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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

COLLEGE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES

DEPARTMENT OF GRADUATE STUDIES

LƯƠNG TỐ LAN




APPLICATION OF HOUSE’S MODEL FOR TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN ASSESSING THE ENGLISH VERSION OF THE VIETNAM’S LAW ON INVESTMENT

NO. 59/2005/QH11
ÁP DỤNG MÔ HÌNH ĐÁNH GIÁ CHẤT LƯỢNG BẢN DỊCH CỦA HOUSE VÀO VIỆC ĐÁNH GIÁ BẢN DỊCH TIẾNG ANH

LUẬT ĐẦU TƯ SỐ 59/2005/QH11

M.A. Thesis

Combined Programme Thesis

English Linguistics

60 22 15
HA NOI - 2007




VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

COLLEGE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES

DEPARTMENT OF GRADUATE STUDIES

LƯƠNG TỐ LAN



APPLICATION OF HOUSE’S MODEL FOR TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN ASSESSING THE ENGLISH VERSION OF THE VIETNAM’S LAW ON INVESTMENT

NO. 59/2005/QH11
ÁP DỤNG MÔ HÌNH ĐÁNH GIÁ CHẤT LƯỢNG BẢN DỊCH CỦA HOUSE VÀO VIỆC ĐÁNH GIÁ BẢN DỊCH TIẾNG ANH

LUẬT ĐẦU TƯ SỐ 59/2005/QH11

M.A. Thesis

Combined Programme Thesis


Major: English Linguistics

Code: 60 22 15

Supervisor: Asso. Prof. Dr. Lê Hùng Tiến

HA NOI - 2007




STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP
This work contains no material which has been accepted for the award of any other degree in any university or other tertiary institution and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, contains no material previously published or written by other persons, except where due to references has been made in the text.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
First of all, I would like to send my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Asso. Ph.D. Lê Hùng Tiến, who guided me throughout the accomplishment of this research. If it had not been for his kind guidance, insightful comments and valuable support, my thesis would not have been completed.
I also owe my gratitude to my family, who have always been very supportive with my study. My parents always encourage me in difficult times. And my mother, especially, often helps me to do housework so that I can have more time to work on my papers.
Personally, I highly appreciate all the assistance. I am greatly interested in this study as it is of great help for myself. However, I am responsible for any remaining mistakes and short comings that are found in this work.

ABSTRACT
In today’s world where no nation can ignore the economic integration trend, the demand for easy access to the body of legal documents of a country is greater than ever before. More and more legal documents are being translated into English, the international language of communication, for reference purposes. This calls for studies into the field of legal translation to come up with methods and strategies of translation, as well as assessment and evaluation of translations.

This study aims at revealing the most basic features of Vietnamese and English legal language, and basic concepts of translation theory in general, legal translation in particular. Then it will test the appropriateness of House’s model for translation quality assessment in assessing English translations of Vietnamese legal documents. This is done through the application of the model in assessing the English version of the Law on Investment 2005 of Vietnam and conclusions based on the findings. Finally, implications for translating Vietnamese legal documents into English will be proposed.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page

Statement of authorship i

Acknowledgement ii

Abstract iii

Table of contents iv

List of abbreviations vi

List of diagrams vii
INTRODUCTION 1

1. Rational for the study 1

2. Significance of the study 2

3. Scope and objectives of the study 2

3.1. Scope of the study 2

3.2. Research questions 2

4. Research methods 2

5. Overview of the study 3


CHAPTER 1. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 4

1.1.CHARACTERISTICS OF LEGAL LANGUAGE 4

1.1.1. An overview of legal traditions in the world 4

1.1.2. Vietnamese legal system 6

1.1.3. Vietnamese legal language 7

1.1.3.1. History of Vietnamese legal language 7

1.1.3.2. Linguistic features of Vietnamese legal language 7

1.1.4. English legal language 10

1.1.4.1. History of English legal language 10

1.1.4.2. Linguistic features of English legal language 11

1.2. TRANSLATION THEORY 16

1.2.1. Definition of translation 16

1.2.2. Translation methods and strategies 17

1.2.2.1. Translation methods 18

1.2.2.2. Translation strategies 20

1.2.3. Translation equivalence and assessment 21

1.2.4. Translation of legal documents 24

CHAPTER 2. APPLICATION OF HOUSE’S MODEL

FOR TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSESSMENT 27

2.1. Presentation of the model 27

2.1.1. An overview of the model 27

2.1.2. Operation of the model 28

2.2. Application of the model 31

2.2.1. Analysis of Source Text 32

2.2.2. Statement of function 47

CHAPTER 3. DISCUSSION 49

3.1. Comparison of Target Text and Source Text 49

3.2. Quality of the translation 57

3.3. Implications for translating Vietnamese legal documents into English 59


CONCLUSION 62
REFERENCES 64
Appendix A. Vietnamese version of the selected text I

Appendix B. English version of the selected text V

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
SL: Source Language

TL: Target Language

ST: Source Text

TT: Translation Text



LIST OF DIAGRAMS

Global Distribution of Legal Systems Page 5

The schema for analyzing and comparing original and translation texts Page 30



INTRODUCTION

1. Rationale for the study


Globalization and integration is an inevitable trend in today’s world. Any country that rejects this trend will soon be lagged behind in all major fields of social life. But communication is successful only when the participants can understand each other. This cannot be achieved if nations with different languages never try to understand the language of another. Therefore, the need for translation between languages is greater than ever before. And because English is an accepted contemporary international language, more and more documents in other languages are being translated into it. These are documents of all fields: politics, economics, culture, etc. But when can a translation be considered ‘good’ still draws much discussion. Translation theorists have their own founded criteria for translation quality assessment. Among distinguished scholars of this field is Julian House, a German linguist, with her model for translation quality assessment.

On its route to international economic integration, Vietnam has to make many new laws as objectively required. Laws in Vietnamese obviously have legal validity. But reliable English versions of these laws are desirable to foreign investors before and on coming to do business in Vietnam. Though these English versions do not have legal value, they should facilitate the process of understanding and obeying Vietnam’s laws of foreign enterprises. A good translation of a legal document will mitigate misinterpretations and misapplications.

Of the most recently enacted laws in Vietnam, the Law on Investment of 2005, number 59/2005/QH11 is one that has received much attention and discussion. The Law has been translated into English by several translators. An assessment of the English version of this law is thus desirable.

2. Significance of the study


The results of this study will help test the quality of the English translation of the Law on Investment 2005 of Vietnam under the model developed by the German linguist House, and suggest any timely changes should there be to limit avoidable misunderstandings by foreign investors in interpreting the law.

Besides, the study will also propose some suggestions concerning the translation of Vietnamese authoritative legal documents into English.


3. Scope and objectives of the study

3.1. Scope of the study


The Law on Investment 2005 consists of eighty-nine articles, divided into ten chapters. A study of the whole document is therefore an overload for this paper. So the paper will analyze chapter II only, the title of which is “Bảo đảm đầu tư. There are seven articles in this chapter, from Article 6 to Article 12.

3.2. Research questions


The study aims at finding answers to two questions:

  1. How good is the translation according to House’s model and what are the remaining problems of the translation?

  2. What are some implications for the translation of Vietnamese legal documents into English?

4. Research methods


This study aims at assessing the quality of the English translation of the Law on Investment of Vietnam. Therefore, a set of parameters for assessment is necessary. Among the various criteria and models for translation quality assessment, House’s model is chosen in this study because it is deemed to have a comprehensive set of parameters for assessing functional and pragmatic equivalence of the translation text. Furthermore, as House argues, the model can be applied with a wide range of texts.

In applying House’s model, a source text is first selected, then analyzed to draw its textual profile along the eight situational dimensions and a statement of function of the ST will be made. Similarly, a profile of the translation text will be come up with and compared with the ST’s to find out mismatches before a statement of quality can be drawn about the TT.



5. Overview of the study

The study contains three chapters:

Chapter 1 – Review of Literature

The first part of this chapter will first introduce the main legal traditions in the world and then give a brief introduction to the legal system of Vietnam. After that, it will elaborate linguistic features of Vietnamese and English legal languages.

The second part discusses different aspects of translation: definition, methods and strategies, and equivalence and assessment. Basic characteristics of legal translation will also be presented.

Chapter 2 – Application of House’s model for translation quality assessment

In this chapter, House’s model for translation quality assessment will first be presented and then applied in assessing the English translation of the Law on Investment 2005 of Vietnam.

Chapter 3 – Discussion of results and implications

Findings about the quality of the translation text which is based on the application of the model will be discussed and implications for translating Vietnamese legal documents into English will also be come up with.
CHAPTER 1.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

1.1. CHARACTERISTICS OF LEGAL LANGUAGE

Statutes are generally promulgated by the state to govern people’s behaviors in all aspects of social life. They create, modify, or terminate the rights and obligations of individuals and institutions.

Once enacted, a legal document becomes authoritative and no law-maker will be there to explain the wording and to guide the application of the rules in the law. Therefore, the rules set out in legal documents have to be clear, precise and unambiguous, on the one hand, to avoid misinterpretations and misapplications of them, and inclusive, on the other, to cover all the possible cases that can emerge within the governing scope of the law. To ensure these dual characteristics of legal rules, law-makers have to make full use of the written language, may it be English, French, Vietnamese or any other one. Therefore, the language of this type of documents is highly specialized.

In this study, the term “legal texts” refers to any document within the field of law, and “legal documents” to statutes, documents issued by the law-making body of the country. And “legal language” is restricted to the language of these legal documents.



1.1.1. An overview of legal traditions in the world

Before the serial collapse of some socialist countries in the world in the early 1990’s, there existed a strong belief among scholars in socialist countries that there were only two traditions of law, i.e. the socialist and the capitalist ones, with the latter including Anglo-American as well as Continental (Civil) law systems. Western scholars, on the contrary, distinguish between two main traditions, i.e. the Anglo-American and the Continental traditions, with socialist legal systems belonging to the latter one (Bogdan, 1994:63).



