Translating and interpreting human rights: a task for legal or linguistic specialists?

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Chuhmatova, Yulia
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International human rights conventions are always drafted in national (legal) languages that have an official status in international organisations, which means that the universal language of human rights is always expressed through national languages. The present study addresses in practical terms two basic conflicts that lie in the understanding of the universal language of human rights. The first conflict is of legal character and is based on discrepancies that exist between national legal systems and the international legal system of human rights. The second conflict is founded on discrepancies between domestic legal languages and the international (universal) language of human rights. This study analyses the language of human rights codified in international human rights conventions on the basis of these two conflicts. The language of human rights is a specialised language, and there are two professions in which people work with it in international organisations, legal experts and translators. Therefore, analysing the work of these professions in the international environment is particularly pertinent for understanding how the universal language of human rights is created and applied. This is an interdisciplinary study that combines aspects of law, linguistics, translation and politics in the attempt to examine how these fields affect the development of human rights language together with its use and translation.
Second semester University: Lund University.
human rights, international law, language, national law, translating and interpreting, translation