The Rwanda Law Reform Commission (RLRC) has launched a new legal dictionary that will help citizens understand legal terms, improve careers of lawyers, researchers and enable government organs and translators to do their jobs better.
The 532-pages dictionary, containing 2,698 legal terminologies and a glossary translated in three languages (English, French and Kinyarwanda) was launched this Friday November 5, 2021 by the commission’s chairperson, Domitilla Mukanaganzwa.
The new dictionary is the first of its kind to be officially launched and a contribution of the ministry of justice, the University of Rwanda (UR) and several legal experts.
It, however, builds on former limited vocabulary working documents that were only written in the local language -Kinyarwanda and not translated in either English or French.
“The dictionary is for all Rwandans because they need to know and explain existing laws, however the specific beneficiaries are lawyers, judges, teachers, government entities, students and research fellows but also translation services,” Mukanaganzwa said.
The two-part dictionary contains the A to Z dictionary of legal terms in the first part and second part contains a glossary divided in two parts- including word translation from English and from French to all languages used in Rwanda.
This means you can find the translation in a booklet but to make it easy for searching vocabulary we have words (A to Z) in English to Kinyarwanda and its French related meaning. This helps those who specifically use other languages as primary in legal duties, said Emmanuel Nikuze, the Editor at RLRC.
Nikuze explained that the dictionary vocabulary doesn’t necessarily change existing legal terms in meaning and interpretation but will help in understanding context and also there is where a word that has more than one meaning is explained in more than one way.
Though the dictionary is printed in paper or book form, the Law Reform Commission said that the dictionary is available on their website (in PDF format) for online access but with plan to make it accessible in applications (Apps).
Both Mukanaganzwa and Nikuze also revealed that the commission is open to more ideas and contribution to the vocabulary and glossary but with an ongoing plan to conduct further detailed research to add more words in the current dictionary.
“This is the first edition and we will have more editions including edition two and three but with a plan to improve and increase legal education for citizens,” Mukanaganzwa said.
Nikuze said the current over 2000 words are not enough and still lacking which requires the commission to do more research for more words to be added in.