Chinese trade-related aspects and legal sources in the field of business are some of the most studied topics of sinologists from all over the world, representing, along with other spheres of law and together with the language, the key to the reading of a country, of its roots, its culture and of the political framework which governs it. However, although China is no longer the unexplored place it once was, the difficulties of accessing the Chinese language still remain a significant limitation for those who are interested in the Chinese market. Chinese courts have themselves stated that the clarity of language in business decisions and relationships has become increasingly critical in China. The role of the specialised linguist and the sinologist-jurist are therefore of fundamental importance, in bridging the communication gap between market operators and the market itself. There is increasing evidence that it is an inseparable professional combination that necessarily requires cross-knowledge and skills.

From another perspective, we must also remember how the (modern) Chinese legal experience is anything but ancient. It was only in the post-imperial era (early 20th Century) that the process of  ‘legal system building and modernisation’ of the country began, with even greater emphasis in the post-Maoist period of the late ‘70s. This often occurred as a result of the importation of Western legal models. Nevertheless, if and on the one hand, this process involved a modernisation of the legal lexicon, on the other hand it has resulted in the formation of a crude legal language and vocabulary which, in many respects, appear deliberately imprecise. From a linguistic point of view, in fact, the Chinese legislative technique has an extremely young history. Furthermore, the different role that the law plays in society (the hope that the government of man would have the better of the rule of law has always remained alive in China) clearly transpires precisely in the lexical choices, used by the Chinese legislator: ordinary, not very precise and ‘with a high interpretative coefficient’.

There are many ‘courtesy’ translations (unofficial) available to the scholar (whether they be a sinologist, linguist or jurist, a technician in the sector or a market operator) rendered in English, which not infrequently generate misunderstandings, or even problems of mistranslation. This is often a physiological result, which arises from the distance between different legal systems and which leaves room for problems of two orders. First of all, the ‘courtesy’ loans from the English language, bringing with them the origins of the legal tradition of Common Law Systems (of which, from the very beginning, Anglo-American countries are part), do not always offer a terminological correspondence. Furthermore, the regulation of legal concepts and institutions, the technical terminology and conceptual categories of English-speaking countries, belonging to the Common Law Systems, can also be profoundly different.

The Special Issue of Comparative Legilinguistics. International Journal for Legal Communication wants to offer scholars of various disciplines a moment of reflection and an opportunity for a debate on issues relating to both legal Chinese and translation problems from the Chinese language into English (and/or other languages), considering the legal repercussions that may arise.

Among others, the following subjects will be considered for this special issue:

  • The relationship between the Chinese language and business laws of the People's Republic of China (PRC);
  • The contemporary role of Chinese language in Chinese lawmaking activity (focused mainly on business policies);
  • What language says about trade aspects in and with China;
  • Legal Chinese lexicon and translation issues;
  • The relationship between Chinese and English in translating law.

Submissions following these themes as well as other possible ways of analysis related to the above topics will be welcomed. Abstracts of 500 words (max.) should be submitted by May 15th, 2022 --> EXTENDED TILL June 20th, 2022 to f.monti2@unimc.it (please use as subject head “Abstract for special Issue of IJLC”) with decisions made by July 1rst, 2022.

Articles should be no longer than 15,000 words (including footnotes, summary, references etc.).

The deadline for full papers is: December 15th, 2022.