Sight translation 視譯


Long and complex sentences

Anatomy of a legalese sentence in sight translation

Key 1: Failure of proof by X simply means X failed to prove something.


There are four instances of "failure of proof by X" in the source English text (src: People v. Vargas, 1973), as highlighted in color in the screenshot. In each, the noun phrase simply means X has failed to prove something.

Yet, the meaning of this has generated quite a bit of confusion among some classmates in the sight translation course I just took. Here's my take and my own sight translation of the sentence. I hope this helps fellow classmates in either affirming their confidence of their original comprehension or righting their course if they had drifted afar.

以下是我對這句英文的理解,並提供順句驅動版視譯供參,歡迎用底下的 Disqus 表格加入討論。

Feel free to comment on my analysis through the Disqus at the bottom of the page. I'd love to hear what you think!

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Here's the same analysis the larger context of source text: src: People v. Vargas

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p.s. For those curious not about the English grammar but about the regex for finding the "failure of..." pattern, here it is:
fail(s|ed|ing|ure)?\s*(, if any,\s*)?((of|to)\s*(proof|prove)\s+)?(on the part of|by|from|of)\s+the\s+(people|defen(se|dant))

Key 2: While supply failure of proof seems an odd collocation, it is almost a stock phrase in court





In this last instance, the context couldn't have been clearer in showing what "supply failure" must mean. The reasoning goes: though the defendant did not testify, this cannot be used to supply the ground/reasoning/cause/basis to indicate failure of proof by the prosecution, because the prosecution has not failed here, evidenced by the record showing numerous facts showing the appellants collaborated in bookmaking (an illegal activity). So, we should think of "supply failure" as an abbreviated way of saying "supply the basis (or any of its synonyms) to indicate failure," otherwise it feels like an odd collocation. Despite the odd-sounding phrase, its occurrences in court record make it a frequent enough stock phrase.

In summary

To recap, "supply failure of proof by the prosecution/people" in Chinese should be along the line of 提供理由相信或顯示檢方舉證失敗, or simply 代表檢方舉證失敗, or even more strongly 證明檢方舉證失敗. And, here's my sight translation again:

In deciding whether or not to testify,
the defendant may choose to rely
on the state of the evidence
and upon the failure, if any, of the People
to prove every essential element of the charge against him,
and no lack of testimony on defendant's part
will supply a failure of proof by the People
so as to support by itself a finding against him
on any such essential element