Today, it is commonly agreed that there are five groups of legal systems worldwide distributed as follow:



Global Distribution of Legal Systems

Source: http://www.droitcivil.uottawa.ca/world-legal-systems/eng-monde-large.html

Of these five traditions, Civil Law and Common Law are predominant and will be discussed further in details.

Civil Law, also known as Continental Law or Roman Law, originated from Roman law, more specifically, from the sixth century “Corpus Juris Civilis”, a code consolidating all of the laws in continental Europe during the reign of Roman emperor Justinian. In countries that follow the civil law tradition, statutes are the basis of the legal system. Solutions for each individual case are prescribed in the provisions of the legal codes, on which sentences have to be based. National legal systems developed through the process of codification.

Common Law shares roots in Roman law with Civil Law but has a much different evolution from that of Civil Law. The general principles of Common Law grow out of the judicial decisions in court cases by individual judges over a long period of time. The main source of law and the basis for rules of conduct are past cases, not codes or legislation. The common law systems include all present and former members of the British Empire, as well as the United States of America. But it should be noted that the present common law of the U.S. differs to a great extent from the common law of Britain, despite the two countries being significant representatives of Common Law. Therefore, the language of these two systems poses considerable differences in terms of technical terminologies.

1.1.2. Vietnamese legal system

As stated above, the legal system of Vietnam, like those of other socialist countries, is now considered a member of the Civil (or Continental) law tradition. It takes nationally enacted legal documents as its basis. Vietnamese statutes are enacted by the National Assembly of Vietnam, the highest organ of State power and the only organ with legislative power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (the 1992 Constitution of Vietnam, amended in 2000).

In a socialist-oriented country like Vietnam, law is an important means of realizing lines and policies of the Communist Party – the leading party – to ensure the right path of development of the country, the foundation of which is public ownership. This explains why the idea of public ownership appears quite frequently in Vietnamese statutes.

Vietnamese laws have a wide governing scope, from the organization and operation of the State organs to the rights and obligations of the citizens, as well as the operation of the different aspects of social life (Nguyen Dang Dung et al., 1995).

The legal system of Vietnam consists of a constitution – the fundamental statute of the whole system, more than 100 statutes, and thousands of by-law documents of all kinds (Hệ thống văn bản quy phạm pháp luật, Bộ Tư pháp, 2007). Since its independence in 1945, there have been five constitutions, with the one being in effect dated in 1992. And during its economic integration, Vietnam is continuously perfecting its legal system by amending old laws and enacting new ones.

1.1.3. Vietnamese legal language

1.1.3.1. History of Vietnamese legal language

The history of Vietnamese legal language cannot be traced as clearly as its English counterpart because of its shorter history of development, as well as of the shorter history of the legal system.

The development history of the Vietnamese language can be summarized as follows, according to Tran Chi Doi, Nguyen Thien Giap (2005: 15-19) and the National Center of social sciences and humanity (2002: 13-15):

Vietnamese as a distinct language did not start to develop until the 9th century. From the 9th century through the early 14th century, Vietnamese was used by ordinary people as their mother tongue, but Chinese was still used as an administrative tool.

The script of Vietnamese, the Nom, appeared in the period from the early 14th to the late 15th centuries, during which Vietnamese had not gained its status as an administrative language. This period also witnessed the development of a class of Chinese-Vietnamese words.

In 1651, with the Annam-Lustin-Latin dictionary by priest A. de Rhodes, Vietnamese started to be recorded in Latin, which contributed to its emergence to be a scholarly language and even at times the state’s administrative language during the period from the early 16th to the early 19th centuries.

By the early 20th century, Vietnamese had almost completed its development. And after the August Revolution, it was recognized as the official language of Vietnam. It is now the language of all socio-economic activities, including politics.

1.1.3.2. Linguistic features of Vietnamese legal language

Before Tien’s doctoral thesis in 1999, which studied linguistic features of Vietnamese legal language as a separate discourse type, legal documents were only treated as a sub-type of documents of the administrative style. Some notable works are those of Dinh Trong Lac and Nguyen Thai Hoa; and Cu Dinh Tu. A study of these works points out the following linguistic features of the language of Vietnamese legal documents:



1.1.3.2.1. Lexical features

* Words are rhetorical and there is a moderate number of bookish words.

* There is technical vocabulary for both the general legal field and specific branches of law: chế tài, biện pháp hành chính, năng lực pháp luật, quy phạm pháp luật, xét xử sơ thẩm, xét xử giám đốc thẩm, etc. (general), bị can, đương sự, thế chấp, giao kết hợp đồng, thoả thuận hợp đồng, etc. (specific).

* Nouns are used with a high frequency, especially nouns formed from verbs, making the document highly nominalized.

* There is a high percentage of words with Chinese origin.

* Lexical items are carefully selected. There are no vague or ambiguous words, no jargons, slangs or colloquial words.



1.1.3.2.2. Syntactic features

* Post-modifications in nominal groups are often extended to a rather abnormal length: (doanh nghiệp) có vốn đầu tư nước ngoài đã đầu tư trong các lĩnh vực không thuộc lĩnh vực đầu tư có điều kiện, (đầu tư) thông qua mua, bán cổ phần, cổ phiếu, trái phiếu và giấy tờ có giá khác của tổ chức, cá nhân (theo quy định của pháp luật), etc.

* Impersonal constructions

+ Avoidance of first and second personal pronouns



Nhà đầu tư được đầu tư phát triển

+ Passives

+ Nominalizations

Việc ưu đãi đầu tư, (thời hạn) hoạt động, (phù hợp với) quy hoạch sử dụng đất

* Use of modal verbs to establish rights and obligations

For establishing obliged and forbidden actions, the modal verbs “phải, không được” are used. For establishing permitted actions, the modal verb “được” is used.

Besides the explicit use of modal verbs, the sense of obligation can also be expressed implicitly in Vietnamese: có thể (được), (phải) theo

* Long complex sentences with co-ordinate structures to classify or to detail the circumstances of application of the provision.

Điều 87. Xử lý vi phạm

1. …

2. Người lợi dụng chức vụ, quyền hạn cản trở hoạt động đầu tư; có hành vi sách nhiễu, gây phiền hà đối với nhà đầu tư; không giải quyết kịp thời yêu cầu của nhà đầu tư theo quy định; không thực thi các công vụ khác do pháp luật quy định thì tuỳ theo tính chất, mức độ vị phạm mà bị xử lý kỷ luật, xử phạt hành chính hoặc bị truy cứu trách nhiệm hình sự.

(Law on Investment 2005 of Vietnam)

* A system of enumeration with numbers I, II, III, …, 1, 2, 3, … or letters a, b, c, … is used to separate the parts of complex structures, making them clear in terms of meaning.

* Use of syntactic discontinuity.

* Chapters and articles are summarized with a noun phrase: Điều 45. Thủ tục đăng ký đầu tư đối với dự án đầu tư trong nước, Điều 66. Bảo lãnh của Nhà nước cho một số công trình xây dựng và dự án quan trọng.

1.1.3.2.3. Textual features

* Repetition of nouns



Điều 36. Ưu đãi về sử dụng đất

1. Thời hạn sử dụng đất của dự án đầu tư không quá năm mươi năm; đối với dự án đầu tư có vốn đầu tư lớn nhưng thu hồi vốn chậm, dự án đầu tư vào địa bàn có điều kiện kinh tế - xã hội khó khăn, địa bàn có điều kiện kinh tế - xã hội đặc biệt khó khăn mà cần thời hạn dài hơn thì thời hạn giao đất, thuê đất không quá bảy mươi năm.

* Use of anaphoric and cataphoric reference



Điều 29. Lĩnh vự đầu tư có điều kiện

1. …

2. Đối với nhà đầu tư nước ngoài, ngoài các lĩnh cự quy định tại khoản 1 Điều này,

* Avoidance of pronouns

* Cognitive structure of “(Nếu) X (+ X’ + X’’ + …) thì Y (+ Y’ + Y’’ + …)”

In this structure, X and Y are the core, and X’, X’’ … as well as Y’, Y’’ … are detailing parts.



Điều 36. Ưu đãi về sử dụng đất

1. …

Khi hết thời hạn sử dụng đất, nếu nhà đầu tư chấp hành đúng pháp luật về đất đai và có nhu cầu tiếp tục sử dụng đất thì sẽ được cơ quan nhà nước có thẩm quyền xem xét gia hạn sử dụng đất phù hợp với quy hoạch sử dụng đất đã được phê duyệt.

The core of this provision is “( Nếu) nhà đầu tư có nhu cầu tiếp tục sử dụng đất thì được xem xét gia hạn.”



1.1.4. English legal language

1.1.4.1. History of English legal language

Modern legal English is shaped by the long history of development of Common Law of Britain. According to Peter Tiersma, the history of English legal language can be summarized as follows:

The Anglo-Saxons drove away the Celtic language of the original inhabitants of England and their laws left traces in present legal English. Some Anglo-Saxon words or legal terms still exist today, such as write, ordeal, witness, deem, oath.

In the late 6th century, Christian missionaries came and brought with them Latin. This language became predominant over English and was the language of formal written legal documents.

After the Norman conquest in 1066, French became the language of power, but Latin was still used as a written language of the law until the end of the 13th century. And up to today, legal maxims (like per pro – with the authority of, as in ‘the secretary signed per pro the manager’), names of writs and terminology for case names (versus, ex rel, etc.) are still in Latin. But by the 14th century, French had replaced Latin to be the language of statutes. Some characteristics of this French are still found in modern legal English: addition of initial e to words; addition of –ee to words to indicate the person who was the recipient or object of an action; adjectives that follow nouns (as in attorney general, letters testamentary, malice aforethought.

But as the language for legal purposes, Latin and French were only used by people of the upper class and by legal professionals. So soon after its ascendancy to be the predominant language of the law, French declined to be a living language and finally started to be replaced by English in the legal field in the late 15th century.

Along with the colonization of the British Empire, English common law and legal English were transported to many countries in the world, including North America. Yet, the English legal language of these two systems are not identical. There are different concepts as well as different words for similar concepts. For example, there is no distinction between solicitor and barrister in the United States as in Britain; and American corporate law is equivalent to British company law.

