Certified English-French and French-English legal translations play an important role in the practice of law. Unless you have studied the art and science of translation or attempted to translate documents yourself, it is tempting to consider translation as straightforward. Some have a tendency to gloss over the inherent difficulties of the process, to ignore a translated text’s original context or to trust any translated document on face value. In the US, particularly for monolingual English speakers, it can be difficult to appreciate the delicacy and nuance that are required to successfully transfer a legal text from one language to another. Indeed, “transfer” is not even the right word, as it fails to convey the layers involved. Multilingual translation is less an act of transfer and more an act of transformation. In this way, it is far from something to be taken for granted.
However, in the legal profession, perhaps more so than in any other field, the quality, veracity and trustworthiness of translation is paramount. Much can rest on legal translation, be it uncovering key facts for a trial, drafting crucial documents for a merger, making important progress on an immigration case, or simply ensuring faithful documentation for a client’s file. As a result, it is essential for attorneys to understand what is at play, and what is at stake, when translation occurs. Continue reading →