Legal translation is another realm of translation work entirely. Compared to other translation works like media and general translation, this translation work concerns a more specialized field that will cover several records.
When translating legal records and documents, a law office translator or other translation services will have to translate with the highest accuracy possible. Any slight error or mistake will cause delays, hold-ups, and even lawsuits that can pause the speed of the process. In worst cases, inaccuracies can jeopardize the future of the enterprise itself.
Law firms and legal departments know that details matter when dealing with their particulars, and this is also expected with the translation they will use in their work. Since legal jargon is essentially a language in itself, a high level of skill in the know-how and attention to detail are required for the law office translator.
So, when do offices require translation for their legal documents, and what makes an effective legal translation?
Legal Document Translation 101
Legal document translation concerns the process of translating any legal record or materials from one language to another. It aims at preserving the source text’s true meaning and preparing them for use in any legal setting.
Doing this work will require a law office translator or any translation service to comprehensively understand the law in any given country of origin and the implication of the work they will be presenting.
Types of Legal Document for Translation
There are several legal documents that many translation services or any law office translator will deal with. It is imperative for them to know the difference between each legal document since many will have specific legal terms particular to the paper. Here are some of the most commonly translated legal documents.
Sometimes a client will require translation of different contracts. Legal contracts have three types: they can either be expressed, implied in fact, or implied in law. All of these are legally binding, and any mistakes made on the translated contract can cause problems such as financial penalties for the client.
Immigration papers are one of the hearts of legal translation works. This will entail someone immigrating to a country to have their documents translated since they are not fluent in English.
Accuracy is paramount since problems can come up, like delays in the immigration process if mistakes are made.
Financial records needing legal translation will often concern more prominent companies or corporations. There is little margin of error for financial documents, so utmost accuracy in providing translation for them is required, no questions asked since any inaccuracies can lead to jail time depending on who made a mistake.
Corporate documents are another legal document that will require the most accurate translation possible, like financial records. Corporate documents will include client contracts, especially if the company or corporation hires abroad or outsources labor to another country.
Making sure that translations are extra accurate in this realm will save the company or the corporation time in handling problems that might occur regarding miscommunication in the contract brought about by inaccurate translation.
Miscellaneous Legal Documents
Aside from the four realms of legal documents listed above, there is also the group of miscellaneous legal documents that will include other legal documents that need translation for any use.
Some of the various legal documents will consist of wills, affidavits, witness statements to be used in court trials, copyright registrations, and many other documents that will require professional legal translation.
Types of Legal Translation
Aside from the different types of documents that often require translation from any law office translator or translation company, it is possible to discern between six types of legal translation.
The first type concerns the translation of different litigations needed by any law firm or agency. These translated litigations will then be used for various legal proceedings like interviews, depositions, internal emails between various legal actors, written communications, and many others.
Any professionally prepared litigation papers by translators will help the parties involved in the case process and understand the information better to make remedies that will help their clients.
Legislation will concern the translation of legal systems and codes from one country to the other. Since it will examine and translate essentially a country’s legal system, it will require accurate legal translation as well as localization services.
Regulations are known rules set by any government and authorities to specify standards or control how people will behave in a given space and time. If you are a firm or any law office concerned with cases that have jurisdiction internationally, translating regulations is one thing you will need.
Translating these regulations will let any client or firm know that they are compliant with the rules and regulations set forth by a particular country.
Patents are official documents or records giving the right to a single entity to manufacture or sell any particular product for a set period of time. It is vital for patents to be translated by any law office translator or legal translation company in order for the patents to be recognized internationally.
Any legal translation concerning corporate matters is handy for any firm or company looking into signing different international contracts or cooperation initiatives with other international firms or even outsourced employees. High accuracy is needed, as stated above, for corporate documents since any mistranslation can lead to problems like miscommunication among concerned parties.
Financial translation will include translation of any financial statements, income statements, balance sheets, cash flows in business, and many others. High accuracy is also required since any mistranslation can lead to undesirable outcomes like financial loss or even criminal repercussions for the firm or the law office translator.
Types of Legal Translation Services
Electronic Discovery in Foreign Languages
Electronic discovery concerns reviewing information necessary for evidence in any investigation or litigation. This service is probably one of the most critical works any law office translator will be dealing with, and because of the internet, most of these documents will be digital and thus the name, E-Discovery.
Translators doing this work should produce all documents necessary to create a record, and frequent translation is essential for this work.
Any law firm that deals with international clients will find any law office translator the task of translating legal documents from one language to another. When this is required of the law firm, the accuracy of translation is a must, and in some cases, the law office translator would even need to translate any document given by the opposing party.
These documents can be any legal documents, from contracts essential to the case to the witness statement itself.
Legal Interpretation Services
Sometimes, law firms are confronted with clients who do not speak the language of their country. This is where another type of legal translation service will come in, which is legal interpretation services provided by a law office translator or any legal translation company.
Translators concerned with this type of work will not only need to translate the client’s words but also the nuances that come with it, including the tone of voice and even nonverbal expressions. For translators doing this work, a high familiarity with a particular language translated into English is essential.
Legal Localization Services
Localization is a deeper form of translation because it also includes knowing the context or the cultural context behind someone’s speech or anything written in any legal documents. Aside from localization being necessary for communication, it is also a thing any law firm should take note of, especially if they want to advertise their legal services to cater to people speaking a language other than English.