1.1.4.2 Linguistic features of English legal language

Since the 1980s, there has been a growing number of studies into the field of English legal language. Some notable studies are those of Bhatia, Melinkoff, Maley and Tiersma. In this section, their findings will be summarized in terms of lexical, syntactic and textual features of English legal language.



1.1.4.2.1. Lexical features

Perhaps the lexicology of legal English is the most distinctive feature making it highly specialized.



a) Technical vocabulary

* Legal English makes use of a great deal of terminology that is generally unfamiliar to the lay audience. These are words and phrases like restrictive covenant, restraint of trade, promissory estoppel, etc.



- restrictive covenant: clause in a contract which prevents someone from doing something

- restraint of trade: (i) situation where a worker is not allowed to move to another job in the same trade, (ii) attempt by companies to fix prices or create monopolies or reduce competition, which could affect free trade

- promissory estoppel: promise made by one person to another, so that the second person relies on the promise and acts to his detriment, and the first person is stopped from denying the validity of the promise

(Dictionary of Law, Collin: 1993)

* Many words and phrases have a peculiar meaning, completely different from their ordinary meaning. For example, consideration is a common ordinary word but in legal English, it means the price (but not necessarily money) paid by one person in exchange for the other person promising to do something, an essential element in the formation of a contract (Dictionary of Law, Collin: 1993: 53). Other examples are personal property, construction, prefer, redemption, furnish, hold, etc.

b) Unusual and archaic words and phrases

* Many words and phrases in legal English have their origins in French or Latin, as described above. Some examples are proposal, effect, society, assurance, insured, schedule, duly, signed, agreeing, policy, subject, rules, form, terms, conditions, date, entrance, accepted (French origins); basis, table, declaration, registered, stated, part (Latin origins).

* Unfamiliar pronouns like the same, the said, the aforementioned are used not to replace the nouns, but to supplement them, as in the said John Smith.

* ­Here-, there- and where- words and their derivatives (­-at, -in, -after, -before, -with, -by, -above, -on, -upon, etc), which are uncommon in ordinary English, are used primarily to avoid the repetition of names of things in the document or of the document itself. The parties to this contract shall then be reduced to the parties hereto.

* Legal English makes great use of wordy and redundant phrases where the use of a single word would be enough: at slow speed instead of slowly, subsequent to instead of after, etc.

1.1.4.2.2. Syntactic features

a) Word and phrase levels

* Very often in legal English, two or three words of the same grammatical category are strung together with ‘and’ or ‘or’ to convey a single legal concept; for example null and void; fit and proper; perform and discharge; dispute, controversy or claim; signed and delivered; I give, devise and bequeath the rest, residue and remainder; act or omission; wholly and exclusively; etc. Words used in such constructions at times mean exactly the same thing (null and void; will and testament), and at other times do not (dispute, controversy or claim).

* Complex prepositional phrases (with the construction of P-N-P) are used in place of simple prepositions to enhance precision and clarity: for the purpose of, in respect of, in accordance with, etc.

* There is a tendency in legal English to imitate French grammatical structures to arrange words in a distinctly strange order, as in the provisions for termination hereinafter appearing or will at the cost of the borrower forthwith comply with the same.

* Post-modifications in nominal groups are often extended to a rather abnormal length: any installment then remaining unpaid, hereinbefore reserved and agreed to be paid during the term.

b) Sentence level

* Lengthy and complex sentences

Sentences in legal language are often longer and more complex than in other styles because they have more embeddings. Here is an excerpt – one sentence - from section 9 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, UK: 9.(2) Where on a breach the contract is nevertheless affirmed by a party entitled to treat it as repudiated, this does not of itself exclude the requirement of reasonableness in relation to any contract term.

* Syntactic discontinuity

One reason for sentences in legal documents to be so lengthy and confusing is the fact that the subject is often separated from the verb, or the verb complexes are split. For example:



The Lord Chancellor may from time to time prescribe and publish forms of contracts and conditions of sale of land, and the forms so prescribed shall, subject to any modification, or modification, or any stipulation or intention to the contrary, expressed in the correspondence, apply to contracts by correspondence, and may, but only by express reference thereto, be made to apply to any other cases for which the forms are made available.

(Section 46, Law of Property Act 1925, UK)

In the above example, modifications have split the following verb complexes: may prescribe and publish; shall apply; may be made to apply.

* Negation

Legal English makes use of a considerably great amount of negation

* Impersonal constructions

+ Avoidance of first and second personal pronouns

Sex offenders shall register with the police …

+ Passives

+ Nominalizations

No will shall be revoked by any presumption of an intention on the ground of an alteration in circumstances.

* Use of modal verbs to establish rights and obligations

The major aim of statutory provisions is to establish rights and obligations within their scope of regulation. They can either point out what the subjects are obliged to do, what they are not allowed to do, or what they can choose to do or not. For establishing obliged and forbidden actions, the modal verbs “must” and “shall” are used, with “shall” being preferred and not being used simply as a marker of future tense as it often is. For establishing permitted actions, the modal verbs “may” and “can” are used, with “may” being preferred.

1.1.4.2.3. Textual features

* Repetition of nouns

Nouns in legal documents are often repeated, not replaced by pronouns, which brings cohesion to the documents, and enhances precision.

This is an excerpt from section 3 of the Criminal Code 1995 of Western Australia, where the word “offence” is used eight times (the word is underlined):



3 . Offences, types of

Offences are of 3 kinds, namely, crimes, misdemeanours, and simple offences.

Crimes and misdemeanours are indictable offences.

Where for any indictable offence offenders may be punished summarily any court of petty sessions before which a person charged with the offence or which deals with the charge or examines the person charged, or commits him for trial shall be constituted by a magistrate alone, or if there is no magistrate available and the person consents, by 2 justices.

A person guilty of a simple offence may be summarily convicted by 2 justices in petty sessions.

An offence not otherwise designated is a simple offence.

* Use of anaphoric and cataphoric reference

Anaphoric and cataphoric references are often used to refer the reader to another provision either before or after the present one. They may also refer to a provision in another statute.

598 . Kidnapping; alternative verdict

Upon an indictment charging a person with an offence under section 332 the person may be convicted of an offence under section 333.

* Avoiding pronouns

One means of gaining precision is to repeat nouns (e.g., player), rather than using a pronoun (e.g., he) after a person or thing is introduced.  Pronouns can sometimes have ambiguous reference, so this technique can indeed enhance precision. 

* Cognitive structure of “if X, then Z shall be (do) Y”

In this underlying structure, “if X” is made up of conditional or concessive adverbial clauses. Examples of coordinated adverbials in this structure are: on the expiration …. Or on the previous death …. / subject to any authorized endorsement …. And to the production …

All these linguistic features of English legal language are well manifest in an example from the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade below:



GATT Article II (1)(b)

1. (b) The products described in Part I of the Schedule relating to any contracting party, which are the products of territories of other contracting parties, shall, on their importation into the territory to which the Schedule relates, and subject to the terms, conditions or qualifications set forth in that Schedule, be exempt from ordinary customs duties in excess of those set forth and provided for therein. Such products shall also be exempt from all other duties or charges of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation in excess of those imposed on the date of this Agreement or those directly and mandatorily required to be imposed thereafter by legislation in force in the importing territory on that date.

The core of this provision is only “The products described in Part I of the Schedule shall be exempt from ordinary customs duties. Such products shall also be exempt from all other duties in excess of those imposed on the date of this Agreement.”


1.2. TRANSLATION THEORY

Until now, there has been no agreed theory of translation among scholars. They all approach translation studies from different angles, and propose what they consider reasonable. Yet, there are common points in their works: definition of translation, translation strategies, methods or principles, translation equivalence and translation assessment, all of which will be discussed hereafter in terms of translation definition, translation strategies/methods, and translation equivalence and assessment.



1.2.1. Definition of translation

For most ordinary people, ‘to translate’ simply means to put something originally in one language into another language so that the reader/listener of the second language understands what the writer/speaker of the first language says. But for theorists, things are seldom that simple.

- In Approaches to Translation Newmark defines translation as “a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language”. (1981)

Later, in A Textbook of Translation he says translation is “rendering the meaning of a text into another language in the same way that the author intended the text”. (1988: 5)

- Translation means the “replacement of a text in one language (SL) by an equivalent in another language (TL)”. (Cartford, 1965)

- Jokobson in his paper in 1959 offered a much more detailed definition of translation when he distinguished between three kinds:

+ Intralingual translation or rewording is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same language.

+ Interlingual translation or translation proper is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of some other language.

+ Intersemiotic translation or transmutation is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of nonverbal sign systems.

- House (1977: 29) after discussing the three aspects of meaning, proposed a tentative definition of translation: “translation is the replacement of a text in the source language by a semantically and pragmatically equivalent text in the target language”. And these are only written texts.

No matter how diverse these definitions can be, they all share the basic idea that translation does not deal with language as a system, but with language in use and that there should be some kind of equivalence between the two languages.

1.2.2. Translation methods and strategies

Generally speaking, the process of translation involves three steps:



  • analyzing the ST to identify: the intention of the text, the intention of the translator, text styles, the readership, stylistic scales, attitude, setting, the quality of the writing, connotations and denotations, and the cultural aspect of the text;

  • translating into TL: before starting the actual work of translating, the translator should (i) choose an appropriate approach or method, which shall be discussed later, based on the analysis of the ST and his purpose of doing the translation, and (ii) work on possible translation strategies;

  • revising and/or reconstructing the translation.

1.2.2.1. Translation methods

There are various translation methods or approaches, which can be seen in Newmark’s diagram as follows:

SL emphasis TL emphasis

Word-for-word translation Adaptation

Literal translation Free translation

Faithful translation Idiomatic translation

Semantic translation Communicative translation

(Newmark, 1988: 45)

Newmark briefly explained these methods as:

- Word-for-word translation: The SL word-order is preserved and words translated singly by their most common meaning, out of context.

- Literal translation: The SL grammatical constructions are converted to their nearest TL equivalents but the lexical words are translated singly, out of context.

- Faithful translation: attempts to reproduce the precise contextual meaning of the original within the constraints of the TL grammatical structures.

