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Legal translation

legal_translationLegal 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

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:

Constitutional law.
Civil law.
Administrative law.
Tax law.
Commercial law.
Criminal law.
International law.

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.

Court translators

legal translationFirst of all, it’s important to note that if we try to find out more about the work of court translators, we would observe that most people don’t really understand it. The language spoken in the courtroom is usually more complex than the one used in our daily lives; therefore, those who would in court would in any case have to have certain linguistic skills.
The demand for court translators surges when the judge and the accused speak different languages. Quite often, qualified translators can make the judicial process transparent for all interested parties from prosecution and defense sides. With the help of a translator, the defendant can listen to witnesses that speak different languages, introduce their own witnesses, obtain information about evidence and have a productive conversation with the court staff during each session of the process.

Often, a court translator has to translate speeches pronounced during the hearing, from English into different languages, as well as vice versa. This helps prevent the communications barrier. His work includes various aspects:

First of all, a court translator ensures an understanding between the defendants, defense witnesses and other parties to the process who can have a limited knowledge of English, and judges and other representatives of power.

Second of all, they translate if a translation is needed during various procedures related to the investigation.

Third of all, they do a written translation of various court documents.

Fourth of all, translators can inform judges about features of different languages and cultures if it has some significance for the trial.

The demand for court translators is high, but the entry requirements are high too. Representatives of various nationalities can participate in trials. It’s not enough for a translator to just know two languages. They have to have at least some knowledge of the law.

Working for the judicial system opens up a lot of opportunities for a translator. They can have a permanent position with some court or get hired to participate in a certain case. There is a high demand of translators from various languages, from English to Spanish, to sign language.

There are several court translators’ training courses that allow them to learn the specifics of this profession and improve their skills. A translator can obtain additional knowledge, for example learn to translate from sign language in order to assist deaf participants in court.

Often, court translators participate in processes where one of the parties is children, as well as domestic violence cases. A translator’s role in this case is particularly important because quite often, the parties can use unclear expressions or be unable to find the proper words.