What is a legal translation?Legal translation is a complex and highly specialized field, where one error can cause legal problems and hold-ups for your business, something that no one wants to face while growing their business. Furthermore, legal translation is not only for contracts; you can use it for patents, trademarks, and copyrights, for personal legal documents, certificates, legal statements, business proposals, and more.
Why is it so important to have an excellent legal translator?The translation is not only about writing the same sentences in another language, but translation also requires a person to be able to interpret the meaning of the sentence correctly and write in the other language without changing its meaning. Ambiguity is a big no when translating legal documents, as is the lack of legal vocabulary and jargon knowledge.
This is crucial for a field that is undoubtedly culture-dependent. Within the legal field, the forms, terms, and definitions are deeply influenced by the country's culture and legal system. As such, familiarity with this is crucial for accurate translations, specifically for those cases where cultural sensitivity is of the utmost importance.
The translator of the legal document must have knowledge of the legal systems in the country that they're translating from and the country that they are translating to, and their extensive legal expertise that will be the most useful to you. These translators have additional qualifications (mostly academic) that can give your business an accurate translation and ensure a smooth expansion in the legal sense so that you can focus on the business side. Lawyerly language, as it is referred to by some, can be complicated even if it is written in your mother tongue. The sensitivity of the field upon which they work means that you should be extra careful when searching for the person to do the job.To spot an excellent legal translator, you should look for this:
- They are certified/accredited as translators
- Academic background in law or foreign languages
- Communication skills
- Knowledge of 2 or more languages
- Specialization in the branch you need - international law knowledge is also a big plus
- Exceptional written skills - grammar should be perfect as well as the ability to write that way in both languages
You can also say that these legal translation services are expensive, and you would instead do it on your own, but wouldn't a lawsuit be more expensive?Be cost-effective and let a legal translator handle the job.
Think about how legal terms have different meanings in everyday topics; here is a reason as to why legal dictionaries exist. And this gets more complicated when translating to another language because this does not only happen in the English language. Look at the world call, in the sense of calling a meeting, in English. In Spanish, you would think to go for llamar, yet it would be incorrect as they use convocar or abrir una sesión (convene or open in English). This is one of many examples just within this pair of languages.
So, why would you give yourself a headache instead of hiring a legal translator? You shouldn’t have to deal with language barriers in the legal field.A great example of what happens when a legal translation goes wrong was the deal for a Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and South Korea. There were several translation mistakes in the Korean version of the agreement, so it was held back for some months until everything got sorted out, and the government approved it. During this time, businesses from both sides lost money. To avoid a situation like this from happening to your business, it's never a bad idea to go the professional route.
In other words, the best business advice you will hear is to leave the legal translation to the professionals to get an accurate legal translation that will cause you no problems, especially when one translation error can lead to lawsuits and other types of damages.