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《中华人民共和国合同法》部分条款英语译文研究2
 
原文:法律、行政法规规定采用书面形式的,应当采用书面形式。当事人约定采用书面形式的,应当采用书面形式。
 
原译:Where the laws or administrative regulations require the contract to be concluded in written form, the contract shall be in written form. If the parties agree to do so, the contract shall be concluded in written form.
 
拟译:The contract shall be in writing if a relevant law or administrative regulation so requires. The contract shall be in writing if the parties have so agreed.
 
解释:
1.(简洁)原译比较罗嗦。
2.(句法)最好把从句后置。
3.(where/if)在法律英语中where可以表示if; in the case of; in the event that。同样的的意思,原译文一处用了where,一处用了if,反映了原译者对这两个词的用法捉摸不定的心理。此处可以任选一个。
 
原文:第十一条书面形式是指合同书、信件和数据电文(包括电报、电传、传真、电子数据交换和电子邮件)等可以有形地表现所载内容的形式。
 
原译:Article 11The written forms mean the forms which can show the described content visibly, such as a written contractual agreement, letters, and data-telex (including telegram, telex, fax, EDI and e-mails).
 
拟译:"Writing" means a form that is capable of expressing the content therein in tangible form, such as a written contract, a letter, or a data message (including telegram, telex, facsimile, electronic data interchange (EDI) and electronic mail).
 
解释:
1.(选词)“数据电文”译为data-telex(或datatelex)想必是原译者查不出而杜撰出来的。其实如果能够查出这段话的出处问题便迎刃而解。
2.(例证)UNCITRAL Article 2(a): "Data message" means information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic, optical or similar means including, but not limited to, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram, telex or telecopy;
 
原文:第十二条合同的内容由当事人约定,一般包括以下条款:
 
原译:Article 12The contents of a contract shall be agreed upon by the parties, and shall contain the following clauses in general:
 
拟译:The content of a contract is determined by the parties and generally includes the following:
 
解释:
1.(滥用)如果说shall be determined 还不至于造成大的误解的话,那么shall contain the following clauses 就大错特错了:就是说每个合同都必须包括以下内容,否则的话,如果产生争议,法院可能会以合同没有包含某些内容为理由,宣布合同无效,使得受害人的合同利益无法得到保护。
2.(例证)UNIDROIT: Article 1.1 - Freedom of Contract: The parties are free to enter into a contract and determine its content.
 
原文:(一)当事人的名称或者姓名和住所;
 
原译:(1)title or name and domicile of the parties;
 
拟译:(1)names and domiciles of the parties.
 
解释:
1.(省略)“名称”和“姓名”在汉语中分别指组织和人的名字,英语中用一个name即可表示两个意思。
2.(单复数)合同中不可能只有一方当事人,所以name和 domicile均应用复数。
 
原文:(二)标的;
 
原译:(2) contract object;
 
拟译:(2) subject matter;
 
解释:(选词)contract: …Its [a contract's] essentials are competent parties, subject matter, a legal consideration… (Black's Law Dictionary)
 
原文:(三)数量;(四)质量;(五)价款或者报酬;
 
原译:(3) quantity; (4) quality; (5) price or remuneration;
 
拟译:不变
 
原文:(六)履行期限、地点和方式;
 
原译:(6) time limit, place and method of performance;
 
拟译:time, place and method of performance;
 
解释:
1.(选词)“履行的期限”即“履行的时间”:time of performance
2.(例证)UNIDROIT: Article 6.1.1 - Time of Performance
3.(选词)Time limit指时间限制:UNIDROIT: Article 3.15 - Time Limits: (1) Notice of avoidance shall be given within a reasonable time, having regard to the circumstances, after the avoiding party knew or could not have been unaware of the relevant facts or became capable of acting freely.
 
原文:(七)违约责任;(八)解决争议的方法。
 
原译:(7) liability for breach of contract; and (8) methods to settle disputes.
 
拟译:不变
 
原文:当事人可以参照各类合同的示范文本订立合同。
 
原译:The parties may conclude a contract by reference to the model text of each kind of contract.
 
拟译:The parties may conclude a contract by referring to a model contract of relevant category.
 
解释:(表述不当)原文的意思是订立一个合同可以参照相应的示范文本,不是参照所有的合同示范文本。所以each kind of contract不十分妥当。
 
原文:第十三条当事人订立合同,采取要约、承诺方式。
 
原译:Article 13The parties may conclude a contract in the form of an offer and acceptance.
 
