Difficulties faced in legal document translation
Legal parlance if it needs translation, needs the services of an expert that is highly knowledgeable in legal terms and practices. Translating legal documents needs accurate and correct translation and is one of the most difficult among all translation work. Translators should not only possess general knowledge of legal terminology, they should also be well versed in statutory requirements and the legal intricacies of foreign cultural and legal systems of those countries.
Legal translation carries strict deadlines, because when the translated documents are needed particularly in court, a delay might render the document null and void. Confidentiality is an issue because almost all legal documents contain sensitive data. Lawyers, when dealing with international legal problems have to deal with words that should be accurately written, which depend on good sentence structure, syntax and word selection. That is the reason why legal translators should have the necessary experience and knowledge of legal terminologies of both the source and target languages.
Translating legal documents in foreign languages are considered more difficult than other technical translations. The legal terminology is what makes it difficult because each country has its own legal terminology as well as legal system. More often than not, this is also different from another country even if the language they speak is identical.
Professional legal translator requires competence in at least three different areas: 1) comparative law, i.e., a basic knowledge of the legal systems of both the source and target languages; 2) familiarity with the specific terminology of the particular legal field(s); and 3) the ability to write in the specific legal “style” of the target language. Due to this, the professional translator of legal documents must be part detective, legal scholar and linguist. This helps him in mastering interpreting the legal concepts expressed in the source language, understanding the intended use of his translation to select the best equivalent from target language, and reflect the exact accurate meaning smoothly.
Additionally, in case of working on legal disputes involving legal systems and different languages, a patent translator should master bridging the divide of legal systems, languages and cultures to provide sound translation. Due to the rigorous standards adopted in courts worldwide, mistranslated texts, inaccuracy and amateur translations are not acceptable at all. Such mistakes may lead to unexpected delay, opportunity loss or even legal fees, thus you should usually take such kind of translations seriously and refer only to professional agencies or patent attorneys for having your documents translated.
Legal document translation is such a demanding task. It requires professional legal translators that have the right academic background, and are backed by years of legal translation expertise. Therefore, careful research of the area of law is necessary to understand those concepts behind the terminology and ensure the translation of the idea and not merely the words.
Working in the language services industry, it is clear to see that often businesses and professionals often don’t understand the need for a professional language translation, or the benefits of having business and marketing materials translated and often times view using a translation service as an unnecessary expense.