How Risky Can Legal Translation Be?
Legal translation does not only require a good knowledge of the source and native knowledge of the target language, as well as a professional qualification in translation. Other important attributes of a legal translator include a solid foundation in the legal system or systems involved, as well as a high degree of professionalism and discretion.
When we say translation, it is about the process of making the text of the text document comprehensible in another language. This idea is applicable in the legal translation process, as well; it is always applicable to any other translation field, too. However, when dealing with the legal translation field, we do not simply translate the text document or words into a more understandable language, but we convert the text document into (potential) a very different legal system, all within a given legal field. Legal translation could be quite risky and a big job to tackle. Legally speaking, producing poor translation in the legal field could be a potential danger to the lawyers, who use the legal text materials.
Languages and laws are both closely related to the culture of a society. Thus, the textual structure of the translated materials within the law should suit the particular culture of the target language. Producing a well-structured translated legal text will be more understandable and will gain more respect with the clients.
When dealing with international issues, a lawyer should undergo first some different procedures, and that is the main building block regarding the legal system. Thus, the entire process includes as well how accurate and professional the legal translation is. Legal translation requires a professional and expert translator that has a wide knowledge about syntax and has the ability to provide† good sentence structure in the target language.† In addition, a legal translator should have knowledge of the relevant legal system(s), accuracy in legal writing, should have good skills and knowledge about terminologies.
We all know that each legal system has its own vocabulary and terminologies. Thus, legal translation is not just about translating the text word-by-word. Indeed, translation is the full job of the translator, whether finding a most accurate term of words from the source text that donít have a direct correspondence in the target language. In translation, a translator should know how to use his or her technical translation ability or knowledge.
A translator should also know about legal manners and traditions. There are some legal materials that are authoritative in terms of translation. Authoritative law documents such as treaties and conventions or contracts are commonly confidential. Thus, a translator must have the a high degree of professionalism to be successful in the translation business.
Literally speaking, legal translation is about dealing with laws and civil rights. Thus, legal translation is not a joke. In fact, if a certain translator is not skilled enough in the legal translation field, this could represent a potential danger for her or him for accepting the job. Accurate legal translation is necessary and thus, hiring a professional legal translator is needed, and that should actually be the law!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation, a leading international translation agency.