Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

Translating the ICDR Int'l Rules into Other Languages

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

Translating the ICDR Int'l Rules into Other Languages

Article excerpt


While much international business is being conducted in English, a greater percentage takes place in other languages. Even if a contract for a crossborder transaction is written in English, you can be sure that much of it was negotiated in the language of the place where the project is located. For these reasons, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) formed a Translation Committee in July 2007 to coordinate the process of translating the ICDR International Mediation and Arbitration Rules into several languages. The goal is to provide a consistent set of translations in order to promote the knowledge and use of these rules worldwide.

The ICDR determined that the members of the Translation Committee should be highly diverse (not only in terms of their nationality and language fluency, but also in practical experience); and sensitive to (and have a good understanding of) different legal traditions. This was necessary to ensure that the letter and spirit of the ICDR rules would be accurately conveyed to users with varied legal backgrounds.

The individuals invited to sit on that committee are Michelangelo Cicogna (Studio Legale De Berti Jacchia Milan office), Jessica Fei (Wong Partnership, Shanghai), Mauricio Gomm dos Santos (Buchanan Ingerson & Rooney, Miami), Jean-Pierre Harb (Baker & McKenzie, Paris office), Alexis Mourre (Castaldi Mourre et Partners, Paris office), Thomas Pieper (Chadbourne & Park L.L.P., New York Office), author Aníbal Sabater, and two members of the ICDR (Christian Alberti and author Steven K. Andersen). Additional committee members are expected to be appointed to assist with the preparation of new translations.

More than 15 senior international arbitration practitioners, including several ICDR representatives, have been assisting the committee, either by providing initial draft translations or revising and commenting on those already existing.

The ICDR had previously translated the International Arbitration and Mediation Rules into Portuguese and Spanish. It had also translated the Arbitration Rules into Chinese. Since changes have been made to the ICDR rules since these translations were released, the Translation Committee updated these translations, making them consistent with the current rules. In June, the ICDR released the updated translations by posting them on the ICDR Web site (www.icdr. org). The committee has also completed first time translations of the arbitration and mediation rules into Arabic, French, German and Italian. The French translation has been finalized and is available on the ICDR Web site. It has not yet been determined when or if the ICDR rules will be translated into other languages.

Having the ICDR rules translated into so many languages is a major achievement for an arbitration institution. It allows the business and ADR communities where these languages are spoken to read the rules themselves and learn about mediation and arbitration at the ICDR. However, the availability of these translations does not alter the fact that the English version of the ICDR rules remains the official text for questions of interpretation.

In preparing new translations and translation updates, the committee and those assisting it have been guided by four overriding considerations. First, the translations must be userfriendly and preserve as much as possible the agile style of the original. Thus, concise sentences are preferred to wordier alternatives.

Second, following the example set in the original version of the ICDR rules, translators have been cautioned to avoid using concepts too closely associated with the civil or common law tradition and to use terms that would be understandable without regard to the reader's legal tradition.

The third consideration was to make the translations as dialect-neutral as possible. Dialect-neutrality was particularly hard to achieve with the Portuguese translation, since sharp distinctions exist between Portuguese as spoken in Portugal and Brazil. …

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