“Mistranslations?” includes examples of what I believe may be considered mistranslations that I have encountered over a twenty-five year period while working as a legal translator and teacher of legal English in Spain. Some may be actual mistranslations, while others are perhaps all-too-literal renderings of expressions that may have sufficiently close counterparts (“functional equivalents”) in the other language. Still others are translations that may simply not be accurate in the context in which they originally appeared.
Aforado has often been translated simply as “privileged” or “person entitled to privileges,” while aforamiento has sometimes been inappropriately rendered as “grant of parliamentary immunity.” Neither are really accurate translations, since in Spanish law aforamiento specifically refers to one’s being subject to a given “forum” or “venue” (fuero), and the fact that aforados have the privilege of being tried in a specific court. As an example, senadores, diputados and ministros are aforados in the sense that if prosecuted for a criminal offense, their court of original jurisdiction (tribunal competente en primera instancia) is the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court (Sala Segunda del Tribunal Supremo), rather than a first instance criminal court that would try an ordinary citizen accused of criminal wrongdoing.
For more on aforamiento and how “parliamentary immunity” may be expressed in Spanish see tomorrow’s post on inviolabilidad; inmunidad; aforamiento.