Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are in charge of translating legal documents in professional translation agencies. Any minor blunder or a misspelled word in legal translation will result in one of many legal problems for the parties involved–and that does not work well.
Common Complications Faced in The Legal Translation:
Certificates of different forms, licenses, and approvals, legal contracts and business paperwork, and court records are only a few of the documents that experts in this field interpret (applications, instructions, judgements of court, resolutions and petitions).
Legal translations necessitate a thorough understanding of terminology as well as strong attention to detail. Moreover, experience and knowledge of the business are also beneficial. So, it is always like walking around a quicksand in this translation niche, and legal translators must proceed cautiously. Further, let us take a look at the top five difficulties that legal translators face on a regular basis as a part of their work.
- Different legal systems of other countries
Different countries’ legal frameworks, as well as specific documents, differ greatly. This wide range of paperwork provides the ideal atmosphere for confusing translations. International organizations also offer guidelines and best practices to assist translators in converting documents from one language to another without modifying them.
Therefore, it does not make the job any easier for language experts. A legal translator should be familiar with all of the differences and similarities between the source and target languages’ standards.
Experts should be aware of the presence of words in the target language that does not have many equivalents. So, to prevent misunderstandings, they should also be trained to recognize the proper use of each word based on the context.
Translators who do not have a thorough understanding of legal terms are more likely to leave space for interpretation. This can easily lead to later disagreements, with a variety of negative implications for the finances of clients and their credibility
2. Evolution of laws and systems
Not only are legal systems unique, but they also evolve and change over time. By the time you hit your deadlines, templates and instructions that worked a month or a week ago may no longer be applicable.
Legal translators must keep up with a constantly changing set of rules and regulations. Similarly, it includes staying informed about events in both countries as well as keeping an eye on any new legislation that can control their work.
Being a member of a professional association in this case will assist a language specialist in staying updated without having to subscribe to all of the legal publications in the region.
3. There is no space for flexibility in the word selection
Legal executives can sometimes speak a language within a language, using words that even native speakers struggle to understand and often misunderstand. However, when you add in the fact that terminology in legal documentation is usually very static, you have the least versatile translation niche.
Translators must, of course, read the source text and comprehend the context behind it. However, when it comes to selecting the right words, they should rather have a strict structure. Moreover, when it also comes to legitimate translations, creativity takes a back seat.
The best ways to address this difficulty in translating legal documents are to use a glossary of words and to develop a strong translation memory. It also saves time for linguists and lowers the chances of translation mistakes.
4. Dedication is required for syntax and punctuation
The most difficult aspect of reading legal documents is figuring out their syntax. Furthermore, most of these documents use what is known as “wooden language,” which consists of a collection of pompous and vague words that make the content difficult to understand.
The passive voice is common in the legal industry; long, complex sentences with an endless amount of commas, semicolons, and apostrophes. In simple terms, it is the biggest nightmare of every linguist, writer and translator. Punctuation laws, too, are not universal. What about the Oxford comma? It is not found in many languages and can cause a lot of confusion as well.
The real problem is that the translation must adhere to the same guidelines as the original, as most countries use the same best practice in using wooden language in legal documents. Moreover, it is all too convenient to transform a comma into a semicolon or insert a period in the wrong spot.
Unfortunately, in legal contracts, a single missing comma is enough to cause uncertainty, as any omission or interpretation will alter the terms and conditions. So, the easiest way to stop making an error like this is to proofread using a second pair of eyes. Alternatively, you should have the translated version of the document checked by a local expert before handing it over to the client.
5. The job of a legal translator under tight deadlines
Legal records are often linked to activities such as courtrooms, deadlines, and corporate acts. They’re all bound by a set of strict deadlines. Meanwhile, delays in this industry will result in a slew of negative consequences for translators, their clients, and their clients’ business partners.
Any barrier that might slow down the translation process must be identified by language experts, who must resolve any complication in a timely manner.
The Difficulties Of Legal Document Translation
As you can see, translating legal documents is far from easy. It’s a difficult job that necessitates language skills, legal knowledge, and, in some cases, pace. So, without advanced preparation, success in this niche is difficult. Further, working with CAT resources and a translation memory can also help make the job go faster.
Last but really not least, translating legal documents necessitates a high degree of expertise in order to satisfy all of the niche’s requirements. So, to do this work, they are often required to obtain unique certifications. Finally, legal translators should be registered with official entities such as the Ministry of Justice or a regional court since legal translations often have to be legalized or certified to be valid.