Legal Translation – 8 Important Factors to Consider – Pangea Global Localization Services|
Are you on the hunt to translate your legal content? Translating for this field is an extremely fragile and intricate process as any inaccurate or misleading information can have disastrous legal implications.
To ensure your legal translations will be handled to a T and to save yourself from any offences and awkward moments, there are a number of things you should consider. From finding a translator that possesses the right industry expertise to ensuring your documents will be handled confidentially, find 8 of your most crucial legal translation considerations below!
1. Identify the Document Type
One of the most crucial aspects of legal translation involves identifying the requested document type. Most legal documents are challenging and complex so it’s important you allocate the right linguist for the job.
Depending on the file for translation, there are two processes to consider. A standard legal translation involves using a linguist with legal background and knowledge, which is then proofread by a second legal translator. There’s also the option of conducting a legal review which involves having a lawyer approve the content once it has gone through the initial translation step.
The two essential questions to ask here are as follows: What’s the purpose of the translation and where will it be used? Answering these questions will help you dictate the level of quality assurance needed for your document. For critical legal documents, such as contracts or court filings, for example, additional proofreading or a legal review may be necessary to ensure accuracy and legal validity.
2. Ensure the Content is Readable
Translators and LSPs often face the challenge of having to resolve source file issues. In order to make files compatible with translation management systems and translation memory, they have to be readable.
Many legal documents come as PDFs or hardcopies. Nobody has time to sit and retype the document. Therefore, it’s worth having some kind of OCR technology that lets you convert different types of scanned documents into readable and translatable content.
3. Use a Skilled Legal Translator With Market-Specific Expertise
To make sure that your legal translation is of high quality, you should assign an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled legal translator to your project – there’s no use employing any old linguist without experience in this sector.
A translator who handles any legal file should have knowledge of the correct terminology and processes of the field. This way, they will deliver a translation that is devoid of contextual errors and mistakes in Legalese.
It’s also imperative that the translator has an awareness of the laws, regulations and restrictions of the target market. Legal translation isn’t just about adapting the words in the legal content – it’s more so about understanding their legal effect in their applicable market.
Essentially, one term or condition that applies to one market may not apply to the other. Each country has different laws and so it’s vital that the legal translator possesses familiarity with both legal environments.
For example, if a U.S. company is looking to expand its business operations into China and has a contract written in English that outlines its partnership with a Chinese company, it needs to ensure that the contract is legally compliant with Chinese laws and regulations.
In this scenario, the legal translator’s role is to bridge the gap between two legal systems and use the correct terms to affirm the contract serves its intended purpose in the target market.
4. Use Subject-Specialist Translators
Legal translation therefore doesn’t just require linguists specialising in law. The translator in question should also have experience in a sub-domain so that they are able to truly grasp the context of the document – only then can they provide an accurate and contextually relevant translation.
For instance, financial, medical and real estate law have distinct sets of terms and concepts that aren’t interchangeable. Translators with experience in a specific sub-domain are better equipped to understand and accurately translate these terms.
5. Inquire About Your LSP’s Translator Hiring Process
Given that legal translators need to tick off a lot of different boxes, it’s paramount that you inquire about the agency’s hiring standards.
A good way of knowing that an agency follows a rigid hiring procedure is by checking that they’re ISO 17100-certified. When a translation agency possesses this qualification, it means that they only hire professionals with the necessary legal expertise, linguistic proficiency and relevant experience to complete projects with success.
In a similar vein, ISO 17100 includes provisions for quality control and revision processes. Agencies following this standard have measures in place to review and verify the accuracy of translations, ensuring that the final output meets high-quality standards.
Checking the above can help you mitigate the risks associated with inaccurate or non-compliant translations, protecting your organization from potentially having to face serious legal and financial consequences.
6. Include a Style Guide
Many clients will submit translation requests with style guides. Following these guidelines can ensure that the legal translation will be consistent, accurate and clear, whilst abiding by the client’s requirements.
Some typical guidelines that clients request include:
● Retention of certain words: The client may specify that certain words or phrases –particularly those made in reference to specific trademarks or legal terms– should remain in English.
● Terminology: They may also provide a list of preferred legal terminology or specific terms that the translator must avoid. For example, they might request that ‘plaintiff’ is to be used in place of ‘complainant’ in all instances.
● Use of acronyms and abbreviations: What’s more, clients typically have preferences for how acronyms or abbreviations should be used (i.e., whether they should be spelled out or retained as is).
If you wish to receive an accurate legal translation, it’s critical that you provide a style guide to your translation team. The more clearly you get to communicate your preferences and expectations in the translation style guide the better.
As they say, by “Failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” No style guide or an inadequately prepared one means there’s a higher chance of translation errors to occur, which might lead to legal action being taken against you in the future.
7. Use Trustworthy Translators
Translators need to maintain confidentiality when handling legal content. Whether it’s business transactions, private company information or accounting matters, this data is highly confidential and should be treated with an utmost level of care. If the information were to leak or be passed on to someone else, it could be detrimental for the company. For this reason, clients need to trust their translators and ensure that their content is in safe hands.
To ensure that your legal translation service provider will handle your legal documents with care, make sure to check what confidentiality protocols and processes they follow. That includes:
● Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): Reputable legal translation agencies typically have translators and staff sign NDAs. These agreements legally bind individuals to keep all client information and documents confidential.
● Compliance with Data Protection Laws: Any sound legal translation agency should be aware of and comply with data protection laws in the jurisdictions they operate in. This covers GDPR in Europe, HIPAA in the United States, and similar regulations in other regions.
● Data protection tools: To prevent unauthorized access to sensitive documents during transmission, agencies often use secure file transfer protocols such as SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) or FTPS (FTP Secure) to encrypt and transfer files securely between clients and translators.
8. Make Sure You Have the Necessary Translation Technology Tools
Most legal documents are time-sensitive. This holds particularly true when documents like court filings or contracts are concerned; these document types most often come with imminent deadlines that must be adhered to no matter what.
Having access to the right translation technology tools can make all the difference in ensuring that these deadlines are not only met but also that the translation process remains efficient and accurate.
Your chosen translator or translation agency should be tech-savvy and have the necessary translation technology solutions to streamline the translation process and deliver high-quality translations in a timely manner. This includes proficiency in translation software, terminology databases and translation management tools to facilitate collaboration and meet the demanding requirements of legal translations.
Get your Legal Documents Translation-Ready Today – Pangea Global Legal Translation Services
At Pangea Global, we provide legal translation services in over 75+ languages. With expertise spanning the financial, medical, real estate and 7 other industries, we’ve got the right background and talent to translate a myriad of different document types, including shareholder agreements, court case documents, resolutions, sentences, bank statements, and a lot more.
As an ISO 17100-certified agency, we handpick our translators based on strict evaluation standards to provide you with only the best possible quality result so you remain compliant with local laws and regulations and stay out of legal trouble.
To find out more about what we can do for you, get in touch to speak to a member of our team!