Former Legislative Councillor Dr. Margaret Ng delivered a talk at the School of Translation on the history and challenges of bilingual legislation in Hong Kong. A barrister-at-law, Dr. Ng took part in the translation of Hong Kong laws in the 1980s, so that the Chinese and the English versions have equal legal status.
Dr. Ng started the lecture by introducing the background of the bilingual legislation project. She quoted relevant ordinances and court cases to make one important point: to do a good job in legal translation and avoid ambiguity, one has to study the intrinsic meaning of the original law and put cultural and social elements into consideration. She also quoted some examples of new Chinese legal terms created during the bilingual legislation process to show how to express the meaning and spirit of English common law concepts fully.
Dr. Ng concluded the talk by naming the three requirements of law—certainty, accessibility and enforceability.