Suppose any company chooses to localize its content. They will come across as relatable, which can build trust instead of making inaccessible and unlocalized content that can alienate other speakers from another region.
Certified Translation Services
Court documents presented in the court are another realm of translation service because accuracy is expected in the translation of these documents. To translate these records, several translators are needed to check and review each other’s work compared to the source document. This multifaceted check and balance will ensure the utmost accuracy required by the courts.
Key Characteristics of Legal Translation
Any translation work will require the most accurate transcript possible but none more so than legal translation scripts. Legal translation needs to be 100% percent correct, without question. Attention to the most minute details is crucial, and many employ a two-pronged approach to ensure accuracy.
The first requirement is a thorough understanding of legal jargon and terms relating to civil, tax, corporate, international law, etc. Other than that, any law office translator should also be versed in the specific terminology of the target language.
All translated legal documents should not be altered, and the meaning should stay faithful to the source text.
Although high accuracy is always expected with any legal translation work, it will need to be balanced with timely delivery, just like any other translation work. The solution here is to hire professional legal translators who are well versed in various legal terms and jargon in two languages.
It is also essential for these translators to build up their glossary of commonly used legal terms digitally, which is a characteristic of different translation memories. Translation memory is a digital database that stores widely used translated words and phrases that any translator can rely on to save time, including legal translators.
Key Things to Consider Before Hiring a Legal Document Translator or Translation Agency
Sometimes the work of a law office translator regarding translation won’t cut it, so firms and companies needing translation would need the help of a translation agency. Here are some things anyone should consider before deciding on a translation company for each translation work.
Confidentiality in handling legal documents should be a tenet of any translation agency you are looking to employ. It’s crucial to ask questions and have a written response to you in case of any breach. Sometimes, the agencies are working for a competitor, and if so, it’s essential to ensure that each translator working on the translation will not be able to compare notes.
This may seem far-fetched, but it is vital for firms concerned with legal matters to ask these questions.
Specialization in Terms of Legal Industry
Just as professors have specializations, legal translators will also have expertise in an aspect of the law, might it be criminal or civil law, etc., that they will be experts at or at least familiar with. You can also inquire about different services they can help you with, like interpreter services, in the future.
If translators are familiar with your line of work, it will ensure precision and timely delivery of transcripts.
Quality of output is not always an assurance because quality is always subjective. Still, since legal translation requires accurate translation of documents or speech every time, quality, in this case, means error-free transcripts, no matter the language. With a dash of checks at the beginning and end of the translation process.
One way any business can be assured of quality, instead of just being provided and perusing the sample, is to check the translation agency’s accreditations and quality certifications.
Before hiring, one vital thing to know is what mode of the legal translation will be employed: human or machine translation, or a combination of both. Some translation agencies have professional translators and local linguists concerned with localizing the translated texts, but others offer swift translation with the number of upgraded software they carry to give you the maximum accuracy legal translation requires.
Of course, the rare breed of a translation agency that offers the accuracy of human translation plus the speed of delivery is ideal, but they are rarely available and will cost the business more.
Adherence to Delivery Timeline
There are deadlines for each legal document and a level of urgency higher for the others and slower for some. Still, sometimes documents will need to be both fast in delivery and highly accurate. Any business should check the agency’s reputation for rushed work and ask for references regarding their adherence to timelines, if possible.
Employing the translation services of translation agencies that are more reputable than the other will give you a better transcript for all your legal documents. Instead of wasting money and time sampling each translation agency, look for a company already known in the legal translation realm to be professional and accurate.
Since specific translation agencies will deal with legal documents from many law firms, they must be certified. They should meet every legal requirement since any translation coming out of a translation agency that is not will lose its integrity and relevance.
Benefits of Employing Reputable Legal Interpretation and Translation
If the firm decides to make its law office translator work alongside a proven translation agency, it can offer many benefits, from a fast output to reliability and precision. A firm is also ensured that the language used will always be straight to the point and never vague but still, be culturally sensitive by treating it with their localization touch.
It will ensure that the given translation is in accordance with the law, which can benefit their business image, especially for law firms looking to expand their international clients and cases.
Risks of Employing Cheap Legal Translation
The success of any translated legal document will depend on its accuracy and compliance with the different laws of another country. If the accuracy of the translated text dictates a particular lawsuit’s outcome, any misspelling or incorrect word choices can question the credibility of any translated text.
Reputable and skilled translators constantly check their knowledge and experience and decide the best translation for any source document, ensuring that no word will be read out of context.
Any poorly translated work can result in penalties, challenges by the opposing party, an increase in cost, delays, loss of confidence in the firm, and many others.
The Importance of an Error-Free Legal Document Translation
Compared to other general translation works, legal translation is undoubtedly one of the most challenging translation domains. This is mainly because their line of translation, which is law, is so culture-dependent that it is not the same from one country to the other. This will mean that each translator should not just be fluent in English and any document’s language of origin but also be versed in the target culture.
Other than that, zero error is also required for their work since any mistakes can lead to severe repercussions that cannot be taken back with an apology.
Legal translators and other law office translators hold a tough job. They are concerned with not sensitive and fact-based documents that will need the highest degree of accuracy to be translated.
Finding the exemplary translator service for any business can save them time and money. Once this perfect translation service is discovered, a firm is confident about the quality of the work they are putting out. Firms shouldn’t let them go since it will help both their business and reputation.