What to Consider When Hiring Specialised Legal Translators
Law is a large diverse industry with several areas of specialisation. Even a minor misinterpretation or translation deviation from the original document can have tremendous impacts on final outcomes. Therefore, professional legal translation generalists are not adequate for some legal translation projects. In fact, a complex project may oftentimes require multiple legal subject matter experts (SMEs) to translate content accurately and comprehensively across areas of legal expertise.
Why can’t I hire a general translator?
Although it is tempting to hire a translation generalist and assume they will have access to resources to find the legal jargon in the target language, this is not wise with regard to legal matters. Using industry glossaries will not be helpful for a general translator that is not well versed in the most up-to-date laws in the applicable country.
It is important to remember that laws vary significantly from country to country. Hiring native speaker professional translators that are also legal experts in the field and specific legal jurisdiction in which your transaction or case will be processed is mandatory.
Should I hire an attorney that is fluent in both languages to translate my legal materials?
Unfortunately, subject matter expertise and fluency in more than one language does not qualify an individual to translate legal materials. Professional translators undergo significant training in translation best practices and have years of experience in their specific areas of expertise.
Why should I hire specialised legal translators?
- Diverse Spectrum of Legal Specialisations: There are so many distinct areas of law, it is impossible for any attorney to be an expert in all of them. Just as you would want an oncology expert to translate your cancer-related medical records, you would want a tax specialist familiar with the current legislation in the country of interest to translate your tax documents. Unique vocabulary is used in each legal specialisation such as contract law, insurance law, criminal law, family law, real estate law, commercial law, etc.
- Laws Are Always Changing: Laws are constantly being written and modified. Translating legal information into multiple languages is a continuous need, so they can be shared and interpreted across borders.
- Legal Matters are Crossing International Borders: As global infrastructure and mobility expand, so do the number of multinational legal transactions. International law is its own discipline and requires diverse subject matter experts. The overlapping of local, regional, national and international jurisdictions creates complexities that need to be carefully managed.
- Law is Risky Business: All industries require business risk mitigation when translating content. Ineffective communications can result not only in misunderstandings, but also costly litigation and punitive measures. Thus, it is imperative to hire a highly competent legal translation team with professional liability insurance to work on your legal translation projects.
What types of legal content should I translate?
Contracts are translated most often by professional legal translators. Any legal content that needs to be understood thoroughly by speakers of multiple languages should be translated. Other common legal projects include:
- Legislation, Regulations and Policies
- Legal disclaimers, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policies
- Confidentiality & Non-Compete Agreements
- Affidavits, Depositions, Court, Expert and Witness Transcripts
- Patent and Trademark Applications
- Letters of Credit, Financial Documents and Transportation & Logistics Documents
- Certifications, Registration, Licences & Transcripts
- Litigation & Arbitration Documents
What about legal proofreading?
Most credible translation agencies will have quality assurance processes that require more than one person to proofread all materials before releasing content to the client. If your content is critical, getting a second opinion to verify translation accuracy and precision is always a good idea.
Legal Translation Best Practices:
In summary, always contract a reputable professional language service provider to translate legal content. Ask about the translator’s level of specialised subject matter expertise, years of experience and check references. Ask the agency about certifications and professional liability insurance as well.
Renaissance Translations offers a complete array of legal translation services. Our professional translation subject matter experts are eager to get started on your project. Contact us today!