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合同语言以及文本条款翻译技巧

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文章来源:北京中慧言翻译公司 发布时间:2019-02-15 09:28:42  编辑人员:凤凰涅槃

  • 摘要:  合同语言以及文本条款翻译技巧,我跟我妈的对话是反的。我:妈,你最近身体怎么样?钱还够花吗?还开心吗?我妈:身体又不行了,前天又感冒了……我:去看医生了吗?记得吃

  •   合同语言以及文本条款翻译技巧,我跟我妈的对话是反的。我:妈,你最近身体怎么样?钱还够花吗?还开心吗?我妈:身体又不行了,前天又感冒了……我:去看医生了吗?记得吃药啊!要不要我来看看你啊?我妈:不用!!!我一个人很舒服,不喜欢别人打扰!生活很难,还会更难,那又怎样,即使遍体鳞伤也要活的漂亮,一直往好的方面伪装下去,结果就成真的了,这也是一种幸福。即便哭了、难过了,放在心里的不痛快,他们也能看得见,所以对他们我已经不隐瞒了。想哭就哭吧,但是微信回复别人的时候依旧打着哈哈哈哈~

    合同语言以及文本条款翻译技巧

      措辞严谨的合同条款翻译是英语翻译中的一大难点。今天,中慧言翻译公司从典型条款、关键词、条款内容解析等方面向您简单介绍一下合同语言与文本条款的写作和翻译吧。

      合同翻译

      典型条款及例句

      This Contract and all appendices hereto shall be written in Chinese and English in duplicate. Each Party shall hold three (3) original copies of each version. Both versions are equally authentic.

      This Agreement shall be written in both English and Chinese. If there is any conflict between the English and Chinese versions,the English version shall prevail.

      The parties hereby covenant and agree that this Agreement is executed and delivered in both English and Chinese,and that in the event of any discrepancy between the two versions,the English version shall prevail.

      This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts and they shall have the same effect as if the signatures on the counterparts were on a single copy of the Agreement.(范文祥、吴怡,2008:232)

      This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts,each of which will be deemed an original of this Agreement,and which together will constitute one and the same instrument. Neither Party will be bound to this Agreement unless and until both Parties have executed a counterpart.(范文祥、吴怡,2008:232)

      This Agreement is executed in English only,and the executed English language Agreement shall prevail in all cases. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts,each of which shall constitute one and the same agreement,and by facsimile or electronic signature.

      This Agreement is signed in_____ originals,with each of equally binding force,and the Parties shall each keep______ originals. This Agreement is made in both Chinese and English. In case of any dispute as to the interpretation,the English version shall prevail.

      This contract is made out in duplicate in Chinese and in English language,one Chinese original copy and one English original copy for each Party,both texts being equally authentic. This contract shall come into force from the date it is signed by the authorized representatives of both parties. The annexes as listed in Article 10 shall form an integral part to this Contract .Any amendment and/or supplement to this contract will be valid only after the authorized representatives of both parties have signed written documents,forming integral parts of the Contract.(王相国,2008:93)

      All notices,demands,requests,statements or other communications to be made or given by the Borrower hereunder shall be in the English language. Any documents other than financial statements required to be delivered pursuant to this Agreement which are not in the English language must be accompanied by a certified English translation thereof and in the event of any conflict between the original of the document and the English language translation thereof,the English language translation shall for all purposes be deemed to be the correct and controlling version.(王辉,2008:96)

      关键词解说

      “签订合同”——合同语言与文本条款的核心是合同用何种语言拟就及签订,其关键词无疑是“写”和“签”。其实,这两个貌似不同的词在该条款中属于同一概念,至少在英文合同中是这样的,即“签订”。合同用中文撰写,用英文签订,或反之,几乎是不可能的,尽管签名者可能只签中文名或英文名,甚至法文名。所以,尽管在英文中“签订” 有很多不同的表达方式,翻译成中文时——虽然也有“拟就”“签署”“签订”等词语,但实质上都只有一个概念:使合同生效。为此,除了经授权人士在合同上签名外,往往还需盖上公司印章,并把已签名的文本提交给对方。这个过程可能涉及返签,即乙方(合同的起草方)先在若干份合同上签字、盖章后,全部寄给甲方;甲方签字、盖章后,除留下给甲方自己的合同正本外,将约定份数的合同通过挂号邮件寄送或亲自提交给乙方。在以上典型例句中,表达该概念的句式有:

      This Contract and all appendices hereto shall be written in Chinese and English;

      This Agreement is executed and delivered in both English and Chinese;

      This Agreement is executed in English only;

      This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts;

      This Agreement is signed in___ originals;and

      This Agreement is made in both Chinese and English.

