Legal translation is translation of documents that regulate legal issues. Such work includes not only translation of legal and notarial documents, but translation of various legal information exchanged between professionals of this field from various countries.
Legal translation is a complex process that requires a specialist to have many additional skills. They not only have to be fluent in a foreign language, but also know the law, various legal systems, all features of legislative norms of other countries and international standards perfectly well. It’s not enough for a translated text in this field to be well-translated – it must be adequate from a legal point of view.
Types of translation
Legal translation covers many areas of the law and has a lot of types:
Translation of contracts, as well as agreements, addendums. For example, when two parties need to sign a sales purchase agreement, strike a bargain about product supply, create a license agreement or sign an employment agreement.
Translation of corporate documents, document legalization.
Translation of legislative acts from legislative bases of other countries.
Translation of local legislative acts.
Translation of court documents, applications, judicial conclusions.
Translation of additional documents, certificates, powers of attorney, permits.
The list makes it clear that such type of work relates to such areas of law as:
Importance of correct legal translation
The specifics of such translation is that the smallest mistake can lead to serious consequences. A simple typo can ensure illegal relations and lead to proprietary damage, and perhaps even judicial proceedings. That is why you need to entrust legal translation to either professional translators with a lot of experience in this field, or professionals who have obtained an additional legal education.
Legal documents translation implies specific requirements for the text: precision of phrases, absence of any artistic elements, logical structure and absolute accuracy of the contents. High quality translation requires not only the knowledge of the subject, but also of all the features of legalese. The purpose of the job is also important: a text could be written for informational purposes (e.g. a law textbook), but it can also be an official document that would be used at a legislative level.
Additional difficulty is that there are difference not only in the style and the language, but in the legal systems of different countries as such. A translated text is written in accordance with the norms of its source country. Documents have to reflect the contents of the original source, but also take into account features of another legal system and terminology.
Speaking of terminology – terms are a big challenge when it comes to translation of legal documents. After all, the law has a lot of areas with their own unique words and specifics.
In additional to terms, there are also legal clichés – phrases with legal meaning. It’s very difficult to translate such phrases, because a translator has to have a profound and thorough knowledge of the legal systems and be able to appropriately find the necessary lexical constructions.
It’s becoming clear that legal translation is hiding many particularities and requires a highly professional approach from a firm that takes on such jobs. Sometimes translation agencies hire experienced lawyers who, together with translators, edit the texts.