Read up on why effective legal translation is essential for companies and organizations with global aspirations.
Legal translation is a complicated and highly specialized field that covers a multitude of records.
All your legal documents must be accurately translated into target languages, and even a slight error can cause hold-ups or lawsuits that can seriously hinder growth. Serious mistranslation could even put the future of your enterprise in jeopardy.
In this article, we will discuss the needs and challenges of legal translation and outline why your company ought to work with a professional legal translation provider.
Why Legal Translation is Necessary
Legal translation services cover a multitude of documents and texts of great importance including, but not limited to:
- Service agreements
- Patents, trademarks, and copyrights
- Purchase agreements
- End user license agreements (EULA)
- Application letters
- Deposition records
- Company by-laws
It’s one thing to prepare your documents in a single language. But new challenges arise when translating them into other languages.
Let’s look at a specific example to help put this in context.
Legal Translation for International Mergers or Acquisitions
A merger or acquisition can be the perfect solution if your company is looking to expand its brand across the globe. Merging with or buying another company allows for an immediate foothold in a new country or region, setting you up for international success.
Certain challenges are presented, though. A lot of groundwork must be laid in terms of data collection and due diligence, and the purchasing company must be fully versed in the target’s financial situation, management and employee contracts, policies, and procedures and government paperwork.
While many international companies operate in English, native languages still must be considered so that everyone involved is literally on the same page.
Additionally, the acquiring company might want to open physical branches in other countries. For that, they must abide by the laws of the country and could use the help of a legal translator to help sort it all out.
Down the road, the company might want to introduce a new set of policies and procedures. It is imperative to get them translated correctly in all required languages spoken by employees.
With a reliable legal translation service on board, communication between the two parties should advance carefully and comprehensively, resulting in a smooth transaction.
There are still various challenges that will come up that a good legal translation service will know how to balance.
Challenges of Legal Translation
Legal translation work must be done with the highest degree of accuracy, in a timely manner, and in a way that is cost effective.
Legal translations must be 100 percent accurate. Full stop.
Complete attention to detail is crucial when it comes to translating legal documents, and it requires a two-pronged approach.
One must thoroughly understand terms related to civil law, taxes and accounting, patents, international law, and corporate law. On top of that, they must also be versed in the proper terminology with respect to the target language.
The content cannot be altered in the slightest, and the meaning must be crystal clear.
While care must be taken in terms of accuracy, that attention to detail must be balanced with a sense of urgency.
The solution here is to hire translators who have built up a glossary of commonly used legal terms in the two languages. This allows them to refer to the glossary when a new translation is sent their way, thereby expediting the process.
The best translation companies invest in and maintain translation memories (TM). A translation memory is a database that stores previously translated words or phrases that can be relied upon for a variety of projects, including legal translation. This saves time and money for both the translators and the company.
Why Your Law Firm Needs an Expert Legal Translation Partner
A legal translation partner can help overcome the challenges outlined above.
Here are some added benefits of hiring a professional legal translation agency:
- Cost effectiveness: This goes back to translation memory. This database saves translators time because they do not need to repeatedly localize common terms used in these legal documents. This saves time and reduces per-project costs.
- Efficient project management: Time can also be saved in the way the project is handled in the initial stages. A good project manager will allocate the project to the right set of translators and have a system in place for the mid-project and final review stages.
- Ethical standards: A certified translation agency will provide with assurance of ethical standards that you require as a legal professional. This may include documentation involving standard service contracts and a non-disclosure agreement. As a result, your documents are guaranteed to be kept entirely confidential.
Past customer reviews are a good indicator of a company’s experience and quality of work. Be sure to check online to see what they are saying and ask for specific references that you can check.
Finding the right translation legal partner is key.
5 Things to Look for Before Hiring a Legal Document Translation Agency
1. Data security
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to legal translation. The translation agency must value the confidentiality of your legal documents.
Do they work with your competitors? If so, what kind of services are being provided? Are the teams handling your legal documents quarantined and different from the ones managing your competitors? Do they have appropriate legal agreements with the network of linguists or translators to whom the work is shipped?
You need to get a clear written response from them for these questions.
2. Specialization in the legal industry
It’s important to know if the agency has previously served other clients in a similar domain. Ask if they can support your business with other needs like legal interpreter services, an in-house library of laws about countries in which you are operating, and so on.
One area where your company may need assistance is immigration law, especially if you have global aspirations.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, for example, requires submissions of certified translations for all foreign language documents. Any foreign language document must come with a full English translation, and the translator must certify it’s complete and correct.
The translator must therefore prove they’re up to the high standards of the industry in specialized areas.
3. Quality of delivery
This is not easy to find out, yet a crucial one for selecting the right legal translation agency. Quality here means error-free documents, perfect translation in any language, following the due processes for pre-translation and post-translation.
Apart from the sample, check if they have proper accreditations from reputable industry-recognized organizations and quality certifications such as ISO 9001 and ISO 17100.
4. Translation process
It is important to understand who would be doing the translation: people or machines. In both cases, the accuracy should be on point.
There are agencies that employ professionals or local legal linguists for the task or have upgraded software that provides maximum and swift translation results. Then, there are others who use both for efficacy.
The last breed of agencies is rare but ideal. They can bring speed with language translation tools and use expert legal language professionals to complete the process and make the document error-free.
5. Adherence to timelines
Not all documents come with the same degree of urgency, but some documents need to be translated accurately and produced before an authority in another country at lightning speed. Check their standard level of response in all situations – this is where references can come in especially handy.
Managing the flow of multilingual legal documents is a time-consuming task. It is therefore worth finding an experienced partner.
We can translate your legal documents
Translation of legal texts is often confidential – all translators cooperating with Summa Linguae Technologies sign a non-disclosure agreement to that effect.
Hieroglyphs to Microchips: A Brief History of Translation
The history of translation has nothing to do with a revolution; it’s an ongoing evolution. Here's how we g...
How to get Hired (and Hired Again): Advice for Linguists
In the past several years I have hired lots of translators. While many of them continue to work with us fo...