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French Business Law in Translation constitutes a unique collection of translations of those French laws that really matter in an international business context. It presents a bilingual version of the French laws and regulations which the authors have condensed from tens of thousands of pages of text down to the “essence” of the law in each of the fifteen subject areas composing the work. They refer to those parts of the applicable rules and regulations in French law that are of recurrent importance to business professionals and legal practitioners involved in international business. By adding the relevant French text in a column directly across from the translation into English, this 2nd edition has a whole new dimension which enhances the work’s value and makes it an invaluable resource in legal linguistics for international practitioners and academics. The selection of texts has been made by members of the Paris law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker (Europe) LLP, under the direction of Pierre Kirch. A team of advanced French and American law students at Columbia University Law School, supervised by Professor George Bermann, have prepared the basic translations. The definitive translations and chapter introductions have been prepared by the authors.
Through a sound translation of the legislation which recurringly applies to ordinary and usual business situations, it is possible to discern the philosophy underlying the French system and reflective of how France conceives and regulates business phenomena that are in themselves essentially universal. It is no secret among players on the international stage that business is done in France in a heavily regulated environment. In this respect, a public offering of securities, or an IPO, or a public tender offer (or, indeed, a takeover battle) can best be understood through a review of the various rules and regulations which constitute their regulatory framework. In the same way, although competition law concepts tend now towards convergence with European Union legislation, the French approach continues to have certain particularities: for instance, in merger control cases, although the concepts and the procedures tend to resemble those of EU law, the criteria for evaluating the impact of a merger on competition diverge somewhat from those set out in the EU’s merger regulation and applied by the European Commission. Tax and labor laws have also become very complex over the years. For instance, in situations involving dismissal on economic grounds, French labor law imposes a number of procedural and other constraints on the employer and grants the employee significant rights.
In a French setting, transactional work invariably involves not only fundamental contractual concepts set out in the Civil Code, but also, in particular, securities law, intellectual property, competition, tax and labor law considerations. That is the reason why significant extracts of these fast-evolving areas of the law have been translated and included in French Business Law in Translation. Each chapter opens with a brief introduction to the subject and an outline of its contents. The purpose is to allow the reader to place the translated legislation and rules in their overall context. The selection of translated material is done in such way as to enable the reader to appreciate in their full scope the fundamentals of each area of the law, as conceived by the legislator, the French Government and, in certain cases, independent regulatory authorities. a glossary to each chapter. This glossary is not intended to be a complete “dictionary,” but rather to give a preliminary idea of the conceptual linguistic tools used in each of the subject-area chapters.
Legal translation is not an exact science, but based on the authors combined experience of more than 50 years in dealing with the fascinating differences between French law and US law, they are keenly aware of the fact that the translation of legal language is not made by the translation of words, but rather by an attempt to use words to achieve an (often rough) equivalence of concepts. By putting the French original across from the translation, and by investing themselves in the qualitative value of seeking not words but conceptual equivalents or explanations for the rules of French law, they hope to have fostered a deeper understanding of the laws and regulations governing business in France. This should not only better inform those lawyers involved internationally but also be instructive to French lawyers interested in the recurrent linguistic characteristics of French legal texts. This can only be shown when the French original is compared with the appropriate conceptual link to American legal English.