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Humanities 2014, 3(3), 313-339; doi:10.3390/h3030313
Article

(Re)interpreting Human Rights: The Case of the “Torture Memos” and their Translation into Italian

Department of Economics and Enterprise (DEIM), University of La Tuscia, Via del Paradiso 47, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 19 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 July 2014 / Published: 30 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translation as the Foundation for Humanistic Investigations)
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Abstract

The language of human rights can prove as difficult to define as it is to determine its boundaries as a legal discipline and to assert its universal acceptance. The indeterminacy and vagueness often observed in the language of its documents is clearly aimed at fostering Human Rights acknowledgment and protection; however, these same features are also a powerful tool for States seeking manipulative interpretations of human rights conventions. By combining the Appraisal Framework with an analysis of the rhetorical strategies employed in a specific type of legal document, this paper will explore the linguistic devices and rendering in translation of the so-called “Torture Memos” released by the US Government after 9/11 in an attempt to provide a legal framework for the CIA interrogation program for “unlawful combatants”.
Keywords: legal language; evaluative language; changed positioning; appraisal theory; translation studies; contrastive linguistics legal language; evaluative language; changed positioning; appraisal theory; translation studies; contrastive linguistics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Romagnuolo, A. (Re)interpreting Human Rights: The Case of the “Torture Memos” and their Translation into Italian. Humanities 2014, 3, 313-339.

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