拟译:A contract is concluded through an offer-acceptance mechanism.
 
解释:
1.(may)原文没有说“可以”采取“邀约、承诺方式”,may表示可以选择这样做,改变了原文的意思。
2.(表述不当)一般而言,一方发出邀约,另一方作出承诺,合同就成立了。但许多合同是经过一次又一次的讨价还价才达成的,邀约和承诺往往很难分清,译为offer and acceptance给人以一次邀约和一次承诺的印象,不如译为an offer-acceptance mechanism概括性强。
3.(省略)“拟译”中省略了“当事人”,因为意思是不言而喻的。
4.(滥用)“你一”中没有用shall,因为也是平铺直叙的语言。
5.(例证)UNIDROIT: Article 2.1 - Manner of Formation: A contract may be concluded either by the acceptance of an offer or by conduct of the parties that is sufficient to show agreement.这里用may,是在either…or…中任选一个。《合同法》中只有一个选项,当然要把may be 变为is。
 
原文:第十四条要约是希望和他人订立合同的意思表示,该意思表示应当符合下列规定:
 
(一)容具体确定;
(二)表明经受要约人承诺,要约人即受该意思表示约束。
 
原译:Article 14An offer is a proposal hoping to enter into a contract with other parties. The proposal shall comply with the following stipulations:
(1) Its contents shall be detailed and definite;
(2) It indicates the proposal of the offeror to be bound in case of acceptance.
 
拟译:An offer is an indication of intention to enter into a contract with another party. It shall:
(1) be specific and definite;
(2)indicate the intention of the offeror to be bound in case of acceptance.
 
解释:
1.译文可以更加正规严谨。意思表示应当翻译出来。
2.(例证)“意思表示”:CISG: Article 24 :For the purposes of this Part of the Convention, an offer, declaration of acceptance or any other indication of intention "reaches" the addressee when it is made orally to him or delivered by any other means to him personally, to his place of business or mailing address or, if he does not have a place of business or mailing address, to his habitual residence.
3.(例证)UNIDROIT: Article 2.2 - Definition of Offer:A proposal for concluding a contract constitutes an offer if it is sufficiently definite and indicates the intention of the offeror to be bound in case of acceptance.
4.(例证)CISG: PART II. FORMATION OF THE CONTRACT:Article 14:(1) A proposal for concluding a contract addressed to one or more specific persons constitutes an offer if it is sufficiently definite and indicates the intention of the offeror to be bound in case of acceptance. A proposal is sufficiently definite if it indicates the goods and expressly or implicitly fixes or makes provision for determining the quantity and the price.
 
原文:第十五条要约邀请是希望他人向自己发出要约的意思表示。寄送的价目表、拍卖公告、招标公告、招股说明书、商业广告等为要约邀请。
 
原译:Article 15An invitation for offer is a proposal for requesting other parties to make offers to the principal. Price forms mailed, public notices of auction and tender, prospectuses and commercial advertisements, etc. are invitations for offer.
 
拟译:An invitation for offer is an indication of intention to invite others to make offers. A delivered catalogue, an announcement of auction, a call for tender, a prospectus, or a commercial advertisement, among other things, is an invitation for offer.
 
解释:
1.(选词)比照上一条翻译。对一些用词作了调整。
2.(例证)邀约的其他定义:CISG: Article 14(2): A proposal other than one addressed to one or more specific persons is to be considered merely as an invitation to make offers, unless the contrary is clearly indicated by the person making the proposal.
 
原文:商业广告的内容符合要约规定的,视为要约。
 
原译:Where the contents of a commercial advertisement comply with the terms of the offer, it may be regarded as an offer.
 
拟译:A commercial advertisement is considered an offer if its contents meet the requirements of an offer.
 
解释:(简洁)句子不够简洁;(may)may用错。
 
原文:第十六条要约到达受要约人时生效。
 
原译:Article 16An offer becomes effective when it reaches the offeree.
 
拟译:不变
 
解释:
1. (例证)1: UNIDROIT: Article 2.3 - Withdrawal of Offer: (1) An offer becomes effective when it reaches the offeree.
2. (例证)2:CISG: Article 15 (1) An offer becomes effective when it reaches the offeree.
 