- Semantic translation: takes more account of the aesthetic value of the SL text than does faithful translation, compromising on ‘meaning’ where appropriate so that assonance, word-lay or repetition jars in the finished version. Therefore, it is more flexible, allows for the translator’s intuitive empathy with the original.

- Adaptation: In adaptation, the themes, characters, plots are preserved, and the SL culture is converted to the TL culture and the text is rewritten.

- Free translation: is usually a paraphrase much longer than the original, a so-called ‘intralingual translation’, often prolix and pretentious, and not translation at all.

- Idiomatic translation: reproduces the ‘message’ of the original but tends to distort nuances of meaning by preferring colloquialisms and idioms where these do not exist in the original.

- Communicative translation: attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the original in such a way that both content and language are readily acceptable and comprehensible to the readership.

(Newmark, 1988: 45-7)

Of the above eight methods, only semantic and communicative translation are considered by Newmark to fulfill the two main aims of translation, namely accuracy and economy. In other works on translation theory, these two methods are also most frequently discussed.

In concluding the chapter on translation methods in A Textbook of Translation, Newmark goes on to clarify five more translation methods:


  1. Service translation: is translation from one’s language of habitual use into another language.

  2. Plain prose translation: this is translation of poems and poetic drama. Usually stanzas become paragraphs, prose punctuation is introduced, original metaphors and SL culture retained, no sound-effects are reproduced.

  3. Information translation: This conveys all the information in a non-literary text, sometimes rearranged in a more logical form, sometimes partially summarized, and not in the form of a paraphrase.

  4. Cognitive translation: This reproduces the information in a SL text converting the SL grammar to its normal TL transpositions, normally reducing any figurative to literal language.

  5. Academic translation: This reduces an original SL text to an ‘elegant’ idiomatic educated TL version which follows a literary register. It irons out the expressiveness of a writer with modish colloquialisms.

(Newmark, 1988: 52-3)

The chosen translation method will help the selection and use of appropriate translation strategies, which are going to be discussed in the next part.



1.2.2.2. Translation strategies

After a translation method has been selected, the actual work of translating can now take place. To achieve the goal of transferring the text from the SL into the TL, the translator will have to combine several of the following translation strategies, elsewhere referred to as translation procedures.



  1. Transcription (‘loan words’, adoption, transfer)

  2. One-to-one translation

  3. Through-translation (‘loan-translation’ or calque): is the literal translation of common collocations, names of organizations, the components of compounds.

  4. Lexical synonymy: this is translation by a close TL equivalent, used for a SL word where there is no clear one-to-one equivalent.

  5. Componential analysis: this is preferred to synonymy particularly if the lexical unit is a key-word or is important in the context.

  6. Transposition (Vinay and Darbelnet) or shift (Catford): is the replacement of one grammatical unit by another without changing the sense. It is probably the most common structural change undertaken by translators.

  7. Modulation: is “a variation through a change of viewpoint, of perspective and very often of category of thought” (Vinay and Darbelnet). This is considered the touchstone of a good translator.

  8. Compensation: when loss of meaning or sound effect or metaphor in one part of sentence is compensated in another part.

  9. Cultural equivalence: is an approximate translation where a SL cultural word is translated by a TL cultural word.

  10. Translation label: that is an approximate equivalent, sometimes proposed as a collocation in inverted commas, which may later be accepted.

  11. Definition (descriptive equivalent): usually recast as a descriptive noun-phrase or adjectival clause.

  12. Paraphrase: an amplification or free rendering of the meaning of a sentence: the translator’s last resort.

  13. Expansion: grammatical expansion

  14. Contraction: grammatical reduction

  15. Recasting sentences: splitting of one sentence in the SL into two or more sentences in the TL or grouping several sentences in the SL into one sentence in the TL.

  16. Rearrangement, improvements (jargon, mistakes, misprints, idiolect, clumsy writing, etc.). Only justified if (a) the SL text is concerned mainly with facts, or (b) the writing is defective.

  17. Translation couplet: literal translation or translation label plus transcription

The choice of strategies for the translation of a text depends on the purpose of the translation and the componential analysis of the ST.

1.2.3. Translation equivalence and assessment

Of these two terms or concepts, translation equivalence is a central one in translation theory. Equivalence in translation can be broadly defined as the relationship between texts in two different languages, not between the languages themselves. Equivalence is the main criterion in assessing the quality of a translation. A translation is generally said to be ‘good’ if it can maintain a certain degree of equivalence to the ST.

In this part, some different views on equivalence will be discussed but there shall be no separate discussion of translation assessment; instead, it is implied that assessment of a translation is based on the respective kind of equivalence discussed.

1.2.3.1. Jakobson (1959): linguistic meaning and equivalence

Jakobson sees translation as three separate kinds: intralingual, interlingual and intersemiotic, with the second kind corresponding to others’ definition of translation.

In terms of linguistic meaning, Jakobson takes up Saussure’s view that the linguistic sign, which composes of the signifier (the spoken and the written signal) and the signified (the concept signified), is arbitrary or unmotivated.

In terms of equivalence in meaning, he holds that ‘there is ordinarily no full equivalence between code-units’ (1959/2000: 114). Therefore, it should not be expected that the code-units in ST and TT are similar, even when the message is ‘equivalent’ in ST and TT.



1.2.3.2. Nida (1964): formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence

  • Formal equivalence: the message in the TL should be conveyed by elements that are as closely matching as possible with those in the SL.

  • Dynamic equivalence: the message should produce an effect on TL receptors equivalent to that on ST receptors.

A translation, in Nida’s opinion, is successful if it can achieve equivalent response in the two languages, which means dynamic equivalence is the goal of translation. To be ‘good’, a translation must meet these four basic requirements:

  • making sense

  • conveying the spirit and manner of the original

  • having a natural and easy form of expression

  • producing a similar response

1.2.3.3. Newmark (1981 & 1988): semantic translation and communicative translation

Although he shares similar ideas of translation equivalence with Nida, Newmark uses ‘semantic translation’ and ‘communicative translation’ for ‘formal equivalence’ and ‘dynamic equivalence’ respectively. Communicative translation aims at producing “the same effect (or one as close as possible) on the readership of the translation as was obtained on the readership of the original”. Semantic translation, on the other hand, attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the original.



1.2.3.4. Koller (1979): five types of equivalence

Koller describes five types of equivalence to answer the question as to what exactly has to be equivalent. These are presented in Munday (2001: 47) as follow:



  • Denotative equivalence: is related to equivalence of the extralinguistic content of a text.

  • Connotative equivalence: is related to the lexical choices, especially between near-synonyms.

  • Text-normative equivalence: is related to text types, with different kinds of texts behaving in different ways.

  • Pragmatic equivalence (or communicative equivalence): is oriented towards the receiver of the text or message. This is Nida’s dynamic equivalence.

  • Formal equivalence: is related to the form and aesthetics of the text; it includes word plays and the individual stylistic features of the ST. This is different from Nida’s formal equivalence.

Koller also proposes a checklist whereby a text can be analyzed for translation:

  • language function

  • content characteristics

  • language-stylistic characteristics

  • formal-aesthetic characteristics

  • pragmatic characteristics

1.2.4. Translation of legal documents

Legal texts in general can be grouped into the following four categories:



  • Nationally-enacted legal documents: the legal effect of these documents are limited to the territory of their countries of origin. To be effective, they have to be involved in the country’s legal system. Unless validated, any translation of the document purely serves to inform the addressee of the original one, and TT functions as a parallel text, a commentary to be used to access the original.

  • Documents drawn up in bi-lingual and/or bi-juridical countries, for example Canada: both texts in the two languages are of equal legal validity.

  • “Hybrid texts”: these are texts “produced in a supranational multicultural discourse community where there is no linguistically neutral ground” (Trosborg, 1997: 145-146 in Garzone). Every version of the documents in any of the official languages of the issuing international agency is supposed to have the same meaning as other versions, and after ratification, is of legal validity in its territory. But when translated into another language rather than the official ones, the translation is purely informative. These are treaties, protocols, conventions, etc.

  • International documents regulating the relationships between private subjects in different nations. These are not always authoritative and are interpreted according to the law governing them.

This paper focuses on the first category of legal texts, i.e. nationally-enacted legal documents, which Sarcevic (1997:10 in Garzone) concludes as being connotative in nature.

Any legal document is embedded in a culture that determines the structure of the legal system of that document as well as the legal language of that system. The language of the law of any legal system is typically formulaic, archaic, and at times obscure. Legal discourse highly reflects its culture. And legal documents have a special pragmatic status.

Legal writing follows very strict stylistic conventions that may not correspond to conventions in a target culture. There may be no direct structure equivalence between the SL and the TL. Certain concepts may exist in the ST legal system but not in the TT system.

Most legal documents attempt to perform legal actions and to establish clearly defined rights and duties for certain groups of individuals involved in different social relations. This can only be done through the validity conditions set forth by the cultures of the texts.

The reader of the translations of these authoritative legal documents is often someone who is familiar with another legal system and its language. And these translations are only parallel texts without legal validity.

This distinct nature of legal documents poses two major issues concerning the translation work. The first question is which style and format should the TT follow if there are profound linguistic differences between the SL and the TL. Some professionals try to preserve the original style and format, even if this would hinder the TT’s clarity. Others stick to the TL style and format. But this in certain cases would bring about the drawback of affecting the reader’s impression on the ‘technicality’ of the ST. This is true of Vietnamese legal documents. If following the style and format of English legal language, the English version of a Vietnamese statute will appear to be more precise and more technical to a reader from the Common Law system. And because statutes are translated into other languages, the most popular being English, for reference only, the former approach should be favored.

