I’ve mentioned Michael Bohlander’s translation of the German Criminal Code before. That was when he translated both Mord and Totschlag as murder.
I’m not sure that I mentioned his book Principles of German Criminal Law.
The great thing about this book is that the author has thought through the terminology of both German and English criminal law, and all his language is based on an understanding of both. That should go without saying in such a book, of course, but it doesn’t.
I was reminded of its usefulness this week when I was translating something about Absicht (dolus directus ersten Grades). I would usually translate this as specific intent – for instance, to be found guilty of theft, you would need to have specific intent to steal. But when it comes to a text that is more detailed, then I need to go to a textbook for more vocabulary.
Categories of Intent and Delineation from Advertent Negligence
Depending on the degree of knowledge and will employed, German law traditionally recognises the following degrees of intent, in descending order:
a) direct intent in the first degree: Absicht, wissentlich, wider besseres Wissen, ‘um zu’;
b) direct intent in the second degree: Direkter Vorsatz or dolus directus; and
c) conditional intent: Bedingter Vorsatz or dolus eventualis.
I found the term delineation in the heading a bit odd. Advertent negligence is used for bewusste Fahrlässigkeit.
There is more following this introductory list. The book is recommended thoroughly as one of those books comparing two legal systems that are so useful in legal translation.