Sunday, October 1, 2023

Legal translation and its best practices to do

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Muhammad Shoaib
Muhammad Shoaib
Mars Translation is a Translation Company That helps Multiple Companies to localize in different countries and languages. Mars Translation operates in 200+ languages in many industries.

Legal translation is one of, if not the most complex field of the translation industry. Language knowledge isn’t enough for this field unless a translator shows complete dominance and true knowledge of this discipline. When these requirements are met, you 

can expect a professional translation of your legal texts that’s not just accurate but faithfully conveys the original meaning.

Since the scope of legal translation can range from business contracts and court documents to government papers and laws, it necessitates extensive study, utmost consideration, and caution. If the professional involved in this translation process does not have sufficient knowledge, it can lead to serious consequences. 

For instance, your company makes a contract with another foreign company. Both of you sign this contract in the native language of each country and both texts serve as a binding for you. During the translation of these contracts, even a minor translation error can lead to multiple interpretations of the text. Which in turn can cause legal problems. 

If that’s the case, your best bet is to work with professional legal translation services which can exhibit great responsibility during the translation and proofreading of your critical texts. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at what is meant by legal translation, who can perform it, and what are some of the best practices for legal translation. 

What is legal translation?

Legal translation is a specialist type of translation that exclusively pertains to laws and regulations. The laws and regulations in one society are according to its historical and cultural characteristics. Due to these historical and cultural characteristics, different societies or countries have different legal systems. And some regions can have concepts and qualities that are completely unique to them. 

Therefore, when it comes to transferring legal language and legal rules from one language to the other, various difficulties arise. For this reason, legal document translation requires specialization. The quality would be excellent when the translator or LSP has done a special study in the legal field. At the very least, it requires above-average knowledge on the part of the provider. 

Common documents which fall under the category of legal translation are as follows:

  • Court transcripts
  • Legal publications
  • Official documents
  • Business contracts
  • Birth & marriage certificates
  • Patent procedures
  • Notarized documents
  • and more.

Who can perform legal translation?

In this part, we’ll cover who is qualified enough to perform the legal translations and who isn’t. 

While anyone with linguistic capabilities may find it tempting to translate legal texts, they will run up against many challenges. A generalist who does not know the legal industry in and out will make serious mistakes. Which could result in businesses paying millions in expenses or liabilities. 

Due to this reason, many linguists specialize in the field of legal translation, making it their niche. They do an in-depth study of the laws and regulations in both the regions they provide translations for.

The following are the important skills and qualities of a professional legal translator:

  • Expert in the source and target languages
  • Familiar with government laws and regulations of different countries
  • Familiar with legal terminology and jargon
  • Experienced in translating legal documents
  • Skilled researcher
  • Unbiased

Best practices for legal translation

Now we’ll discuss the best practices for translating any legal text. These practices are essential for any language service provider (LSP) you opt for, be it a translation agency or freelance legal translator. 

i) Command over the legal jargon

A linguist who will adapt the legal text should have a strong foundation. They should be aware of legal jargon as well as legalese phrasing and sentence structure. Having no familiarity with legalese will result in sloppy translations. Which have the potential to end an important business agreement or legal contract.

ii) Knowing the target audience

Whether you turn to a legal translations agency or a legal translator, they should be aware of the audience you want to target with your translations. For instance, if the end-user does not know anything about the legal field then the linguist will render the using plain wording so that people from different backgrounds can easily understand it.

iii) Ensure translation accuracy

There is no room for errors in the legal. So, it necessitates a high degree of accuracy. Otherwise, improper translations can create a lot of mess. Therefore, the safest option is to hire a translation company with many years of experience in the legal text. This will help ensure accuracy in the translated materials.

iv) Security and confidentiality 

Lastly, confidentiality is also very important for legal translations. You may need to translate an affidavit related to a murder or sexual assault case or any other confidential and sensitive document. Therefore, the team you partner with should maintain confidentiality as the best practice. Otherwise, it may hurt the feelings of the person seeking translation services. Or worse, it could risk lives or interfere with legal proceedings.

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