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The paper aims to contribute data to the subservient habitus hypothesis explored in Interpreting and Translation Studies, where interpreters and translators are said to be especially
sensitive and keen to reproduce social and textual norms, usually dictated by other agents in the field. After exploring the use of this hypothesis in the field, the case study is preceded by a brief account of special features of translation in international organizations and the key elements of the use of legal translation at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The selection of the corpus of study and the target-oriented approach are justified before briefly comparing the traditions in the study of phraseology in English and Spanish. A method drawing from both traditions is explained and then applied to two subcorpora of legal texts in order to establish patterns that can help us see how subservient or subversive translators’ behavior can be.