The second issue is related to the actual work of translating. The essence of translation lies in the preservation of the legal actions and the clearly defined rights and duties set forth in the ST. This can only be achieved when linguistic gaps can be overcome. Terminology alone raises difficulties for a translator. One concept and its term may exist in the SL only; there is no equivalent in the TL. Similarly, a term in the SL and the one in the TL often accorded to it are not identical in terms of conceptual meaning. For example, in the Vietnamese legal system, there exists the crime of “xâm phạm tài sản xã hội chủ nghĩa” while in the British or American system there is no such offence. Any reader who is familiar with the British system will not understand the translation term the same way a Vietnamese does. The terms hội thẩm nhân dân in Vietnamese and juror in English are again not identical. They are both present in a trial but hội thẩm nhân dân has more power than a juror. According to the dictionary of law of the Hanoi University of Law, hội thẩm nhân dân is appointed to hear a case within the court’s jurisdiction and “ngang quyền với thẩm phán, độc lập và chỉ tuân theo pháp luật” while juror is a member of a jury which is defined in the Dictionary of Law (Collin, 1993: 132) as “group of twelve citizens who are sworn to decide whether someone is guilty or not guilty on the basis of the evidence they hear in court”. So on the word level, different methods and strategies can be made use of regarding the rendering of concepts and terms. And it depends on the purpose of the TT as well as on the translator’s choice as to convey the underlying idea or merely the words.

Besides lexical items, structural differences and means of creating textual coherence and cohesion are another source of obstacles. Linguistic structures that are often found in the SL may have no direct equivalent structures in the TL. The translator therefore has to find TL structures with the same functions as those in the SL. Textual means in the two languages do not always correspond to each other.

It is clear that legal translation differs from other kinds of translations in a number of ways due to the special characteristics of this kind of documents. Certain translation procedures and assessment should be adopted for legal translation.

In the following chapter, House’s model for translation quality assessment will be applied in assessing the English translation of the Vietnamese Law on Investment of 2005.



CHAPTER 2.

APPLICATION OF HOUSE’S MODEL FOR

TRANSLATION QUALITY ASSESSMENT
2.1. Presentation of the model

Julian House is a German linguist. She first proposed her model for translation quality assessment in 1977 in A Model for Translation Quality Assessment. The original model attracted many criticisms which are said to have been tackled in her revised model in 1997 – Translation Quality Assessment: A Model Revisited.


2.1.1. An overview of the model

Not until the 1970s did the translation science begin to deal with translation criticism, which in House’s words is translation quality assessment. House was among the theorists who tried to provide a scientifically based framework for translation quality assessment. For her, translation is “the replacement of a text in the source language by a semantically and pragmatically equivalent text in the target language” (1997: 31). To be equivalent, the TT has to preserve the meaning of the ST. There are three aspects of this meaning: a semantic aspect, a pragmatic aspect, and a textual aspect. House considers equivalence to be the fundamental criterion of translation quality and argues that it is functional, pragmatic equivalence that should be achieved for ‘meaning’ to be preserved across two different languages. By pointing out that ‘any two linguistic items in two different languages are multiply ambiguous’ and that ‘languages cut up reality in different ways’, House stresses that functional, pragmatic equivalence “is the type of equivalence which is most appropriate for describing relations between original and translation”. But in the model, poetic-aesthetic texts are excluded.

As written in House’s report on Meta (2001: 247), the assessment model is “based on Hallidayan systemic-functional theory, but also draws eclectically on Prague school ideas, speech act theory, pragmatics, discourse analysis and corpus-based distinctions between spoken and written language”. And after being revised, House’s model still aims at providing for ‘the analysis and comparison of an original and its translation on three different levels: the levels of Language/Text, Register (Field, Mode and Tenor), and Genre’ (House, 2001: 247), or for the discovery of ‘mismatches’ between the TT and the ST on the same three levels.

2.1.2. Operation of the model

A key concept in the operation of House’s model is the context of situation or ‘situational dimensions’. The author states that the function of a text is “the application or use which the text has in the particular context of situation” (p.36). There are two components of a text’s function: the ideational and the interpersonal components. And functions of texts are different from functions of language. A translation is functionally equivalent to its ST if it does not only match its ST in function, but also employs equivalent situational-dimensional means to achieve that function.

The ‘situational dimensions’ can be collapsed into two sections: Dimensions of Language User and Dimensions of Language Use.


  1. Dimensions of Language User

  1. Geographical Origin

  2. Social Class

  3. Time

  1. Dimensions of Language Use

  1. Medium: simple/complex

  2. Participation: simple/complex

  3. Social Role Relationship

  4. Social Attitude

  5. Province

Each of these situational dimensions is realized through syntactic, lexical and textual means. Textual means refers to:

  1. theme-dynamic: thematic structure and cohesion;

  2. clausal linkage: additive (and, in addition), adversative (but, however), alternative, causal, explanatory, illative relations, etc.;

  3. iconic linkage: parallelism of structures.

From House’s assumption that in order to make qualitative statements about a TT, the TT’s textual profile must be compared with the ST’s textual profile, her model for translation quality assessment operates as follows:

  1. ST is analyzed in details to produce a profile of the ST register with text-specific linguistic correlating to the situational dimensions (syntactic, lexical, and textual means).

  2. A description of the ST genre realized by the register is added.

  3. A statement of function of the ST is made, including the ideational and interpersonal component of that function.

  4. A similar profile and statement of function is made of the TT.

  5. The TT profile is compared to the ST profile (using the schema below) and a statement of ‘mismatches’ is produced, categorized according to genre and to the situational dimensions of register and genre. These dimensional errors are distinguished from denotative mismatches or target system errors.

  6. A ‘statement of quality’ is made of the translation.

  7. Finally, the translation is categorized into either overt translation or covert translation.

(Munday, 2001: 93)

The schema for analyzing and comparing original and translation texts (House, 1997: 108):


Individual textual function


Register

Genre

(generic purpose)


Register in House’s model resembles Halliday’s register analysis but has some additions. Field refers to subject matter or topic, social action or social activity and covers the specificity of lexical items. Tenor refers to the nature of the participants and the relationship between them, including the ‘text producer’s temporal, geographical and social provenance as well as his intellectual, emotional or affective stance (his “personal viewpoint”) […] ‘social attitude’, i.e. different styles (formal, consultative and informal). Mode refers to both the channel – spoken or written, and the degree of participation between writer and reader (House, 2001: 248).

But register analysis alone is not sufficient for a statement of text function to be made. The analysis of the text, may it be ST or TT, has to incorporate Genre – which is ‘the conventional text type’ associated with ‘a specific communicative function’. Genre is conditioned by the socio-cultural environment and itself determines other elements in the systemic framework. As House says, Genre ‘connects texts with the “macro-context” of the linguistic and cultural community in which texts are embedded” (2001: 248).

There are criticisms that House’s analytical schema is over-complicated. There are even more criticisms regarding House’s distinction of two types of translation: overt translation and covert translation. An overt translation is “one in which the addressees of the translation text are quite ‘overtly’ not being directly addressed” (1997: 66). A covert translation is “a translation which enjoys the status of an original source text in the target culture” (1997:69). In overt translation, equivalence is necessary at the level of Language/Text and Register, as well as Genre. In covert translation, equivalence is desirable at the level of Genre and the individual text function. But in covert translation, the translator has to apply what is called a “cultural filter” to modify cultural elements and to give receivers the impression that the TT is an original. The translator assessor also has to make use of this ‘cultural filter’ in judging the quality of a covert translation.



2.2. Application of the model

The source text examined in this study is chapter II of the Law on Investment of Vietnam, promulgated on November, 29th 2005. The target text is the translation published by the Transportation Publishing House.

As stipulated in Article 1, this Law

“regulates investment activities for business purposes; the rights and obligations of investors; the guarantee of lawful rights and interests of investors; encouragement of investment and investment incentives; State administration of investment activities in Vietnam and offshore investment from Vietnam.”

And entities subject to the Law are defined in Article 2 as

“1. Domestic investors and foreign investors carrying out investment activities within the territory of Vietnam; offshore investments made from Vietnam.


2. Organizations and individuals involved in investment activities.”

with investor being defined in Article 3 as “any organization or individual carrying out investment activities in accordance with the law of Vietnam.”


Chapter II is entitled “Bảo đảm đầu tư” (“Investment Guarantees” ). There are seven articles in this chapter, from Article 6 to Article 12. A copy of the chapter is available in Appendix A. Except for Articles 7, 8 and 10, all other articles contain at least two clauses with each clause beginning with a cardinal number and each item within one clause beginning in a separate line with an alphabetical letter. And except for Clause 2 of Article 6, which contains two sentences, all other clauses compose of only one sentence, may it be long or short. Therefore, when mentioning the articles as examples, the following system of symbols is used:


6.(1, 2/1) - Article 6, Clause 1 and sentence 1 of Clause 2

7.( ) - the whole Article 7

8.(/) - Article 8, introductory part

9.(1/a) - Article 9, Clause 1, item a

The English translation text is of the Transport Publishing House, a copy of which is available in Appendix B. The same system of symbols is used to refer to sentences in the translation.
2.2.1. Analysis of Source Text

A. Dimensions of language user:


  1. Geographical Origin: non-marked, standard Vietnamese

  2. Social class: non-marked

  3. Time: non-marked, contemporary Vietnamese


B. Dimensions of language use:

(1) Medium: simple, written to be read

Syntactic means:

a. absence of elliptical clauses, contractions, contact parentheses and comment parentheses, and any kind of spoken language signals such as ừ, à, vậy sao …

b. long and carefully structured sentences. Most sentences are either complex or compound or compound-complex,

c. placing of expanded subordinate clauses of purpose: 8.( /), of condition: 9.(1) before the main clause. This is a focusing device typical of the written mode as its use in spoken language is restricted by performance constraints,

d. presence of syntactic discontinuity, a typical feature of the written mode. Expanded postnominal modifications separate the head of the subject noun phrase and the corresponding finite verb: 6.(3) việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường tài sản quy định tại khoản 2 Điều này được thực hiện , 9.(2) Người nước ngoài làm việc tại Việt Nam cho các dự án đầu tư được chuyển ra nước ngoài , 9.(4) Thủ tục chuyển ra nước ngoài các khoản tiền liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư theo quy định …,12.(1) Tranh chấp liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư tại Việt Nam được giải quyết, 12.(2) Tranh chấp giữa các nhà đầu tư trong nước với nhau hoặc với cơ quan quản lý Nhà nước Việt Nam liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư trên lãnh thổ Việt Nam được giải quyết, 12.(3) Tranh chấp mà một bên là nhà đầu tư nước ngoài hoặc doanh nghiệp có vốn đầu tư nước ngoài hoặc tranh chấp giữa các nhà đầu tư nước ngoài với nhau được giải quyết, 12.(4) Tranh chấp giữa nhà đầu tư nước ngoài với cơ quan quản lý nhà nước Việt Nam liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư trên lãnh thổ Việt Nam được giải quyết; the object of the verb phrase is separated from the main verb: 8.( /) …Nhà nước bảo đảm thực hiện đối với nhà đầu tư nước ngoài các quy định sau đây,

e. use of passive structures where in spoken language would normally be active: 6.(2/1) được thanh toán, 6.(3) được thực hiện, 9.(3) được thực hiện, 11.(2) được bảo đảm, 12.(1,2,3,4) được giải quyết, được ký.