      上述例句中特别要引起对法律概念比较陌生的读者注意的是execute一词,它不但指签署,还指盖印并将文本递交给对方负责人以使合同正式生效。虽然有时合同作者会额外使用一个 be delivered的词,但其实真正懂英文法律概念的人都知道 be executed 已经包含这层意思,多用一个be delivered 虽然不怎么画蛇添足(就普通英文而言,似乎还挺有逻辑、自然),但在一般情况下可以推断出作者对法律英文中execute这个词的含义缺乏足够的认识。

      随着科技进步,签立合同的方式也与时俱进:(1)传统的方式当然是双方代表亲力亲为,举行签字仪式,交换文本,握手言欢;(2)后来是返签、挂号信寄回;(3)再后来是使用传真方式将签名后的合同文本传回给对方,(4)而目前开始流行以电子方式签署合同。但事实上,以上四种签立合同的方法都在使用。重大合同,尤其是国与国之间的合作项目或大额交易,常采用第一种最传统的方式,有时甚至由外访的国家领导人亲自签署。当然,这类合同的签订,除了经济上的实质意义外,更主要是政治上和外交上的象征性意义。以上第四种方法在合同条款中是这样写的:

      This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts,each of which shall constitute one and the same agreement,and by facsimile or electronic signature.

      由上述例句还可以看出,合同的有效文本可以有多个(in one or more counterparts)。又如:

      This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts and they shall have the same effect as if the signatures on the counterparts were on a single copy of the Agreement.

      这个例句强调的是合同可以有多个副本,而且各个副本都跟正本同样有效,但条件是这个副本上的签字必须与正本上的签字一致(signatures on the counterparts were on a single copy of the Agreement) 。

      除了上述签署合同的概念之外,写作这一条款还牵涉的其他概念有:

      合同何时生效: come into force from the date...(自……之日起生效);

      合同效力:be equally authentic同等效力 / have equally binding force。同等法律效力——读者所熟悉的validity一词倒不在此处使用。

      合同翻译公司

      条款内容解析

      “语言与文本”这部分内容相对其他通用条款而言,形式较为单一,内容相对简单、固定。从第1部分10段例句中可以看出,该条款一般包括如下三个主要方面的内容:

      首先,指出该合同或协议(及其附件)以何种语言拟就或订立,一式几份。一般表达方式包括:This Contract/Agreement shall be written/executed and delivered/made out in (language) in (duplicate/...);

      例1.

      This Agreement is executed in English only,and the executed English language Agreement shall prevail in all cases.

      例2.

      This Agreement is made in both Chinese and English.

      例3.

      This Contract and all appendices hereto shall be written in Chinese and English in duplicate.

      例4.

      This Agreement shall be written in both English and Chinese.或 This Agreement is executed and delivered in both English and Chinese.

      例5.

      This contract is made out in duplicate in Chinese and in English language,one Chinese original copy and one English original copy for each Party,both texts being equally authentic.

      除例1之外,以上各条均阐明合同用双语拟就或签订。就条款的语言表述而言,例3、4均在滥用法律英语中的情态动词shall。如果这样的表述出现在相关法律条文中,如民法或合同法,那是可以接受的,因为法律规定合同应当用何种语言拟订;但此处在陈述本合同的一种状态或已经发生的状态:该合同是用何种语言拟订的,所以用一般现在式表达比较妥当。当然,除本合同和附件外,还有其他一些后续文件,如通知、财务报表之类的,该用何种语言制订则可用以下句式来表达:

      例6.

      All notices,demands,requests,statements or other communications to be made or given by the Borrower hereunder shall be in the English language.

      例7.

      Any documents other than financial statements required to be delivered pursuant to this Agreement which are not in the English language must be accompanied by a certified English translation thereof.

      毫无疑问,以上表述就语言而言已有些过时。可以更简明地写成:

      All communications,including notices,demands,requests,statements,etc.to be made or given by the parties shall be in the English language.以及Any documents other than financial statements required to be delivered under this Agreement which are not in the English language must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

      其次,为述明文本的效力,一般会在条款中指出两个版本具有同等法律效力,表达方式包括: both versions/each version are/is equally authentic /have the same effect;

      例8. Both versions are equally authentic.

      例9. This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts and they shall have the same effect as if the signatures on the counterparts were on a single copy of the Agreement.

      再次,如果要规定在两个或多个文本或版本出现内容不一致或冲突的情形下应以哪个版本为准,标准的表达方式为:If there is any conflict between English and Chinese versions/ in the event of any discrepancy between two versions/ in case of any dispute,the English version shall prevail/ shall be deemed to be the correct and controlling version.其实,例8的写法貌似公正,两个版本同具法律效力,实际上在发生内容不一致的情形下,该条款是相当令其中一方头痛的,有时甚至是劳民伤财的,因为“公说公有理,婆说婆有理”,各执己见是不能解决问题的,最后可能为此而闹到 “公堂对簿” 。依笔者之见,应该以起草合同时的主要用语为准,这样在发生分歧时就会有据可依,因为翻译必然有词不达意的时候,也不可能保证百分百正确。

      例10.If there is any conflict between the English and Chinese versions,the English version shall prevail.

