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As a legal professional, you’ll be well aware that the wording of a document can have a huge impact on how it’s interpreted. If you’ve sent or received documents in another language before, you’ll know just how important an accurate legal translation service is to ensuring each party is on the same page – not just because the piece is likely to be incredibly technical, but also because of the sensitive nature of your industry.

Despite this, some firms don’t conduct thorough research when it comes to finding someone to do the job. Here, we explore what the work entails in more detail, and look at why legal translation is difficult.

What is legal translation?

Law firms around the world working with multilingual documents will require legal translation and interpretation to ensure all parties understand what they’re dealing with. Like traditional translation services, legal translation services adapt an initial document into another language.

However, as law is dependent on the country’s individual legal system and culture, translation requires specific expertise and technical understanding. Add to this the fact that there may not be a direct legal translation of the terminology and concepts originally used, and it’s easy to see why this process can be difficult.

Any document can be translated, but legal translation services typically centre around merger and acquisitions, share purchase agreements, supply agreements or purchasing contracts. Other commonly translated documents include:

  • Statements
  • Legal rulings
  • Patents
  • Financial reports
  • Video and tape recordings

Why is legal translation so important?

Legal terminology and definitions vary around the world. So, if you receive legal documents from another country, not only do you need someone that will be able to translate the text but someone who also has a strong understanding of both legal systems. This includes the terms that are commonly used in these jurisdictions. It could mean the difference between a rightful and wrongful conviction, or a valid or invalid patent.

Some areas such as technology, finance, media or manufacturing will require even more in-depth and complex technical knowledge. Your translator needs to be aware of the document’s purpose as this could influence the meaning of some words. It’s for this reason that the translation of legal documents isn’t always easy.

As an example, we were recently asked to translate a French contract into English. The document contained the word ‘entreprise’ throughout. This word can be translated into English in five different ways. After taking instructions from our client, we used the word ‘undertakings’ as it better suited their purpose.

Choose a professional legal translator

If you need your documents translated fast, you might consider using technology to do it. However, as you’ll know, there’s no room for error in law – and there are a number of legal translation rules which must be adhered to. Mistakes can result in severe delays, or even financial losses and lawsuits.

Putting legal translation into the hands of a specialist organisation means you’re reducing your risks. But knowing who to choose can be a minefield. You need someone that is both experienced in translating legal documents and has evidence of doing so – accurately and professionally.

At Teneo Translations, not only are we experts when it comes to legal translation, but we’re fully compliant with BS EN ISO 17100:2015 standards. That means you can rest assured that we’ll do the job right. We truly put quality at the heart of our processes – it’s just one of the reasons why our clients return to us, time and again.

Why not get in touch today for a free consultation? Our team will be more than happy to provide you with a no-obligation quote, or simply offer a little advice.