In cases of translation, legalese requires the knowledge of legal terms and practice. Translation of legal documents requires precision and complete correspondence with the original. Legal translation is one of the most complex tasks for translators and is required for documents like birth certificates, accounting reports, documents of confirmation, court documents and business contracts. Translators not only have to have the basic knowledge of legal terminology but also be good at legislative requirements and legal complexities of cultural and legal system of a different state.
Translation as such is a complex process that requires specific skills. Nonetheless, legal documents translation requires particular kind of attention, because even the smallest mistake can serve as grounds for a complex court case, not to mention financial losses suffered when fixing it.
There are a few things to keep in mind when completing a legal translation. The source text is structured according to the legal system that corresponds with legalese and culture. Translated text, on the other hand, will be read by a person who speaks a different language and lives in a different legal system.
Rights and obligations of all organizations and persons involved in the translation must be properly set. It is necessary to ensure the accurate communication of meaning of the original text in the translation. You should also remember that the original text’s linguistic structure might not have any direct equivalents in the translation language; therefore, it is the translator’s responsibility to find the appropriate linguistic structure similar to the original text.
Legal translation is done within strict deadlines, because if documents are required in court, a delay can result in them losing their legal status and becoming invalid. Confidentiality is also important, because almost all legal documents contain data which requires protection.
Lawyers are constantly faced with the world of contrasts between real legal life and the perfect image of the law which, in essence accumulates various precedents that must also be commonly interpreted without the help of current legislative acts.
Lawyers involved in the issues of international law work with words which require accurate spelling, depending on the right sentence structure, syntax and choice of word. For that reason, legal translators must have the experience required and the knowledge of legal terminology of the source, as well as translation, languages. An international lawyer is relying on the professionalism of a translator that’s working on a translation of foreign documents into his native language.
Translation of legal documents into a foreign language is more difficult than other types of technical translation. The issue is the legal terminology because it is, along with legal systems, different in each country. In most cases, it varies from country to country, even if the language of the countries is the same.
A legal translator must be competent in three areas: appropriate writing style of a translation language, knowledge of special terminology and general understanding of the legal systems of source and target languages. In case of legal documents, literal translation is not appropriate.
With that in mind, a professional translator of legal documents must be part detective, part legal academic and part linguist, who needs to do an appropriate amount of research for decrypting the original and communicating its actual meaning, which would never, not in any circumstances, would differ from the source’s content, even if literal translation is impossible.
On top of that, a translator must understand the intended use of translation, because that would influence the chosen translation method. The designation directly influences several features, including style or registry, syntax, phraseology and terminology. When there are defects in the original text, translator must decide whether to make the translation equally unclear or do a proper translation which is his goal, that could, however, have been disrupted by the errors in the original.
Legal documents translation is a very difficult task. Its completion requires a professional legal documents translator with the appropriate level of education, strengthened by the years of experience in the field of legal translation.