (n.d.). Dictionary of International Trade. Retrieved from
https://www.globalnegotiator.com/international-trade/dictionary/international-contracts/
3
International Sales Contract. (n.d.). Dictionary of International Trade. Retrieved from
https://www.globalnegotiator.com/international-trade/dictionary/international-sales-contract/
2

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2.2 Previous studies
One of the main challenges of individuals who desire to master in the field of legal
translation is that there are little references about the integration between the
translation theories and legal translation. In fact, I would come up with some studies
related to my study. Those are two books from scholars who wrote about translation
theories and the research by Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuc which is the closest one to my
topic.
A case in point is the book “Translation Theories: Strategies and Basic Theoretical

Issues” (2011)1 by Prof. A. B. As-Safi considers translation as an indispensable
activity there emerged diverse theories and theoretical reflections to guide it. This
diversity stems from the diverse perspectives and approaches to translation with
corollary of a plethora of definitions, types and theories scanned in the first three
chapters of Part One. Historically, translation theories began with the Romans, but
they have undergone four periods as proposed by George Steiner and surveyed in
Chapter Two. Particularly in Chapter Three, it furnishes a plethora of ancient and
recent translation theories, from which the students and others specialized or interested
in translation will benefit.
For another example, the book “An introduction into translation theories” (2012) 2
by Vietnamese author – PhD. Luu Trong Tuan is an expedition through translation
theories. His work revisits diverse views on the nature of translation as well as how the
translational act cognitively proceeds. Besides, different translation theories which
have contributed to the growth of translation discipline are depicted in the book. More
to the point, since diverse translation theories is known as what has paved the paths for
diverse translation strategies and methods, the readers are also provided a landscape of
diverse translation strategies and methods which are contingent on the choice of
translation unit. Last but not least, different degrees of equivalence are produced
depending on the choice of translation unit is highlighted in his book.

1

As-Safi, A.B (2011). Translation Theories: Strategies and Basic Theoretical Issues. Petra University.
Luu Trong Tuan (2012). An introduction into translation theories. Nhà xuất bản Đại học Quốc gia Thành phố
Hồ Chí Minh (Ho Chi Minh City National University Publisher).
2

19



It would be a big mistake if the graduation thesis of Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuc
(2019) which has the same topic with my paper “An overview of translation theories
and its implications for the translation of English vs. Vietnamese legal texts” – is not
mentioned here. The result of her study is very useful since it clearly indicates what
measures based on translation theories are appropriate to solve the difficulties when
translating legal documents. Specifically, her research is conducted to give answers to
these following questions: From identifying (1) what are the translation theories to (2)
finding the main characteristics of legal translation as well as (3) determining the
difficulties when translating legal texts, by doing these, (4) proposing which
mentioned translation theories should be applied to deal with the difficulties of the
translation of English – Vietnamese legal texts. Unfortunately, the researcher only
focused on some translation theories among its diversity and only contracts or
documents related to contracts collected as the type of legal text are investigated in this
case.

20


CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research questions
On the basis of my research goals, the paper was expected to find out what the
common translation theories are. Due to the limited time and access to resources, this
research will focus on five important and useful translation theories which have been
mentioned in the previous chapter. However, these theories definitely concern with
translation strategies adopted to address problems in a complicated text, here is
specifically International Sales Contracts. Then, the question “How are those
mentioned translation theories applied in translating English – Vietnamese
International Sales Contracts?” was answered by the illustration on two specific
contracts. In other words, the translation from SL (English) to TL (Vietnamese) of
each contract would be examined to obtain the result for the second research question.

Thanks to the answers to two previous questions, this paper could come up with the
final conclusion which is translation theories‟ implications for the translation of
International Sales Contracts.
3.2 Context and design of the study
In order to attain the primary aims, the researcher has consulted several ideas from
the supervisor and people who fully master this topic. All the theories have been
carefully selected and gathered through reference books and documents in the Internet
Websites as well. In addition, since this study aims at two specific objects that are
legal students and legal context, an interview was conducted at LE41 Class of HCMC
University of Law concerning on the legal students‟ attitudes and evaluations about the
matters and difficulties that they have to cope with when studying Legal Translation
subject.
In spite of having two main methods to collect and analyze data: qualitative
research and quantitative research, the first should be taken for this paper due to the
purpose of this study. In order to identify common translation theories and understand
how these are applied by examining samples of translation, it is designed as a single
qualitative case study, particularly library research. In fact, library research refers to
any study aiming to get an overview of existing works. In other words, the research
question is literature-based and involves only a methodology of theoretical analysis
21


