legal translation

5 Most Common Challenges Faced in Legal Translation

  • Categories: Translation
  • Written By: Torjoman
  • Date: March 12, 2023

The legal language or legalese is a special language that has its unique jargon, terminologies, style, and structures. Therefore, whenever you need legal translation, you have to know that the task will never be as easy as it is the case for other types of translations. This means that you have to selectively pick a legal translator with extensive subject-matter expertise and huge knowledge of the legal systems of both the source and target languages in particular and of international law in general.

Obviously, legal translators should have special qualifications which make the legal translation a specialist field among the different types of translation services.

Torjoman prides itself on having experienced and knowledgeable translators in the legal industry who can provide you with legal translations that conform to the highest standards.

We will discuss, in this article, the difficulties of legal translation that translators usually face and how to overcome them. However, let us first define legal translation and highlight its importance.

What is Legal Translation?

Legal translation refers to the translation of any type of legal document that is issued by persons, specific authorities, or lawyers to be used for official purposes. The following are some examples of such documents:

  • Contracts
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage and divorce certificates
  • Immigration documents
  • Legal texts
  • Court statements

Because of the sensitivity of the information such documents contain, not every translator is allowed to perform legal translation. Any mistranslations in this field may lead to unwanted results such as delays, rejections, fines, and other repercussions.

To avoid any inaccuracies, legal translators should have exceptional competencies to be able to handle such kinds of documents. The following are the most important skills a legal translator should have:

  1. Solid knowledge of legal terminologies
  2. Being a Native speaker of the target language, and preferably a resident of the target country
  3. Complete awareness of both the source and target languages’ legal systems
  4. Punctuality in delivering the final translated texts

What Are the Difficulties of Legal Translation?

Although most legal translators are highly qualified, there are still many challenges they may encounter during the process of translation. Let’s illuminate some of them.

Different Legal Terminologies

The legal language has special terminologies that translators should know by heart when translating legal documents either within one country or two different countries.

Indeed, each country has its own legal terminologies which may change over time. Consequently, a legal translator should be entirely aware of the legal terminologies of both the source and target languages so that the translated document can be understood rightly in the target country.

Adhering to the Right Formatting

One of the most challenging tasks a legal translator may face is selecting the right formatting when translating a legal document. Normally, legal translators adhere to the format of the original document while making sure that all the legal terminologies are accurately translated into the target legal language. However, some countries have different preferences in the formats of legal documents which translators should be aware of.

Hence, experienced and skillful translators should only be hired for such difficult tasks to be able to deliver a document with accurately translated legal terms that can be totally understood and accepted by legal practitioners in the target country.

Meeting Strict Deadlines

Legal documents have strict timescales because they are likely to be submitted to an official authority. Thus, any delays in performing the translation of such documents will lead to unpleasant consequences for both the client and the translator.

To mitigate such difficulty, translators should have enough experience to be able to deal with any complexities that may arise during the process of legal translation.

Using the Appropriate Tone

Another challenge that many translators may not notice is using the right tone and style when rendering a legal document from one language into another. Translators should receive extensive training on how to deal with different styles of legal documents and know how to avoid the active voice in most legal translations while keeping the original meaning intact.

The Continuous Changes in Laws and Legal Systems

Since laws are unstable, having a demonstrated knowledge of the legal systems and laws of both the source language and the target language is not quite enough. In fact, laws and legal systems change. Countries amend or change laws every now and then which intensifies the necessity to be up-to-date with any changes that occur.

This also requires the translator to continuously update their glossaries and translation memories to avoid any inaccuracies.

To conclude, legal translation is a very sensitive field of translation that requires translators with outstanding and profound legal experience and knowledge of different legal systems, otherwise, the translations will be inaccurate and lead to big misunderstandings and legal implications.

Torjoman offers you top-notch legal translation services for any type of legal document. Talk to us today!

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