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Why is Translating a Legal Document So Complex?

Regardless of the language, legal translation is probably one of, if not the hardest forms of translation. And there are a few reasons for this. Legal jargon is complex, technical, contextual, and often harder to understand compared to other types of documents. Because of this, it’s no surprise that legal documents are often the most time-consuming and expensive to translate. Along with being harder to translate, the translation of legal documents will often mean that for the company ordering the translation, there’s a lot of money at stake. For example, many businesses need to sign contracts for supplies, trade, or services with companies that are located overseas. This will include the involvement of a financial translation and a native legal translator.

What is a Legal Document?

A legal document is any document prepared by a legal professional, business, or individual to conduct an activity. In lots of cases, legal documents are prepared by a solicitor or in some cases, a group of solicitors in order to conduct a partnership, agreement, or other business transaction. Legal documents are defined as any document that concerns a legal matter, or a document drawn up by a legal professional such as a solicitor. A contract is the most common form of legal document, which can take several forms. For example, when a company is hiring an employee, they will sign a contract that includes the various terms that are agreed to between the employer and the employee.

Common Problems with Legal Translations

When it comes to ordering a legal translation, there are often several common problems that might come up due to the complexity of these documents and the need for accuracy to be upheld in any language. There is also the question of translating the document accurately for use in another country, where laws may differ from the original country. For more information, or to get a quote for a legal translation, check out the legal translation with Rosetta Translation.

Complex Jargon

Legal translation can be quite complex, not least because of the jargon used. While there are a few factors that can contribute to how complex it can be to translate a legal document accurately, the legal jargon is often one of the biggest reasons behind it. It can often differ, based on the type of legal document to be translated. Each language around the world has its own legal jargon and formats, so when it comes to translating a legal document, this must also be kept in mind – it’s not possible to simply translate it in the same way you would a regular article, for example.

Not for the Average Reader

Legal language and jargon are not always clear to the average reader, which is another reason why it can be complicated to translate. In fact, legal documents can be so complex that English language professors might have trouble reading them. Legal language is designed to be read by experienced law professionals, which is why it is so sophisticated. Because of this, a legal document in another language that is translated should be translated into a complex, legal language in the other tongue.

Complex Structures

Another element that adds to how challenging legal documents can be to translate is the fact that complex sentence structures are often used in legal documents. Run-on sentences are not uncommon, and legal language is often made up of very long sentences with various non-defining clauses, along with a range of generally complex terms. This can make these documents much harder to translate compared to your average article.

Can be Time-Consuming

Since legal translation is very complex, it usually requires a lot of time to not only translate the document but also to review it. Once the translation process has been completed, the reviewer must then go over the complexities to ensure that the translation is correct. Many translation agencies will then pass the document on to an experienced legal professional who speaks the language that the document has been translated into, who will review the legal document or contract before it is completed.

Risk of Legal Problems

One of the biggest issues faced when it comes to legal translation is that the documents must be completely accurate. When there is any mistranslation of a word, phrase or sentence, this can in some cases lead to serious legal trouble. In legal translation, precision is key as a simple grammatical addition such as a hyphen or comma might impact the flow or give new meaning to a part of the document in another language.

An Updated Legal Glossary is Required

The legal translator, whether they work independently or as a part of a translation agency, should have an up-to-date legal glossary in order for the legal translation to be completed accurately. It’s important that they have a glossary that is updated regularly and relates to the legal industry, allowing the translator to know what they are looking for, and become familiar with legal terms in a shorter period of time.

A Specialist Native Legal Translator is Needed

Due to the above reasons for why legal translation can be so complex, for a legal translation task to be carried out successfully, it will usually require an experienced, specialist, native translator. While there are lots of translators available to work for you these days, legal translators are few and far between. This is because, to be successful with legal translation, requires a specific mindset, a lot of patience, and a lot of expertise when it comes to dealing with complex writing. Becoming a good legal translator takes a lot of time, practice, patience, and strong attention to detail. Because of this, it might take longer for you or your company to find a suitable individual or company that can provide a legal translation service that upholds the high standards you need.

There are many reasons why a legal document may need to be translated into a different language. However, legal translation can be complicated and time-consuming, for various reasons. So, start early and take your time to find the ideal translation service for you.



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