      例11.In the event of any discrepancy between the two versions,the English version shall prevail.

      例12.In case of any dispute as to the interpretation,the English version shall prevail.

      例13.In the event of any conflict between the original of the document and the English language translation thereof,the English language translation shall for all purposes be deemed to be the correct and controlling version.

      以哪个文本或版本为准条款的表述一般都采用典型的法律条件句句型: 条件部分的引导词为 if,in the event that (of) 或者in case (of)。笔者更倾向使用例10的句式,但conflict和 dispute在此语境中并非是最合适的,更恰当的应当用discrepancy(分歧)。两个版本有分歧,才会产生争端(dispute),或引起冲突或矛盾(conflict)。再说,in the event that (of) 是个长词,可以用一个短短的if 解决,没有必要用一个冗长的词组,表达一个极为普通、通常都会发生的概念;况且,后者一般都用来引导发生“大事件”或特别不幸的事件(李克兴,2013)。

      所以,表达这个概念更合理的句式应该这样: If there is any discrepancy between the English and Chinese versions,the English version shall prevail.当然,in case of discrepancy 的表达方式也可以接受,一则可以丰富表达形式,另则也符合条件句引导词 in case that (of) 的用法特点:主要表达不常发生的状况;同一合同的不同语言的文本产生分歧,当然是偶发状况 (李克兴,2008)。

      还值得注意的是,以上表述是在20世纪末中国对外改革开放、希望多多益善地吸引外资和使产品打进国际市场的特殊历史时期、带点“委曲求全”的条款用语,因此,即使合同签署地是在中国,也不得不把非母语文本作为具有更高地位的“统治文本”(controlling version);以后,随着中国国力的逐渐增强,中国产品在国际市场上地位的提高,这一条的说法有所改变,这就是两种版本同时有效的写法:This contract is made out in duplicate in Chinese and in English language,one Chinese original copy and one English original copy for each Party,both texts being equally authentic.近年,也曾出现 “If there is any discrepancy between the Chinese and English versions,the Chinese version shall prevail” 的写法。对于这类写法,笔者持有异议,详见下文“推荐条款”中的解析。

      合同翻译公司

      其他附加内容及特殊条款

      保险公司、医疗服务业、律师行、投资公司等等,在客户向其购买产品或服务时,根据有关监管条例或法律必须向客户提供翻译服务——至少他们有义务不能让客户对其出售的产品完全地莫名其妙。他们撰写的产品介绍或销售条款其实构成其与客户之间合同的一部分。因此向他们提供翻译服务是避免日后被诉讼的必要的预防措施(“已把丑话说在前”),所以这一部分是某些公司合同中的语言与文本条款的内容之一,只是写法上与上文介绍的普通合同中的语言与文本条款有所不同而已。试看以下保险公司保单中的有关条款:

      INSURER is required to provide oral translation services of information to any Enrollee who speaks any non-English language regardless of whether an Enrollee speaks a language that meets the threshold of a prevalent non-English language. INSURER is required to notify Enrollees of the availability of oral interpretation services and to inform them of how to access such services. There shall be no charge to Enrollee for translation services. INSURER shall make all written materials available in English,Chinese,and all other appropriate foreign languages.

      Each Party shall hold three (3) original copies of each version.

      保险公司要为非以英语为母语的客户(不管其英语是否达到相应的水准)提供有关保险业务的口译服务。保险公司要告知投保人有此口译服务以及如何获得服务。服务是免费的。除此之外,保险公司提供给这类客户的书面资料必须是双语的。

      推荐条款

      This Agreement and all its appendices (if any) is executed in English,and the Chinese version is a translation. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese versions,the English version shall prevail. All communications,including notices,demands,requests,statements,etc.to be made or given by the parties in performing the Agreement shall also be in the English language. If they are not originally in English,a certified English translation shall be accompanied.

      This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts and they shall have the same effect as if the signatures on the counterparts were on a single copy of the Agreement.

      这么明白的“白话”英文,其实已经不需要任何英文译文了。当然,感性上,笔者非常赞成合同以中文文本为准、或者两种文本具有同等效力的较平等的措辞;但理性上,如果合同是用英文撰写的,仍然应以英文文本为准(也许此“媚说”二十年之后不再成立),因为经济领域或生意辞令跟政治领域或外交辞令(那是在传递“国家的立场”)毕竟有别,况且要让老外真正读懂中文合同谈何容易。在经贸领域,为了不弄巧成拙,方便交流以使合同顺利执行,对强势的英文语言还应表示应有的尊重。做成生意,在经济领域的得益其实就是最大的政治。


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