Lexical means:

a. absence of qualifying modal adverbials, interjections, and other subjectivity markers typical of the spoken mode,

b. frequent use of Chinese-Vietnamese words, which marks a certain degree of formality in speech.

Textual means:

a. the text is structured and enumerated in a highly conventionalized format: each article, the title of which introduces the rheme or summarizes the content of the article, may consist of one or more sentences, each of which expresses a complete aspect of the content and begins with a cardinal number. Where compound sentences are long, each coordinate clause is written in one line enumerated with a letter.

b. the text is emic. There are no pronominal references to the addresser and the addressees; the text is determined through text-immanent criteria and is marked by an explicitness and elaborateness typical of the written mode,

c. lack of repetition resulting in a lack of redundancy,

d. frequent use of repetition of nouns to ensure precision of reference: 6.(2) nhà đầu tư, 8.(2) hàng hoá, dịch vụ, 11.(1, 2) pháp luật, chính sách, quyền lợi, ưu đãi, nhà đầu tư, 11.(3) nhà đầu tư.

(2) Participation: complex, there is participation of both addresser and addressees.

The text is a monologue with addressees being directly addressed and given instructions. The addresser is the law-making body of the country, i.e. the National Assembly of Vietnam. The text is addressee-oriented but the addressees’ potential reactions are not taken into account by the addresser. The addressees have no other choice than to do as directed. This dimension is manifest in the following means:



Syntactic means:

a. frequent use of modal auxiliaries to denote rights that the addresser grants the addressees: được : 6.(2/1, 3), 9.(1, 2, 3), 10.( ), 11.(1, 2); không bị 6.(1, 2/1); as well as the obligations that the addresser imposes on the addressees: phải: 6.(2/2);

b. absence of modal auxiliary of obligation but the sense of obligation is still felt: 6.(4), 9.(4);

c. absence of interrogative sentences, which allows for no direct (even imaginary) participation of the addressees.



Textual means:

a. repeated use of the noun ‘ nhà đầu tư’ with both specific and generic references, which directs the text at the addressees whenever the word is used. The noun ‘ nhà đầu tư’ has no distinction between singular and plural, thus referring to a particular investor or to investors as a whole, except for in 6.(2/2), 12.(2) and 12.(3), where the word is made plural because there must be at least two investors to these cases.

b. implied participation of addresser in 6.(1, 2/1, 3) and of addressee in 6.(3), 9.(3), otherwise participation is explicit. It is the co-text feature that makes it possible to identify such participation.

(3) Social Role Relationship

- Asymmetrical role relationship: addresser has political authority over the addressees.

- Position role of addresser: the National Assembly of Vietnam, the highest representative office of the people and the sole law-making body of the country, where the addressees are carrying out investment activities.

- Situational role of addresser: representative of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam specifying the rights and obligations of investors/addressees, as well as obligations and commitments of the State.

The role relationship in the text may be described as follows: the addresser, on behalf of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, speaks directly to the addressees, i.e. investors doing investment activities in Vietnam. The aim of the addresser is to make it thorough and clear to the addressees the permissions or rights granted and obligations imposed on them. In doing this, the addresser is also clarifying his obligations or commitments to ensure the addressees’ rights. This is so because in any bilateral legal relationship, a person’s rights are the other’s obligations.

The relationship here is an impersonal, distant one: the investor is not being approached as an individual but as a type, as a member of the class of investors. It is also authoritative, one of a command-compliance nature. The addresser has the supreme power to command and the addressees have absolute duty to comply with the addresser’s orders. The addresser, therefore, does not have to try to be tactful or to flatter the addressees. Rather, the addresser tries to be direct in pointing out whose rights and obligations are being discussed, and to be committal to the addressees. The addressees, however, despite their sharing at least one common characteristic of carrying out investment activities in Vietnam, are not identical. Therefore, the addresser has to be precise when it comes to addressing a small group of investors or clarifying the circumstances where the regulations are applicable.

This characterization of the text’s social role relationship is manifest in the following linguistic means:

Syntactic means:

a. use of [-human] subject noun phrases making the text impersonal: nhà đầu tư, 6.(1, 2/2, 3, 4): Vốn đầu tư và tài sản; Việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường, thể thức, điều kiện; 7.( ): Nhà nước; 8.(/): Nhà nước; 9.(3, 4): Việc chuyển ra nước ngoài; Thủ tục chuyển ra nước ngoài; 11.(3): Chính phủ; 12.( ): Tranh chấp.

The abstract nouns “Nhà nước” and “Chính phủ” refer to the addresser indirectly, which has the effect of extending the distance between the addresser and the addressees. “Nhà nước” and “Chính phủ” does not refer to a particular person but to some invisible institution of which the addresser is a representative, and about which ordinary people talk with great respect, as well as whose commands are supposed to receive unconditional compliance. It is possible to say that in this context, these two institutions have been personified. But they are distant and out of reach to the addressees because they are invisible.

The noun “nhà đầu tư” is stipulated in Clause 4, Article 3 of this law as “any organization or individual carrying out investment activities in accordance with the law of Vietnam”. It can, therefore, be either [- human] or [+ human].

b. dominance of non-number-specified nouns like “nhà đầu tư, lợi ích, quy định, etc”, despite the nouns being countable or uncountable, making the text both precise and inclusive. The Vietnamese language is not an inflectional one like English. Most changes require the addition of at least one more word to the original one. In intentionally indicating the sense of plural to a countable noun, the empty words các or những are compulsory, as in “các nhà đầu tư, những biện pháp”. Otherwise, the nouns can have both generic and specific reference, as well as be both singular and plural in terms of number. There are few instances, compared with the number of nouns used throughout the text, where an indicator of number is made use of.

Instances where the plural indicator “các” is used: 6.(2/2): các nhà đầu tư; 8.(/): các quy định (two times), các điều ước quốc tế; 8.(2): các yêu cầu; 9.(1): các khoản, các khoản vay, các khoản thanh lý đầu tư, các khoản tiền; 9.(2): các dự án đầu tư, các nghĩa vụ; 9.(3): các khoản; 9.(4): các khoản tiền; 11.(1): các quyền lợi (two times); 11.(2): các ưu đãi, các biện pháp, các quyền; 12.(2): các nhà đầu tư trong nước; 12.(3): các nhà đầu tư nước ngoài, các bên tranh chấp.

Instances where other indicators are used:


  • indicators of plural: 9.(1/b): những khoản tiền; 11.(2): một số biện pháp; 12.(3): những cơ quan

  • indicators of singular: 8.(2/e,g): một địa điểm; 11.(2): một (biện pháp)

The number of nouns used without a number indicator outnumbers that of nouns used with one. For example, there are 24 instances where the noun “nhà đầu tư” is used, but only in three is the aspect of number identified as plural (in 6.(2/2), 12.(2) and 12.(3)). Similarly, out of the eight instances where the noun “quy định” is used, only two (both in 8.(/)) are number-clear with the empty word “các”.

Clearly, where precision of number is not required, the base form of the noun is preferred. And because the nouns are not number-clear, they can refer to one particular addressee or all addressees as a group; as well as to one or countless acts. This adds to the text’s impersonality.

c. the noun phrases are extended such that the provisions become more precise. The head nouns are modified by post-modifiers which make the meaning of the nouns clearer and more precise, limiting the chances of the provision being misinterpreted. The participants, therefore, are clearly aware of the circumstances of their rights and obligations.

The noun phrase in 6.(2/1): trường hợp thật cần thiết vì lý do quốc phòng, an ninh và lợi ích quốc gia limits the cases where the State can carry out the permitted acts.



Other cases of extended noun phrases are (the head nouns are in bold) 6.(2/2): giá thị trường tại thời điểm công bố việc trưng mua, trưng dụng; 6.(3): việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường tài sản theo quy định tại khoản 2 Điều này; 7.( ): lợi ích hợp pháp của nhà đầu tư trong việc chuyển giao công nghệ tại Việt Nam theo quy định của pháp luật về sở hữu trí tuệ và pháp luật có liên quan; 8.(/): các quy đinh trong các điều ước quốc tế mà Việt Nam là thành viên; 8.(1): lộ trình đã cam kết; 8.(2/c): số lượng giá trị tương ứng với số lượng và giá trị hàng hoá xuất khẩu; 8.(2/e): một địa điểm cụ thể ở trong nước hoặc nước ngoài; 9.(1): lợi nhuận thu được từ hoạt động kinh doanh; những khoản tiền trả cho việc cung cấp kỹ thuật, dịch vụ, sở hữu trí tuệ; tiền gốclãi các khoản vay nước ngoài; các khoản tiềntài sản khác thuộc sở hữu hợp pháp của nhà đầu tư; 9.(2): nguời nước ngoài làm việc tại Việt Nam cho các dự án đầu tư; 9.(3): ngân hàng thương mại do nhà đầu tư lựa chọn; 9.(4): thủ tục chuyển ra nước ngoài các khoản tiền liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư; quy định của pháp luật về quản lý ngoại hối; 11.(1): quyền lợiưu đãi cao hơn so với quyền lợi, ưu đãi mà nhà đầu tư đã được hưởng trước đó; 11.(2): lợi ích hợp pháp mà nhà đầu tư đã được hưởng trước khi quy định của pháp luật, chính sách đó có hiệu lực; các ưu đãi như quy định tại Giấy chứng nhận đầu tư; 11.(3): cam kết trong điều ước quốc tế mà Việt Nam là thành viên; 12.(1): Tranh chấp liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư tại Việt Nam; 12.(2): Tranh chấp giữa các nhà đầu tư trong nước với nhau hoặc với cơ quan quản lý nhà nước Việt Nam liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư trên lãnh thổ Việt Nam; 12.(3): Tranh chấp mà một bên là nhà đầu tư nước ngoài hoặc doanh nghiệp có vốn đầu tư nước ngoài; tranh chấp giữa các nhà đầu tư nước ngoài với nhau; trọng tài do các bên tranh chấp thoả thuận thành lập; 12.(4): Tranh chấp giữa nhà đầu tư nước ngoài với cơ quan quản lý nhà nước Việt Nam liên quan đến hoạt động đầu tư trên lãnh thổ Việt Nam; thoả thuận khác trong hợp đồng được ký giữa đại diện cơ quan nhà nước có thẩm quyền với nhà đầu tư nước ngoài hoặc trong điều ước quốc tế mà Việt Nam là thành viên.

