By Rebecca Heilweil
Rebecca Heilweil is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.
Constituencies expect clarity from their legislation. While the drafters of law certainly can hold their own personal political stakes in keeping statutes vague‐ of which the Ninth Amendment is a great example‐ it is common expectation that the rhetoric of bills will, at the least, hold some sort of concrete meaning.
Yet, this rarely happens, which necessitates an appellate judiciary process to interpret and contextualize the laws produced by legal bodies. Furthermore, in addition to the interpretive debates that dominate the federal appellate court spheres, international governmental bodies must remember the politics of language, and translation, in crafting and applying international law.
Of course, the relevancy of this concern might be somewhat moot in regards to judicial bodies. The efficacy of courts such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), considering the ability of the world's most powerful states to avoid submitting to their authority, is hotly contested by academics of foreign policy.
But language must still be considered while drafting legislation, even if such laws never see an international court. In many ways, different languages constitute spheres of competing knowledge, where a normative mandate in one language does not hold quite the same meaning in another.
Professor Peer C. Zumbansen of King's College London, for instance, argues:
"In light of the again growing importance...of legal pluralism and globalization, law’s new frontier might lie in its reconstitution as transnational sociological jurisprudence. At the center of such an enterprise lies an engagement with the ways in which legal “fields” are conceptualized and put into practice as determinative translations between competing sets of knowledge." 
For Zumbansen, the solution is approaching law with a more intercultural, interdisciplinary sociological understanding of governance. But Zumbansen's approach is not so easy. First, the realm of competing languages of legislation creates grounds for individuals purporting different motives for different translations. Second, there is the problem of specificity, which affects the scope of a piece of legislation, when moving from one language to another. Third, there is also the potential lack of analogous concepts between significant divergent languages. In this way, it worth wondering whether we should be concerned about the normativity of the laws not referring to their translation.
This problem is more common than its lack of discussion would imply. In 2012, The Economist ran an article explaining the role of cultural and legal differences between cross‐lingual relationships, and how difficult translating evidence can be. This also gives light to the role of language, technology, and law in the future. There is still little market domination in the translation‐services sector, which is currently worth $34 billion.
In the article, The Economist wrote,
"The many law students wondering if the rotten legal job market will ever improve should take note. The twin forces of globalisation and technology may put many mediocre lawyers out of business. But those who master languages and computers may find themselves in demand." 
Thinking about language and actively pursuing fluency could be vital to reinvigorating the employment appeal of young law students.
 Peer Zumbansen, "The Politics of Relevance: Law, Translation, and Alternative Knowledges," Comparative Research in Law and Political Economy (2013): 2.
 "Translating and the Law: Legal Language," The Economist, November 10, 2009.
Photo Credit: Flickr User Jurek d.