No matter what enterprise, company, or industry you work in, it is undoubtedly governed by several legal documents and contracts, among others. In the current context of globalization, their translation has become essential.
If you are sending or receiving documents from a foreign partner, you will need to have them translated to not end up with unreadable documents in your hands. This is when a legal translator, professional expert, or translation agency comes into play.
Legal translation is considered as the translation of language used in regular settings and for lawful objectives. The legal translation may also imply that it is a specific variety of translation only used in law, which is not always true. Professional legal translation is, hence, usually done by specialized law translators.
Professional legal translation is a challenging and more complex task than one often thinks, which must combine:
- Advanced knowledge of the law.
- Proficiency in source and target languages.
- Editorial qualities are allowing the translation of the subtleties of the source text.
Why is legal translation more complex and cannot be done by any translator?
Translating a contract from English into French, for example, involves moving from Anglo-Saxon law to Roman law and making the two systems’ principles coincide, which are sometimes distant. Thus, the entry text must be equivalent, and not identical, to the entry text. This is all true as each system has its legal terminology!
A legal translator, hence, does not just translate. He carries out terminological and comparative law research so that his translation is in perfect accord with his target.
Legal translation is not trivial and requires knowledge, adaptability, and finesse of translation. It is often much more complicated than other translations: the issues go beyond a general translation.
Indeed, like medicine, the law is a vast technical and specialized vocabulary.
If you do not translate accurately or initial lightly, the meaning may be changed or even reversed, which will not be acceptable.
Besides, the “localization” of a legal text, its integration into a cultural context is an essential step in the translation.
However, some translation companies do not provide well-translated legal documents and committing translation errors. Therefore, it is common to use several companies before finding one with which to form a lasting partnership.
Thus, linking a partnership makes it possible to set up a translation lexicon to ensure a particular agreement in the translations from one document to another.
What measures should be taken into account when choosing the best legal translator?
- Look for a translator who can handle a wide range of legal documents: legally binding contracts, trademark registration filings, etc. This will save you from looking for another translator if the first one is not versatile enough.
- Make sure the translator knows the country’s legal system of the target language of your documents. A translation expert who is already familiar with the specifics of the law-system will save you time.
- Also, make sure that it respects confidentiality clauses and trade secrets.
- If you use an agency, pay attention to the number of languages in which it specializes. Even if you have your document translated into only one language initially, plan and think about the needs you may require in the future.
- Finally, a last not insignificant point, choose a translator accustomed to dealing with the kind of documents you will submit and who will be able to guarantee you optimum quality.
If you find a translator who meets all of these criteria, a fruitful partnership is reaching out to you!
Should the legal translator be specialized?
The main characteristic of legal translation is that it requires the translator to be competent and expert in several areas. Not only must he master all aspects of professional translation in general, but he must also, besides, be entirely familiar with the regulations in force both in the source country and in the target country.
Concretely, the laws in each country will have similarities and differences, which the translator will have to know inside out to adapt his translation while ensuring that it is entirely faithful to the original. A localization exercises very specifically to legal translation, which sometimes makes it difficult.
As the legal field is very complex, translators specialize in one type of law in particular. So, for the translation of a contract into a permanent deal, for example, you will have to make sure to hire a legal translator specializing in labor law.
Why hire a legal translator?
As with all translations, remember that loyalty is a quality factor: if the translation company was satisfactory the first time, and if it is severe, it will be even better in the future. And more generally, translation is also a matter of cooperation: collaborate with your translators to explain the context, the target, the need for reuse, discuss the real urgency/quality ratio that you imagine, do not hesitate to give feedback to the translator, who need it to improve work, etc. The translation is too important, don’t consider it only as a purchase of service!
Keep in mind that if you need a certified translation, you will need to hire a certified legal translator attached to the Court of Appeals in your region. Many companies now provide certified translation services online as well.
Are you looking for a company that provides legal translation services?
At MotaWord, we provide online legal translation using extraordinarily qualified and experienced expert translators covering a wide range of language pairs. Our professional team of legal translators allows us to document translation services in almost any language pair and to customers anyplace in the world.