IT tools for sharing Legal Information

There is a growing demand for sharing legal information of Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan (the countries of Chinese ideograms). This project will develop full-scale standard translation dictionaries (STD) of these four countries and link them for cross reference.
The project will promote joint research on various topics and produce useful annotations about relevant statutes, cases and social information. In order to achieve deeper understanding of legal information and to encourage more sophisticated study of comparative law, three conditions are essential:
(1) development of STDs that will help consistent translation,
(2) effective link of STDs and
(3) inclusive information about legislation, cases, and contextual information about each state, society, history, culture and social reality.
The project has already developed a tool to display aligned legal text in two languages and a work flow to develop STD from the statutory texts.
Development of STDs will be promoted based on MOU between the project and the Ministry of Government Legislation, Korea, and National Chung Cheng Univ. of Taiwan.
An extended comparison of STDs will clarify similarities and differences of basic legal concepts represented by Chinese ideograms. It will lead to more precise comparison of laws in Asian countries and will produce deeper understanding of Asian laws.
Proposed comparative study of law assisted by IT tools is a first attempt in Asia and will contribute to harmonization of legal concepts in Asia, particularly in countries of Chinese ideograms.

Collection of Data for Sophisticated Translation Dictionary

The development of Japanese law was and is under the influence of foreign laws. The project began digitalization of Japanese translation of European laws during the late-19th century. This is to trace historical development of translated legal concepts in Japanese. The Japanese translation of the Napoleon Civil Code in 19th century was digitalized in two languages.
The Boassonade Draft of the Japanese Civil Code was digitalized and made public in PDF format.
The minutes of legislative process to amend the Old Civil Code to produce the New Civil Code in the late 19th century were digitalized and the work to link the data to each provision is on-going.
This work provides more detailed information about Japanese law for comparative study.

The project digitalized the Official Gazette (English edition) of post-war Japan and the result was published in PDF format.
Commentaries on The Constitiution of The Empire of Japan was published in PDF format.
The refined data will be used to improve the quality and content of the standard translation dictionary of the Japanese Law Translation Database System of the Ministry of Justice.

Developing a System for Plain Legal Drafting

Legal text is widely perceived as “hard to read” or “abstruse.” If we translate abstruse Japanese legal text into English, we will not be able to achieve global sharing of legal information in plain language. The European Union practices translation of its laws into all languages of member countries. Their manuals for plain legal drafting and sophisticated translation system are very inspiring. The project will attempt to develop an environment, learning from the experience of the EU.



Collaboration with Comparative Law Researcher

From the viewpoint of the comparative law, we will experimentally construct a human network of legal professionals for mutual communication at the right time and IT base for supporting this network.

Translation Training for Students

The Japanese government provides translation of Japanese laws. But human resource which can translate Japanese law into English is far enough.
In order to develop the human resources, we are trying to train students. For translating laws, translators must understand the meaning of the law, and represent its contents with consideration for foreign cultures.
Therefore, this training program contains not only training of a general skill for translation but also skills for understanding the laws appropriately and making an accurate survey of legal information. We also provide a detailed explanation of legal systems in other countries.
Furthermore we provide a translation environment, including Bilingual KWIC®. We are sure that students will be able to make good translation in short-term training if they use these tools effectively. In addition, we ask native speakers to check the students’ translation and back the results of check to them for making the training more effective.