Terminologische Herausforderungen bei Gesetzesänderungen am Beispiel des Familienrechts
De Camillis F
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Changes in legislation can heavily affect the terminology of a specific legal domain; designations and concepts may evolve and change or new concepts be introduced. This paper illustrates the effects of legislative reforms with examples from the domain of family law. Historical and legal developments in the domain followed common principles in Italy and the German-speaking countries. However, as a short overview of the most important legislative reforms in Italy and Germany shows, important differences at conceptual and linguistic level remain. This paper addresses the challenges of comparing terminology across legal systems. As a means of addressing such challenges, we describe the method of micro-comparison. Micro-comparison reveals similarities and differences at conceptual level between terms from different legal systems, thus determining the existence or absence of equivalent concepts. The examples show that factors such as temporal validity and connotations of terms must also be considered, even if the essential characteristics match. The method can be applied by translators in their daily work. Based on the example of the northern Italian province of South Tyrol, where German is an official language alongside Italian and terminology is developed taking into account the legal language of other German-speaking areas, we finally show that micro-comparison can be useful also for language planning.