Douglas Biber (1988) disrupted the register and genre studies by incorporating corpus linguistics and factor analysis for discourse analysis and establishing his "Multidimensional Analysis (MD)" method. This new approach offered a comprehensive tool for the fields of gender analysis (Bhatia 2014), language for specific purposes and translation studies (Alcaraz & Hughes 2015) with a quantitative method that allowed linguists to render study more replicable and generalizable.
Legal translation is one of the significant areas of translation research, the demand for which has risen the most, resulting from businesses looking to find new clients internationally. To do so, interpreters need to be willing to interact with them, and translators need large numbers of legal documentation, which is necessary either for foreign transactions or for the execution of international contracts. However, this is not the case when we learn of criminal justice. Court interpreters in countries such as Spain are less appreciative, and the translation of records in public law, such as decisions or court rulings, is less researched and translated.
The differences between English and Spanish legal discourse remain significant for translators, linguists and comparative law academics considering the so-called "anglointernationalisation of law" (Orts 2015), i.e. the homogenisation of legal systems and definitions in the world owing to the prevalence of English as a lingua franca. Qualitative research (Álvarez 2008) and gender, register and pragmatic theories have helped translators determine the best approaches for converting original document purposes and context into translated texts (Molina & Hurtado Albir 2002).
This research attempts to analyse the disparities in English and Spanish decisions in criminal trials quantitatively between the Supreme Courts of the United Kingdom and Spain in Biber’s MD analysis. Out of the 67 linguistic features (variables) that Biber used for his MD approach, we selected eight relevant to the degree of persuasion and closeness of the receiver that the speaker pretends to accomplish (Biber 1995).
We assembled a corpus of 20 judgments from the Supreme Courts of Spain and the United Kingdom (ten from each country) which were POS tagged using the Free CLAWS web tag and Grampal. The frequency of linguistic features to be examined was obtainedusing the AntConc corpus toolkit.
SPSS and Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) were used in the English and Spanish subcorpora to evaluate the latent structure behind all of the linguistic characteristics (variables) selected.
Three textual aspects have been found in English: Persuasion vs Power Distance, Subjectivity vs Objectivity and Involved vs Informational Focus; and four variables reflecting three dimensions in Spanish: Subjectivity vs Objectivity, Intertextuality,
Involved and Information Focus. The English corpus is prominent in Persuasion, Objectivity and Informational Focus; the Spanish corpus has no relevant Intertextuality, Prevalent Subjectivity and Informational Focus ratings.