Unlike other discourses, legal discourse should be very simple, straightforward and unambiguous, and so should legal translation. However, legal translation implies multifarious challenges. Though, it is still under-research in the Arab World and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The present article attempts to shed some light on the development of the language of legal texts in the OPT as illustrated in the study of three marriage contracts representing three sporadic periods of time— post-First World War, post-Israeli occupation to Palestine and post-foundation of Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The rationale beyond this selection is that the OPT has witnessed a political upheaval since the First World War, started with British Mandate until 1948, Israeli occupation in 1948 and now the rule of PNA. A thorough investigation into the contracts over these periods of time shows a noticeable development of the language of the contracts in terms of terminologies, structure and cultural components. The article reveals a good affinity between the language employed in the structure of the contracts and the social, economic and political situations when the contracts were written. Translation-wise, the article reflects on sample translations of the contracts by Hatim et al. (1995) with a view to examining the intricacies of legal translation. The findings show how important for legal translator to be well-versed in the language of law and the development of legal discourse diachronically. The article finally draws some conclusions which may be useful for legal translator trainers/trainees.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mohammad_thawabteh/22/