requiring selection and discussion of descriptive materials as well as a comparative
investigation of the targeted theories defining the issue under scrutiny. In summary,
according to the nature of this study, there is nothing suitable than conducting this
research in the design of qualitative research or library research.
3.3 Research instruments
There are two separate steps in the process of undertaking this research. In the first
step, an interview was conducted in order to collect data and identify the issue. The
second one is to analyze related documents so as to come up with the conclusion. This

study uses two different research instruments corresponding to two steps mentioned.
Firstly, a pre-research had been done in the form of an interview. A one-to-one
interview with ten students was carried out between the researcher and the students. It
is noticeable that these participants were invited randomly among students of LE41
Class. Each interviewee would be asked two questions:
The first question is “What type of legal documents do you think LE41‟s students
struggle the most when studying Legal Translation subject?”, which is used to explore
their opinions. The second question is “Why do you think so?” requiring them sharing
the underlying reasons for the first one.
The aim of these interviews is to help the researcher get the participants' thoughts
and feelings to elicit which type of documents that the majority is facing difficulties
with. The interviews were not recorded, instead the interviewer took notes of
important points during the interviews then key ideas were summarized by the
researcher herself.
Secondly, after getting the result thanks to the first research instrument, tons of
information, studies related to the thesis topic would be collected, evaluated and
analyzed by the researcher in order to achieve the set aims. The main sources of
information are books, articles, reports, etc. found from school libraries or through
specialized online tools like Google, Google Scholar. Although it is uncertain that
what are found could be comprehensive, they are directly and closely related to this
paper. In fact, using these instruments is not only the easiest and effective way to get
access to the variety of sources from a lot of foreign scholars but also they are the least
expensive means of gathering information.
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3.4 Conceptual framework
In order to achieve the goals of this study, the researcher has followed the
conceptual framework below. It is highlighted that this process is derived from the
observation together with the logic of the researcher herself, which means it is not

adapted or adopted from others. To be more specific, the way that I approach the issue
is using available translation theories then checking how they are applied in concrete
translations. These materials are familiar with students majoring in Legal English in
university curriculum. Accordingly, the outcome is expected to benefit those who have
the same background with the researcher. The findings will be served as a good source
of useful information for the period of study as well as for the future jobs relating to
legal translation.

International
Sales Contract 1
Translation
theories






Linguistic Theories
Philological Theories
Functional Theories
Sociolinguistic
Theories
Relevance Theory

Outcome
International
Sales Contract 2

How these

translation
theories applied in
translating
International Sales
Contracts

Translation theories’ implications for the translation of International Sales Contracts

Figure 1. Conceptual Framework of the study

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From this process, it can be seen that there are three main steps, beginning with
doing research on some translation theories and ending with identifying translation
theories which could be applied in translating English – Vietnamese International
Sales Contracts. At the first step, the translation theories are analyzed including
Linguistic Theories, Philological Theories, Functional Theories, Sociolinguistic
Theories and Relevance Theory. In the subsequent step, two examples of International
Sales Contracts are presented. It is noticeable that each contract includes SL version
(English) and TL version (Vietnamese). Based on the TL one, the translation theories
which put in are indicated and explained. In other words, in this step, the two
International Sales Contracts would be illustrated to find out how the mentioned
translation theories are applied. Last but not least, in the final stage, the research
findings and recommendations could be adopted and implemented to benefit the area
of translating English – Vietnamese sales contracts.

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CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.1 An overview of translation theories
In reality, the processes of translating can be viewed from so many different
perspectives such as stylistics, author's intent, diversity of languages, differences of
corresponding cultures, problems of interpersonal communication, changes in literary
fashion, distinct kinds of content (e.g. mathematical theory and lyric poetry), and the
circumstances in which translations are to be used. As a result, it leads to the great
variety of translation theories and sub-theories1. After researching and analyzing a
large number of translation theories existed, as introduced, this paper will focus on
five translation theories. On the basis of the restraint of the source language, these
mentioned theories are put down into two categories: “Theories within the restraint of
the source language” and “Theories beyond the restraint of the source language”. The
first includes theories pointing out that the fundamental units that are the word, the
syntax and the sentence of the source language would be translated as exactly as
possible. The latter indicates that the rendering could be affected by specific factors
beyond language such as social, context, function, etc.
The Figure 2 below briefly summarizes two categories of translation theories
mentioned above:
Theories with
the restraint of
the source
language

Linguistic
Theories

Translation
Theories
Theories
without the

restraint of the
source language

Philological
Theories

Text-type
Theory

Functional
Theories

Translational
Action Theory

Sociolinguistic
Theories

Skopos Theory

Relevance
Theory

Figure 2. An overview of translation theories
1

Nida, E. A. (1991). Theories of Translation. TTR, 4 (1), 19–32. Retrived from: https://doi.org/10.7202/037079ar

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