Legal translation has some challenges that can make it difficult for an individual to get the meaning of their documents. This is because a number of factors can be involved, such as a word’s definition, the tone of the text, and the structure of the linguistic language. However, there are ways to overcome these challenges and improve the accuracy of your document.
Problems caused by the incongruity of a word’s definition
What is the best way to say the same thing about the law? Well, that’s the question a legal professional is pondering in her inbox, which is a bit of a shame because legal document translation is considered a tough nut to crack. The most challenging task is figuring out what words, phrases, and acronyms to use to make a point. Luckily, most attorneys have a knack for spotting the most pertinent of these clues.
The good news is that you have an excellent shot at getting it right if you’re willing to put in the time and energy. In fact, a survey of legal professionals by the International Legal Technology Association revealed that the majority of them were looking for new employees. For this reason, legal translation may well be the most rewarding career move you can make.
Problems caused by variations in linguistic structure
Legal translation is a process of reinterpreting grammatical structures and adopting expressions and concepts from the source language. It is not a simple process and requires a certain amount of knowledge and training. This is why it is important to select words carefully.
There are two basic approaches to the study of legal translation. One is a functionalist approach that seeks to find the term in the target language that best expresses the concept of the source legal system. The other is a parametric approach that attempts to characterize the reality of the legal translation situation.
The functionalist approach requires a good understanding of the source legal system. For instance, in the case of English, the wording of legal texts can vary greatly from language to language. Thus, if the translator is not a native speaker of the target language, he or she might be misled by the translation. To avoid this, a good translator should be able to adjust the language to make the meaning of the document intact.
In general, the closer the source and target languages are to each other, the easier the translation will be. However, equivalence is not achievable in civil law-based legal systems. Instead, the closest functional equivalent shows more similarities than differences.
As a result, a legal translator should try to find a text that is as close as possible in meaning. This can be done by paraphrasing the words to emphasize the legal expression. Nevertheless, excessively literal translations may be problematic.
Since legal documents are often written in a passive voice, translators must maintain that voice in the translation. The active voice will sound unprofessional. Therefore, a good translator will take the time to adapt the writing style to the target culture.
A good translator should also understand the legal implications of the document. Although many legal terms are not fully equivalent, they should be translated into a language that will be understood by local practitioners. Lastly, neologisms and footnotes should be avoided.
Despite the challenges, legal translation has increased in the 21st century. The growing interest in international legislation, in particular, has led to an increase in the number of legal documents being translated.
Problems caused by inconsistency of the tone
The legal translation field is a competitive one and one that demands a good deal of attention. Whether your translation is for a law firm, a law enforcement agency or your own personal lawyer’s office, a good understanding of the language and the culture will be invaluable. A good translator is a detail-oriented individual who can keep up with the ever-changing legal jargon. However, the legal field is also known for its idiosyncrasies and slang, so being a good translator is a bit of a skill.
One of the more common pitfalls is the omission of information, be it textual, semantic, or visual. As such, it is critical to do a thorough QA check of your translation. Luckily, the translation industry is a small one and the majority of its practitioners are competent in the craft. For example, many legal professionals possess a knack for identifying the source of any given storyline and then translating it accordingly. Likewise, a competent legal translator will do his or her due diligence in determining the tone of any given piece of legal material and will be able to spot any potential missteps with ease. Finally, a well-informed legal translator will know when to cut a few unnecessary words to make space. This is particularly important in cases of brevity and conciseness.
As a legal translator, the most important lesson to be learned is to be faithful to the source and to keep an open mind. It is not uncommon for a newbie to be caught up in the minutiae of every document they encounter, and the best way to ward off that kind of mental snafu is to acquaint yourself with the lingo and the etiquette of the profession.
Mistakes that can lead to misunderstandings
Mistakes in legal translation are a big concern for professional translators. The impact of these errors can be devastating. Some of the most common mistakes include:
Leaving out crucial legal requirements, such as terms, clauses, and agreements can cause big financial losses. If these terms are not included in a contract, then it can lead to a legal dispute.
Legal translation is a crucial part of conducting business in foreign markets. It is important to hire a certified translator who specializes in the law to translate your documents.
Legal translations should always be accurate. A single word that is mistranslated can render a paper worthless. It can also affect the perception of the defendant in court. This can result in a guilty verdict. Innocent people may even spend time in jail.
Besides generating unnecessary costs, legal translation mistakes can also generate legal disputes. These disputes can be a long and costly process.
Legal translations can also damage a company’s reputation. Consumers are not likely to buy from a company that has a bad reputation. When a document is erroneously translated, it can lead to a loss of networking opportunities. Losing a business can also mean a lack of financial security.
Translation is a very sensitive issue. Unless you’re sure that your translator is an expert, it’s important to double-check every document before it’s finalized. There are many examples of erroneous legal translations throughout history.
One example of a serious misunderstanding resulting from translation is the case of Willie Ramirez. He was an 18-year-old who was in a coma in 1980. His family told doctors that he had ingested poison.
While this case isn’t a typical example of an error in legal translation, it illustrates how important it is to properly translate materials. Whether it’s a doctor’s report or a medical bill, a minor error can cause major consequences.
To avoid a lawsuit, legal documents should be carefully translated. The best way to do this is to hire a large translation firm. Circle Translations has a team of qualified professionals that can handle your project. You may visit Languex.co if you require fast, accurate, and affordable legal translation services for more than 65 languages.