Within the extended noun phrases in 7.( ), 8.(/), 9.(4), 11.(1,2,3), and 12.(1,2,4) there are several modifying noun phrases.

It can be deduced that the use of extended noun phrases is a major means in making the provisions precise by listing all the possible occurrences. This does not prevent the text from being inclusive because the clearly defined nouns still have no specific agent or time reference, resulting in the provisions covering any person or act that matches the descriptions.

d. dominant use of tenseless verbs making the text more objective and factual. There is no basis for establishing the time and location of the acts denoted by the verbs. The sentences are thus stated as facts, the addresser’s tone becomes more imposing.

e. use of performative verbs in sentences with the non-human subject being the addresser: 7.( ): bảo hộ quyền sở hữu trí tuệ; bảo đảm lợi ích hợp pháp; 8.(/): bảo đảm thực hiện […] các quy định; 11.(3): quy định cụ thể về việc bảo đảm lợi ích . In saying sentences with these verbs, the addresser is performing the acts expressed thereby. These illocutionary acts can be classified as follows: bảo hộ and quy định are declarative, bảo đảm lợi ích hợp pháp and bảo đảm thực hiện are commissive. By saying these, the addresser is being committal and authoritative. The timelessness of the verbs suggests that the acts will be carried out as long as this law is in effect.

f. maximum application of the Deontic modality in specifying rights and obligations of the addressees, as well as the addresser. This is done in both cases where the role of the participants is explicitly or implicitly stated.

f.1. The role of the participants is explicit, i.e. the participants appear in the theme of the sentence:

- modal particle “được” is used to grant permissions to the addressees, as in 6.(3): được quyền chuyển ra nước ngoài; 9.(1, 2): được chuyển ra nước ngoài; 10.( ): được áp dụng thống nhất giá, phí, lệ phí; 11.(1): được hưởng quyền lợi, ưu đãi; 11.(2): được hưởng (quyền lợi, ưu đãi), được trừ thiệt hại, được điều chỉnh,

The word “được” is also used in other cases but functions as a signifier of the passive voice.

f.2. The role of the participants is implicit, i.e. only the act is mentioned but the agent or the recipient can be inferred from the context. For example, in 6.(2/2) Việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường phải bảo đảm lợi ích của nhà đầu tư, the addresser is inferred to be the agent because the previous sentence states that the addresser shall have to pay or compensate the addressees in the specified case; and in 6.(3) – […] được quyền chuyển ra nước ngoài, it can be constructed from the context as “nhà đầu tư nước ngoài được quyền chuyển ra nước ngoài khoản tiền thanh toán hoặc bồi thường này”.

In the case of implicit participants’ role, the Deontic modality is both explicitly and implicitly expressed, i.e. it is expressed with and without a modal particle respectively.


  • explicit modality:

+ expressing permissions or rights:

in 6.(3): được quyền chuyển ra nước ngoài, the permission can be inferred as being given to the addressees

+ expressing obligations:

in 6.(2/2): việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường phải bảo đảm…, it is the addresser that has to perform this requirement;



  • implicit modality:

+ expressing permissions or rights

+ expressing obligations:

in 6.(2/2): không phân biệt – in this phrase, the modal “được” has been omitted from the phrase “không được”, which denotes an omission of permission; but it can still be interpreted as “Nhà nước không được phân biệt đối xử giữa các nhà đầu tư trong việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường”;

in 6.(4): thể thức, điều kiện theo quy định as well as in 9.(4): thủ tục … theo quy định, the performative verb – theo - without a modal expressing obligation still identifies that it is the addresser that has to perform this requirement;

and in 6.(3): việc thanh toán hoặc bồi thường … được thực hiện as well as in 9.(3): việc chuyển …được thực hiện, the word “được” is not a modal in its normal use. Instead, it is the modal “phải”, which denotes an obligation, that has been omitted. In 6.(3) the obligation is imposed on the addresser and in 9.(3) the addressees.

It can be observed that the Vietnamese text employs both explicit and implicit means to establish rights, permissions and obligations. Sometimes the modal verb is omitted but the sense of permission or obligation is still felt. And when the agent or recipient is missing in the theme but a permission or an obligation is still present, the reader has to infer from the context who the permission or obligation is targeted at.

Another important means in establishing the Deontic modality of the text is the present, non-deictic tense of the verbs, making the provisions applicable to anyone and at anytime.

g. nominalization of verbs. There are two ways a verb can be changed into a noun: by adding a prefix, or an empty word, or by ‘nominalizing’ the verb without changing its form. The nominalized verbs in the text are listed below in terms of the two means:

g.1. Nominalizing by adding an empty word:

6.(2/1): việc trưng mua, trưng dụng; 6.(2/2, 3): việc thanh toán hoặc



bồi thường;

7.( ): việc chuyển giao

9.(1/b): việc cung cấp; 9.(3): việc chuyển (ra nước ngoài)

11.(3): việc bảo đảm (lợi ích), việc thay đổi

In 6.(2/1) and 6.(2/2, 3), the prefix “việc” is only used once but the co-text feature implies that the following word without the prefix is also a nominalized noun.

g.2. Nominalizing without changing the form of the verb:

6.(4): quy định; 7.( ): quy định, sở hữu trí tuệ;

8.(/): (các) quy định; 8.(2): (các) yêu cầu;

9.(1/dd): sở hữu; 9.(4): quy định, quản lý

11.(1): ưu đãi, quy định; 11.(2): quy định, ưu đãi, thu nhập;

11.(3): quy định, cam kết

12.( ): tranh chấp;

12.(1): thương lượng, hoà giải, quy định; 12.(4): thoả thuận, đại diện

All these nouns refer to neither concrete nor abstract objects. They are in fact the products of the process called “grammatical metaphor” [Halliday & Martin], which makes the words nouns grammatically, not lexically, thus making the text ‘nominal’ too. The nominalized verbs are therefore non-objective by nature, referring to the act performed thereby. These non-objective nouns play a large role in bringing about the characteristic of ‘inclusiveness’ for the text. For example, the noun “việc chuyển giao” in 7.( ) is not connected with any specific act of transferring since it does not refer to any specific agent or any specific moment when it is performed or any specific location where it is performed. Instead, it refers to and includes all possible acts of transferring. By making use of this syntactic means, the addresser is not directing at any particular addressee but to all addressees as a whole.

h. frequency of passive structures drawing focus on the acts discussed, which makes the text more impersonal. Passive constructions are found in 6.(1): [vốn, tài sản] bị quốc hữu hoá, bị tịch thu; 6.(2/1): [nhà đầu tư] được thanh toán hoặc [được] bồi thường; 6.(3): [việc thanh toán] được thực hiện; 9.(3): [việc chuyển ra nước ngoài] được thực hiện; 11.(2): [nhà đầu tư] được bảo đảm hưởng các ưu đãi, được giải quyết, được xem xét bồi thường; 12.( ): [tranh chấp] được giải quyết.

Textual means:

a. deliberate attempt to preserve the theme-rheme structure of textual theme – topical theme – rheme in cases where a specification of the circumstances wherein the regulation introduced in the rheme shall apply. This structure of thematisation can be found in the following sentences: 6.(2/1), 6.(3), 8.(/), 9.(1), 10.( ), and 11.(1, 2, 3).

b. deliberate placing of nouns referring to addresser or addressees in the topical theme where it is important to specify the agent or the recipient.

c. use of anaphoric and cataphoric reference to clarify the noun.

In 6.(3): quy định tại khoản 2 Điều này, the reader is instructed to refer back to the previous clause in this same article. In 9.(3), các khoản trên leads the reader back to the sums listed in 9.(1) and 9.(2). In 11.(1) and 11.(2), pháp luật, chính sách đó refer to pháp luật, chính sách that have just been discussed in the theme of the sentences.

The use of cataphoric reference in the following instances signals the listing of cases: 8.(/): các quy định sau đây; ;8.(2): các yêu cầu sau đây; 9.(1): các khoản sau đây; 11.(2): các biện pháp sau; 12.(3): cơ quan, tổ chức sau đây.

d. continuous repetition of nouns referring to the addressees. In the following sentences, a pronoun could have been used to replace nhà đầu tư after it has been introduced therein, but a repetition of the noun is still preferred: 6.(2/1, 2/2), 8.(2), 9.(1), 9.(3), 11.(1), 11.(2), 11.(3) and 12.(4). If taking the text into account as a whole, there are even more cases where the noun nhà đầu tư could have been replaced with a pronoun. There are two likely explanations for this: firstly, as mentioned above, when used in its base form, the noun nhà đầu tư can refer to investors both as individuals or as a group, which makes the text more inclusive. Secondly, the avoidance of a pronoun to replace nhà đầu tư is also to avoid any possible mismatching of the pronoun with any singular or plural noun that it is not replacing.

