Legal Translation – A Skill Mastered by Few

Legal Translation

As the world grows as a global village, communication and understanding of all sorts of languages become important, especially when dealing with economic ad legal matters. From the advent of human history, translation has served as an important tool in building relations and survival as a community. 

Translation of language has evolved over time from hand translation to machine translation and automated voice translators. One of the very important forms of translation in this respect is legal translation. This is one of those services of translation that require the utmost skill and not choosing the right services can be disastrous. 

Why is legal translation challenging?

Legal translation is the translation of texts and documents in a legal setting used for solving legal matters and disseminating this information among legal practitioners internationally. Law is a unique language in itself, having its own legal terminology and specific syntax. Accurate and timely translation service is important as errors may result in delays in business dealings and court proceedings.

The difference in systems and language

This is especially important because legal terms may vary from one country to another or even within the same country in different towns; there may be a different legal system. 

Another reason why legal translation is a challenging endeavor is that, at times, the exact word of a term may not exist in the language it is being translated to. Often, adding legal expression and using alternating terms solves the problem but this must be done with care as even minute errors can result is disasters that have serious consequences.

Considering idiomatic language used and tone or expression of the sentence is very important.  Native translators are more helpful in this respect since they have a better understanding of the dialect used. The translator needs to be well aware of the source as well as target language and legal system for a better service and to have good linguistic skills and a good knowledge and understanding of local as well as international laws, legislations, standards and cultural approaches, etc.

 It is also very important for the translator to work in order to meet the requirements of social, cultural demands rather than providing a simple word-to-word translation so he does not lose important legal context from the source of text. This is why the legal translator will choose to maintain the meaning and the functionality asserted by the source document and not just focus on the relative meaning of individual words or terms within the text, as this can alter the entire meaning of the translated text check here.

Legal terminologies 

Legal documents possess specific legal terminologies; even English phrases and the form of voice used adds to the complexity while translating. Knowledge of legal terms is a very important factor that determines the quality of the translated document. For this purpose, bilingual dictionaries are available for legal matters. These are also available online for use.

Why do we need it?

A person may require legal translation for the following purposes:

  1. Contracts
  2. Certificates such as birth and death certificates, marriage certificates
  3.  Licenses
  4.  University forms
  5.  Land records
  6.  Affidavits,
  7. Sale purchase agreements
  8.  Passports
  9.  Court and witness transcripts
  10.  Immigration documents
  11. Bank statements

Criteria of a good legal translator service

  • Certification is a must-have!

It is very important for the legal translation company to be certified by the right authorities. All sorts of scientific, literary contents and legal, technical material be certified. It is especially important to consider this when the translation is to be submitted to an organization or company that requires a certificate attesting to the accuracy and credibility of the translation. It must also be dated and signed by either the translation company or the translator.

  • Communication is key!

Communication is very important not just with the clients to keep them up to date about the work but also with target markets and lawyers. They must be able to communicate effectively in a specific language.

  • Staying up to date with technology

Legal translators must be up to date with the latest technology or software used for integration of automation and linguistics for using appropriate technology solutions can lower the turnaround times and cost-effectively. It also ensures consistency for large documents and makes the process smoother with fewer chances of error. Using good quality bilingual dictionaries for reference for legal matters is very helpful. 

  • Past experiences

Samples and Previous experiences are also provided by a good company. There is usually a separate section of references and reviews.

  • Available and Punctual

Companies also offer 24/7 service or have multiple translators available and can work with multiple turnarounds in a limited timeframe. A rush translation service is also available for documents that need to be translated on an urgent basis

  • Confidentiality

Outsourcing to a 3rd party must be protected at all costs. The company must have proper cybersecurity tools and Translator Confidentiality Agreements. 

Services of legal translation companies

Following services are mostly offered by various legal companies:

  • Localization

Localization includes translating a document that was previously translated to various languages to a specific area.

  • Interpretation

Interpretation involves presentations, speeches, judicial escort, conference calls, and court hearings, question and answer sessions, etc.

  • Transcription

The transcription of various documents as mentioned and legal certificates, cases of medical negligence, personal injury, debt collection, etc. Transcription and captioning services of all types of audio & video content is also offered by a lot of companies. This includes podcasts, videotapes, DVDs, and audio transcription as well for formats like mp3, wav, au and non-digital ones like standard tapes, VHS, microcassettes, etc.

  • E-translation and mobile services

Many companies now offer at-home service. These add to the comfort of the client as well.

Always remember to compare and contrast various companies for price and value. Bear these points in mind before selecting a company for your legal translation. A skilled translator may be costly but extremely important when it comes to something as challenging as legal translation and helps you avoid lawsuits and other serious consequences. 

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