When faced with the task of handling legal matters across different countries and languages, things generally become even more complicated. While law already involves its own complexities, when you bring in the task of legal translation, often in another country where laws differ, it can present additional challenges.
The significant value of legal translations has long been recognized in the legal field, where it has been required to bridge the gap between different languages on official documents for courts or official governmental use. Legal translation has mainly been crucial in today’s world as globalization continues to shape the way laws and rules develop in both the public and private sectors. More importantly, legal translation has grown its reach to business activities as international expansion and business dealings cross oceans and boundaries.
What is a legal translation?
Generally, translation is the type of work where a document or other form of communication is translated from a source language to a target language. Typical translation work is done by a professional translator, who carries across a written text from one language to another to ensure accuracy based on translation rules of grammar and sentence structure.
However, legal translation is beyond the typical transfer of words from one language to another based on a professional translators’ applicable rules. Instead, legal translations are conducted with cultural dependency and legal interpretations to carry on a legal document’s original meaning. Of course, legal translations are not beyond grammar and sentence structure rules. Yet, legal translations apply more strict rules given the complex nature of the documents and the profound implications for any misinterpretation on a legal document. These characteristics make legal translation complicated even for a seasoned translator.
For this reason, traditional translation services generally cannot be used for the translation of critical materials involving legal or binding documents. There is a significant value in hiring a lawyer to conduct the additional requirements in legal translation.
Why does your business need legal translation?
The public and private sectors often overlap, especially in the business world. Businesses are accustomed to government requirements and negotiating with other parties that need legal documents, so the idea of enterprises employing legal translations is only natural as they grow their business.
Legal translation finds a purpose in the business world as businesses adopt globalization, whether expanding their business beyond their home countries or partnering with foreign entities on their current business ventures. This is evident as governments require legally translated documents to be presented by foreign entities to ensure their specific laws, rules, and practices are understood and adhered to by the foreign entities.
However, legal translations are not limited to companies expanding their presence outside their country or region. Legal translations are also utilized when a company conducts business with a foreign entity, even within their own country.
The legal translation’s value presents itself in usual business dealings involving parties from differing legal systems or languages. Typical business activities include negotiating and producing contracts between parties to ensure legality and mutual understanding. A legal translation is crucial to ensure that the deal is enforceable.
Why is accuracy of paramount importance in legal translation?
As with any legal document or binding contract between parties, accuracy is paramount to ensure its legality. After all, legal documents and agreements are put into place to avoid uncertainty, so legal translations of documents cannot afford to be vague, misinterpreted, or have the inappropriate application of a legal translation. More so, inadequate translations of these documents can invalidate any progress or investment made by the company.
Poorly translated documents may even subject a company to severe penalties and liabilities. These negative exposures based on an incorrect or unclear translation can include financial repercussions, lawsuits, or even government sanctions. This can be devastating to a foreign company that could have invested and relied on expanding its business in a new territory. These types of issues could also damage an entity’s reputation in its industry or the marketplace.
Because of this, it’s good practice to employ a reliable and effective legal translator to avoid costly and possibly severe consequences based on a binding document.
Why do you need a lawyer to prepare your legal translations?
As mentioned above, legal translations go beyond simple grammar and sentence structures. Instead, legal translations apply the legal field’s culture-centric approach. This idea means that in conducting legal translation, cultural sensitivity is involved in understanding the purpose of the forms, terms, and definitions within the legal field since culture intertwines with a country’s legal system.
A qualified lawyer well versed in both target and source language could provide the best and accurate translation of a legal document as they have the technical knowledge. A lawyer is trained to connect common words to its legal jargon to avoid misinterpretation of the purpose of the term. Additionally, a lawyer can also clarify wording suggestions or advice that could be advantageous to a parties’ interests. As a bonus, a lawyer can also assess the legal document for any potential issue or legal exposure that could not possibly be obvious or detected by a professional translator without legal expertise.
As mentioned above, a professional translator is typically constrained in grammatical and sentence structure rules. Unfortunately, these rules would not fully understand legal terms as they are meant to be applied in law. More so, legal jargon often includes words that do not directly translate or point to the word’s everyday use. Often, legal terms are tied to the concept of the document or other words to express its context. Therefore, such could lead to negative consequences, such as invalidating a legal document.
The issues presented above could easily be avoided or resolved by having a well-versed lawyer conduct your legal translation. At Dray Translations, we have the legal expertise as well as professional translation experience to assist you in your legal translation needs. Please contact us to discuss your needs – we’re always at your service.