原文:采用数据电文形式订立合同,收件人指定特定系统接收数据电文的,该数据电文进入该特定系统的时间,视为到达时间;未指定特定系统的,该数据电文进入收件人的任何系统的首次时间,视为到达时间。
 
原译:If a contract is concluded by means of data-telex, and a recipient appoints a specific system to receive the datatelex, the time when the data-telex enters the system shall be the time of arrival; if no specific system is appointed, the time when the data-telex first enters any of the recipient's systems shall be regarded as the time of arrival.
 
拟译: Where data messages are used in the formation of a contract, if the addressee has designated an information system for the purpose of receiving data messages, arrival occurs at the time when the data message enters the designated information system; if the addressee has not designated an information system, arrival occurs when the data message first enters any of the information systems of the addressee.
 
解释:
1.(选词)data-telex, datatelex变为 data messages; recipient变为addressee
2.(冠词) a recipient变为the addressee.
3.(句子结构)两个假设结构不对称: (如果)收件人指定特定系统…(if) a recipient appoints a specific system…(用的主动句);(如果收件人)未指定特定系统…if no specific system is appointed…(用的被动句)
4.(时态)假定句中如果用完成时态更能表现动作发生在前。
5.shall的用法
6.在原文基础上的更正: Where a contract is concluded by exchange of data messages, if the addressee has appointed a specific system to receive the data message, the time when the data message enters the system is the time of arrival; if no specific system has been appointed, the time when the data message first enters any of the addressee's systems is regarded as the time of arrival.
7.(例证) UNCITRAL: Article 15.Time and place of dispatch and receipt of data messages: (2)Unless otherwise agreed between the originator and the addressee, the time of receipt of a data message is determined as follows:
(a) if the addressee has designated an information system for the purpose of receiving data messages, receipt occurs:
(i) at the time when the data message enters the designated information system; or
(ii) if the data message is sent to an information system of the addressee that is not the designated information
system, at the time when the data message is retrieved by the addressee;
(b) if the addressee has not designated an information system, receipt occurs when the data message enters an information system of the addressee.
 
 
从以上的对比分析可以看出,《合同法》译文中的问题涉及术语的选择、句子结构、意思的表述、shall、may、where/if、and/or等词的用法、名词单复数,以及语法和漏译、多译等问题。解决这些问题的主要办法除了要具备扎实的英语基本功,多查辞典之外,还有一个重要的方法就是参照国外现成的立法。国外相关的立法不仅可以提供我们难以确定的词汇,在很多情况下国内立法就是直接采用国外立法的条文,这是中国的立法与世界接轨的表现,也给我们翻译提供了便利的条件,使我们可以直接采用国外立法的原文,而没有必要另起炉灶。这样可以避免因译文与国外相关条文措辞不一致而可能造成的意思上的误解,同时也增强了我们自己对译文质量的信心。
 
对于不一定学过法律的译员来说,如何找到国外相关的法律条文,从哪里入手,都不是一件简单的事情。一般来说,一项新的立法通过之后,都有很多相关的书籍出版发行,可以从这里获得必要的线索。在确定了参照国外哪些法律之后,就可以着手寻找这些法律。除了常规的上图书馆和书店查找之外,在网络通讯日益发达的今天,网上查询成为一个方便快捷的手段。本文所依赖的国际立法都是从网上查到的。
参考文献
 
[1]《中华人民共和国合同法》(中英文对照),Li Shishi等翻译,中国法制出版社,1999年3月
[2]《中华人民共和国合同法与国外有关合同规定条文对照》,全国人大常委会法制工作委员会民法室编,姚红主编,法律出版社,1999年4月
[3]《中华人民共和国合同法立法资料选编》,全国人大常委会法制工作委员会民法室编,孙礼海主编,法律出版社,1999年3月
[4]《中华人民共和国合同法释义》,全国人大常委会法制工作委员会民法室编,胡康生主编,法律出版社,1999年4月
[5]《法窗译话》陈忠诚著,中国对外翻译出版公司,1992年5月
[6]《英汉法律用语正误辨析》,陈忠诚著,法律出版社,1998年4月
[7]《英汉大词典》陆谷孙主编,上海译文出版社,1993年8月
[8]《联合国贸易委员会电子商业示范法》(UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce)1996
[9]《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》(United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods)
[10]《商事合同通则》(UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts)
[11]Black's Law Dictionary, fifth edition, by Henry Campbell Black, West Publishing Co., United States, 1979
[12]Chinese Contract Law Forum at www.cclaw.net.
 
[1] 本文的主要内容发表在2001年第4期《上海科技翻译》。发表时的题目为《利用网络资源修改合<同法译>文的一次尝试》。