Choose Your Legal Translators Wisely

All Legal Translators are Not Created Equal

An acquaintance of mine, after having lived in four different countries on three continents with businesses on each one says that without a doubt high-quality foreign translation of legal documents is extremely important. The complexities of languages and the minute differences that can change the meaning of a word or phrase make it very difficult for anyone besides a professional translator to do the job correctly.

For example, when he owned a health food store in Belgium (De Korenbloem) his wife decided that she would translate the paperwork for the sale of their store. She speaks 5 languages and, to be sure, is a very intelligent woman, but when they were at the closing the lawyer for the buyers noticed that something was amiss.

Instead of saying that the store was built at the turn of the century in 1895 and was cleared as a retail space, the documents said that it was a protected space. Of course this would mean that having a retail store there was not possible. In the end it worked out, but just a slight difference in one sentence changed the entire meaning of the document.

Something similar happened in Peru when my acquaintance was there to set up a Chiropractic practice. The paperwork for the banking that he needed was worded incorrectly by the young lady that had prepared it for him (she was not a professional translator) and it took an extra 3 weeks to get the permission he needed to work because of it.

When a need for Japanese-English translation, French to English translations, Hebrew translations, German to English translations, Chinese-English, Portuguese to English translations, or Russian-English translations arises, it’s important that a professional legal translator, an expert in those two languages is there to help you, lest you sign documents that have a negative effect on your business or your life.

The legal system is one that is complex, and can be outright scary to maneuver through. Any type of legal document should be examined and interpreted exactly as it is written. Many things in life are subjective, however within the legal reigns, this is never the case. Enough cannot be said about the importance of professional legal translation services when it comes to the judicial system. When dealing with litigation documents, witness statements and testimonies, living wills, deposition transcripts, forensic documents, articles of incorporation and other legal documents, professional legal translators are educated and skilled in how to correctly and precisely read, digest and interpret everything within a legal passage or document. It is far too easy to misread or misunderstand legal terminology and therefore seeking the assistance of a professional legal translator is always recommended.

When it comes to legal proceedings, the success of the legal case can often depend on correct translation of one single word. This is why a thorough understanding of the source documents is crucial. Legal documents and proceedings adhere to timelines and deadlines, and thus, the translator that one hires should be able to analyze, digest, interpret and regurgitate the facts of the case and court proceedings in a timely and effective manner.

There are numerous translation software programs available today, however, be cautious with these as well. As savvy as technology is, there is no comparison to what a trained human translator can do. As previously stated, an entire case can be won or lost depending on correct or incorrect translation of one word, and a computerized system cannot guarantee that it will find all the inaccuracies that can encumber a legal document translation, or a patent translation.

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