Legal document translations are of high importance as one mistranslated word could change the entire meaning of the original content. This could cause a minor or major problem depending on the type of document being dealt with. No matter the significance or status of a document, they should all be treated with the same amount of accuracy.
Here are some tips for legal translators to consider:
1. Understand the different legal systems
There are five different legal systems globally which include: civil law, common law, customary law, religious law, and mixed legal systems. These may vary in different places but translators should have a good understanding of the legal systems within the country of the language they are translating. Legal translators need to know more than just the language as common knowledge regarding legal concepts is also very important.
2. Ensure perfect spelling and punctuation to avoid mistakes
As mentioned above, mistakes must be avoided at all costs. It might sound a little pressurising but it is to be ingrained in the mind for a smooth process.
3. Linguistic knowledge is key
Linguistic knowledge is necessary when it comes to factors such as idioms, syntax, slang, and punctuation as it could change the meaning of certain phrases which could cause confusion and issues.
4. Know your legal jargon and terminology
Regarding jargon and terminology, the right terms have to be used. Otherwise, it could go downhill for the client and undermine the legitimacy of the document which can lead to it being void.
5. Be prepared to go through evidence
There are a range of documents a legal translator might work with such as: financial documents, Invoices, transcripts, patents, witness statements and more. These documents may have to be submitted as evidence in cases so the translator will have to go through related documents such as court transcripts.