The process of legal translation involves converting a source language into its equivalent in the target language. Unlike most translations, legal translations not only have to be 100% accurate in terms of technical and legal jargon and the “letter of the law,” but also have to maintain the extremely subtle tones and nuances found in legal documents. Legal translation involves written documents and legal interpretation involves the spoken language.
As noted above, legal translation can be more complex than other types of translation because the translator must very carefully account for cultural differences and legal differences between the two languages. Legal document translation services also involve the proper translation of technical terms and sometimes intentionally vague and nuanced language in order to convey appropriately convey the appropriate meaning. At Latitude Prime, we have all of your legal translation needs covered with a team of professional, experienced project managers and hundreds of certified legal translators and interpreters.
What Legal Translations Encompass
Legal document translations can include court transcripts, witness statements, government or corporate proposals, contracts, birth certificates, laws, regulations, decrees and notary documents, wills and testaments, immigration documents, legal briefs, confidentiality agreements, and much more. Legal document translation services are also frequently required in criminal cases and law enforcement investigations.
Beyond legal document translation services, legal interpreters are often needed to facilitate communication between individuals or parties who speak different languages. In some cases, witnesses or defendants may speak a language other than the language used by the government. A coherent, accurate, and smooth dialogue in these cases requires a competent intermediary who can correctly interpret the communication between the parties, including all of the subtle and nuanced language required of legal matters, and all while remaining impartial and objective.
Here are some key elements to expect from your legal translations:
Understanding the Purpose of the Translation
First, it is important for the translator to understand the reason the translation is needed. With legal matters, there are likely specific laws or regulations that must be considered and translated accurately. Also, the grammar, connotation, and tone of the translation should match the original purpose of the translation. For example, if a document is written with poor grammar in the source language, should that be maintained in the translation? If the translation is a transcript of an audio dialogue, the answer would frequently be yes. However, if it is a document to be submitted in court, the translation should be more formal and grammatically correct.
Proper Use of Terminology
The use of terminology may vary based on language and location. Some laws may not have an equivalent term in the target language or even the same or comparable law. This requires the use of the best possible alternative and sometimes a “translator’s note” to support the choice of translation. A professional legal translator should be able to successfully handle these types of complex issues.
Accuracy and Clarity
It is vital for translated documents to be translated with both clarity and accuracy. For one, the translator must deal with frequently ambiguous or vague language – a hallmark of legal language in most places – and ensure that the intended meaning is carried through to the translation. The translated document must also be structured according to the requirements of the legal system where the translation is to be used. For example, patent applications submitted in the United States require a different format to patent applications made in Japan.