What is a legal translation?
In fact, it is a separate field of translation activity. In other words, it is the translation of documents regulating legal relations and used for the exchange of information between specialists from different countries.
Sure, this type of translation is one of the most complicated, as the translator is required not only to have knowledge of a foreign language but also to have an excellent understanding of jurisprudence and international standards. In fact, the law itself reflects the socio-political and cultural peculiarities of the country, so such work is a non-trivial task.
Indeed, the language of translation must be accurate, precise, and reliable. Accordingly, the level of proficiency of the translator directly affects the result and quality of the legal document to be translated.
Simultaneously with linguistic features, the performer takes into account the specifics of the deal, the industry of civil law relations, the peculiarities of legal systems. A translator engaged in legal translations, no matter how trivial it may sound, should have relevant experience and be oriented in legal issues.
Requirements to a legal translator
Actually, it is optimal if such translator has a legal education. For example, a translator of this direction must comply with the following rules:
1) Competent application of industry terminology;
2) Ability to use standardized text forms, speech turnovers, typical for legal documents of this or that country within a particular legal system;
3) Identification and analysis of differences (lexical, semantic, syntactic, grammatical, etc.) between several languages within each selected language pair;
4) Following the principle of logicality in the presentation of the material used.
During a work documents, specific difficulties may arise, which consist in fixing the exact version of the translated material. Doubtless, the legal system of each country is organized differently and has its peculiarities.
Therefore, documents may use their terms and concepts; find an exact equivalent, which is not always easy in the language of translation. A legal translator starts searching for the optimal correspondence between the original term and the term used in the translated text.
Certainly, a translator may encounter some of the following difficulties:
(1) Inconsistency of wording, which may lead to ambiguities in the definition of certain concepts used in the legal systems of countries with translation in the language of the original material and its translation;
(2) The complexity of search or even lack of adequate translation of terms in the target language;
(3) The presence of socio-cultural peculiarities led to a discrepancy between the texts conventions of the source and source language.
Importance of legal education for legal translator
To perform quality legal translation, the client needs to make sure that the translator has the necessary competence. Here, we approach the requirements for a legal translator. Therefore, this task is best entrusted to a translator who specializes in the relevant field of law and works with the appropriate language pair.
Also, such a translator must also have a legal education. Why is it so important? It’s simple: the transaction will not be registered; there will be property damage, which can lead to civil liability in the form of fines, penalties, fines, and even to legal proceedings.
For example, I engage in translation activity for six years, actively used and resorted to knowledge in the legal specialty. The educational background in Civil Law allows the author to transfer all nuances in the process of translation, including civil law transactions, in the field of civil procedure law, consumer rights protection, business law, protection of intellectual property rights.
My experience of legal translation
Extensive experience of legal translations allows the author to perform [working with English, Chinese, and German] translation of the following documents with high quality:
1) Technical audit contracts;
2) Technical maintenance contracts;
3) Delivery of production line and machine tools contracts;
4) Purchase and sale contracts;
5) Lease agreements;
6) Labor contracts;
7) License agreements;
8) Foundation documents (articles of association, foundation agreement, protocols, certificate of registration);
9) Joint venture agreements;
10) Tender documentation;
11) Statements of claim relating to registration as invalid;
12) Statements of counter claim relating to intellectual property rights;
13) Normative legal acts of government bodies of different countries (laws, regulations, decrees, and rules);
14) Local normative and legal actions (technical standards, regulations);
15) Accompanying documents (powers of attorney, certificates, licenses, etc.).
Difficulties of legal translation
In the process, the translator pays close attention to the following fact. The source text of a legal document is by the norms of a particular legal system (Romano-Germanic legal system is in Europe, Russia; Anglo-American legal system is in England, USA, Canada, Australia).
Certainly, the peculiarities of each legal system influence the legal formulations. Therefore, due to the lack of appropriate lexical equivalents, the translator remembers that text conventions in the source language often depend on cultural peculiarities and may not correspond to the meetings of the translated text.
For example, the translation of a treaty drawn up following the basic principles of the Anglo-American legal system into Russian, i.e., guided by the continental system. Or a completely different example: a Chinese-Russian translation of a claim to an arbitration court in China.
The text of a legal document is prepared in accordance with the rules established by the regulations of its country of origin and uses appropriate language. The version of the translated text must accurately reflect the content of the original and all its legal subtleties. Still, it must follow the rules of a different legal system and separate terms.
Besides, there are great difficulties due to the availability of specialized industry terms. This is due to the variety of branches of law and the specific terminology of each of them. In addition to words, there are also legal cliches – phrases that carry a precise legal meaning.
How to do legal translation in the right way?
Legal translation of such phrases is even more complicated, as it requires a sufficiently in-depth knowledge of the legal system and a competent selection of language constructions. During a work, the translator can use bilingual legal dictionaries. But even here, the translator should always be meticulous: such dictionaries often do not contain a reference to a particular branch of law, which uses this or that term.
Therefore, we come to the necessity of creating a specialized legal glossary for a specific project. Otherwise, any mistake and inaccuracy (typo, minor defect) in the documents may cause significant legal consequences, as mentioned earlier.
So, to sum it up, this publication deals with the peculiarities of translation of legal documents, high importance of professional work in this area; basic requirements to a translator for this activity; brief information on the complexity and problems of legal translation. If you have some difficulties with legal translation, Aleksandr is happy to provide you with a comprehensive answer and start mutually beneficial cooperation.