(4) Social Attitude:

Consistent with the impersonal, distant and authoritative relationship as outlined above, the social attitude of the addresser towards his addressees as reflected on the level of style, is a formal one:


Syntactic means:

a. dominant use of tenseless verbs making the text more objective and factual. There is no basis for establishing the time and location of the acts denoted by the verbs. The sentences are thus stated as facts, the addresser’s tone becomes more imposing;

b. frequency of complex noun phrases with multiple post-modification specifying the head nouns (cf. Social Role Relationship), which adds to the text’s impersonality and abstractness;

c. completeness of clauses (no elliptical clauses); absence of contractions;

d. frequency of [-human] subject noun phrases, passives (cf. Social Role Relationship)

Lexical means:

a. absence of interjections, qualifying modal adverbials and other subjectivity markers;

b. preponderance of words that are formal by nature. These belong to the group of words that originated from Chinese. A few examples are đầu tư, tài sản, hợp pháp, quốc hữu hoá, tịch thu, biện pháp, hành chính, quốc phòng, trưng mua, trưng dụng, thanh toán, bồi thường, công bố, etc. This is a unique characteristic of the Vietnamese language. Due to the history of development of the present day language of Vietnam, this group of Chinese-Vietnamese words always creates a shade of formality.

Textual means:

a. deliberate attempt of the addresser to use the theme-rheme structure of textual theme – topical theme – rheme when there is a need to specify the circumstances in which the provisions shall apply: 6.(2/1, 3), 9.(1, 2), 10.( ), 11.(1, 2, 3).

b. use of passive constructions where an active construction could work equally well: 6.(1, 2/1) and 12.(4).

(5) Province

The text is part of a statute promulgated by the National Assembly of Vietnam on behalf of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to set forth rules to regulate the various aspects of investment activities in Vietnam, and to define the rights and duties of those subject to the law. The language of the text is obviously one of law, with which one usually associates a preciseness, clarity and inclusiveness.



Syntactic means:

a. presence of the Deontic modality signaling rights and permissions granted and obligations imposed (as in Social Role Relationship): modal verbs được, phải, không được

b. use of tenseless verbs making the provisions applicable to any act described regardless of where and when it takes place, as long as it occurs within the territory of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

c. use of multiple modifications in the noun phrases making them extended and more precise and the sentences longer, more difficult to understand.



Lexical means:

a. use of lexical items and collocations typical of the legal field: 6.(1): biện pháp hành chính; 6.(2): trưng mua, trưng dụng, bồi thường, hợp pháp; 6.(3): đồng tiền tự do chuyển đổi; 7.( ): bảo hộ quyền sở hữu trí tuệ, pháp luật về sở hữu trí tuệ, pháp luật có liên quan; 8.(/): điều ước quốc tế; 9.( ): nghĩa vụ tài chính, sở hữu hợp pháp, thu nhập hợp pháp, đồng tiền tự do chuyển đổi, pháp luật về quản lý ngoại hối; 10.( ): giá, phí, lệ phí; 11.( ): hiệu lực, lợi ích hợp pháp, Giấy chứng nhận đầu tư, thu nhập chịu thuế, điều ước quốc tế; 12.( ): tranh chấp, thương lượng, hoà giải, Trọng tài, Toà án, cơ quan quản lý nhà nước, các bên tranh chấp, cơ quan nhà nước có thẩm quyền, điều ước quốc tế.

b. presence of expressions typical of the legal language: 6.(3): quy định tại khoản 2 Điều này, 6.(4), 7.( ), 9.(4), 12.(1): theo quy định của pháp luật, 11.(3): Căn cứ vào quy định của pháp luật và cam kết trong điều ước quốc tế.

Textual means:

a. conventionalized format of the text. Like other statutes of Vietnam, the text has a formulaic multi-level structure: articles – clauses – items. The text’s (chapter’s) title is a brief summary of the content of the whole chapter. Each aspect of the content is presented in one separate article with the article title being one nominal phrase summarizing the content of the provision(s) in the article. Each article is composed of at least one sentence, like articles 7 and 10. When there are two or more coordinate provisions within one article, they are presented as clauses, which are one level lower than the article, as in all other articles except articles 7 and 10. Similarly, a clause may be broken down into several items, as in 8.(2), 9.(1), 11.(2).

b. strong textual coherence: continuous repetition of lexical items, e.g. nhà đầu tư, được, Nhà nước, quy định, pháp luật.

c. deliberate placing of textual themes before topical themes to identify the circumstances of the provisions, which makes the text precise.



2.2.2. Statement of function

The function of the text consisting of the two components – ideational and interpersonal – may be summed up in the following way: the addresser’s intention is (a) to inform the addressees of measures to guarantee their investment activities in Vietnam, i.e. to establish rights, though sometimes obligations, on the part of the addressees and obligations and commitments on the part of the Vietnamese government, as well as to establish guarantees for other issues related to investment activities; (b) to be as authoritative as possible, giving the addressees no chance to protest by setting forth rules that are both precise and inclusive and by being direct.

This summary statement of the text’s function has been derived by an examination of the ways in which the dimensions are marked in this text, and the manner in which they contribute to the two functional components:

On the dimension Medium, the written to be read mode supports the ideational component of the text’s function by facilitating a condensed, uninterrupted and premeditated flow unimpeded by any direct presence of the addressees in the act of communication.

On the dimension Participation, the lack of addressee participation, i.e., the absence of direct addressee involvement, supports the ideational component by making for a linear, non-alternating and premeditated organization of the message. The unfrequent appearance of nouns and pronouns referring to the addresser makes the statements more factual. Thus the addresser becomes more impersonal and authoritative.

On the dimension Social Role Relationship, the impersonality and authoritativeness of the relationship reinforce the ideational component by promoting a transmission of rights and obligations and rules as facts disregarding the political circumstances of addresser and addressee. The same linguistic devices that create the impersonality also support the interpersonal component of the text, e.g. intentional specification of an agent or a recipient or use of verbs to express the Deontic modality.

On the dimension Social Attitude, there is a frequency of complex, abstract noun phrases and impersonal structures, and an exclusive presence of complete, well-planned and well-structured sentences. These provide for an efficiently condensed and objective flow of the message, which supports the ideational component of the text’s function.

On the dimension Province, the ideational component of the text’s function is strongly supported by the use of a highly conventionalized and institutionalized textual format, strong textual coherence the use of words and phrases typical of the legal field, and the use of unmarked verb tense.

CHAPTER 3.

DISCUSSION
3.1. Comparison of Target Text and Source Text

After the ST has been analyzed, the TT is examined under the same set of parameters. Then a profile of the text is made. The comparison between the TT’s profile and the TT’s profile reveals the following mismatches:



(1) Medium:

TT fails to preserve a syntactic discontinuity in 8.(/): Nhà nước bảo đảm thực hiện đối với nhà đầu tư nước ngoài các quy định sau đây # the State shall guarantee to implement the following provisions in respect of foreign investors.

While in ST, there are no pronominal references to the addresser and the addressees, there are, however, some in TT: there are extra pronouns in TT: their in 8.(2/c,dd); its in 8.(2/g), 9.(1, 1/a); it in 9.(1); and his, her in 9.(2). In ST, all these pronouns are implied.

(2) Participation:

TT lacks implied addressee’s participation in 6.(3): [Any compensation or damages] shall be permitted to be remitted abroad # được quyền chuyển ra nước ngoài. The use of the passive in TT changes the recipient of the verb được quyền chuyển from addressee to the money received.

In 6.(4) and 9.(4) in ST, there is only one one-word verb, “theo”, which is often used in combination with another verb to state the basis of the act performed by the verb. In its use in this specific context, the omitted verb is “phải” (tuân theo/ thực hiện theo) – must comply with. TT has reconstructed this verb in two ways: in 6.(4), the verb phrase shall be implemented is added but put in contracted parentheses to show that it is added by the translator, and “theo” is translated as in accordance with. In 9.(4), “theo” is put into shall be subject to. Whereas in ST, the two sentences are isomorphic, in TT they are not.

In TT, the noun “investor”, in contrast with its equivalence in ST, is always clear in terms of number. Yet, this does not hinder TT from being inclusive because even when there is the determiner “an” before investor, the word can still refer to any investor, not to a specific one.



(3) Social Role Relationship

In TT, there is a clarification of number where the nouns are countable, in opposition with in ST. Yet, the translator is not expected to be able to do anything about this because the English language requires that every countable noun be specified in terms of number. Nevertheless, the precision and inclusiveness of TT is not thus impeded.

Noun phrases with post-modifiers are translated in TT in almost the same order, except in the following instances: 8.(1), 8.(2/c), 11.(2), and 12.(4). In 8.(2/c) there is even an unequal translation of the idea: số lượng giá trị tương ứng với số lượng và giá trị hàng hoá xuất khẩu vs. the same quantity and value as goods exported. If the intention of TT is to maintain the noun phrase structure as it is in ST, this phrase could be put as quantity and value corresponding to those of goods exported. The idea in 11.(2) is also mistranslated: các ưu đãi như quy định tại Giấy chứng nhận đầu tư vs. incentives the same as the investment certificate. This can be paraphrased as incentives as provided in the investment certificate. The noun phrase in 12.(4) has been shortened because the head noun has been changed into a verb in the passive voice: (có) thỏa thuận khác trong hợp đồng được ký giữa đại diện cơ quan nhà nước có thẩm quyền với nhà đầu tư nước ngoài – otherwise provided in a contract signed between a representative of a competent State body of Vietnam with the foreign investor.

TT is somehow less committal and less authoritative than ST. All the four timeless performative verbs in ST are rendered into a verbal structure with “shall”: 7.( ) - shall protect intellectual property rights (bảo hộ quyền sở hữu trí tuệ), shall ensure the legitimate rights (bảo đảm lợi ích hợp pháp), 8.(/) - shall guarantee to implement the following provisions […] (bảo đảm thực hiện […] các quy định), and 11.(3) - shall make specific provisions on guarantee for interests (quy định cụ thể về việc bảo đảm lợi ích). The structure with “shall” in legal English is often used to impose obligations, not to express commitments or declarations nor to express intentions. This use of the “shall + verb” structure in TT makes the addresser’s acts more like obligations on the part of the addresser, not commitments. In ST the above four illocutionary acts are more of commitments and declarations.


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