Translating for the legal industry is often complex, requiring a depth of knowledge of technical terms and their underlying meanings that far surpasses other fields. In the legal industry, perhaps more than in any other, professional translations are necessary to ensure understanding and avoid significant potential liability associated with inaccurate information or misleading translations.
To ensure consistent quality and standards, many global companies implement a code of conduct for every member of their supply chain to follow. This also ensures consistency through the imposition and compliance of ethical standards. When all supply chain members are guided by the same principles, they can act in a manner consistent with the business’ core values.
Marketing to non-English-speaking or English as a Second Language (ESL) clientele opens up the possibilities for a much wider and diverse client base. However, not understanding the tactics needed to reach this market successfully can lead to disappointment. There are an estimated 37 million Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. alone, with another 10 million that speak one of the other top 8 non-English languages. There are benefits to understanding how to reach and communicate with this largely untapped market.
No one wants to be wrongly accused and found guilty of a crime they didn't commit. Those who are guilty, and trying to repent, should have the chance to explain themselves in court. The ability to comprehend everything in the courtroom is what makes all the difference in a fair trial, after all.
Let's take a look at some court cases gone wrong as a result of mis-interpretation.
Businesses should ask whether they should retain a professional translation service. For instance, courts have previously ruled that employers who have not provided translated documents (such as employee handbooks) that describe central rights or particular employment policies have not given their employees meaningful access to this information. By not having such information in place, these employers face the risk of increased liability when an employee claims not to have been aware of a policy that was designed to protect them. Also, it is important that legal documents are translated by a professional, as mistranslations can become a legal liability.
Some legal terms just don't exist in some countries, and that presents special challenges when legal documents need to be translated. Translating legalese word for word is virtually impossible for conveying the intent of a legal instrument. A depth of knowledge and understanding about the legal systems, cultures and languages of different countries is called for, in order to produce a translation that has the same legal effect in each place.
Lawyers and judges have their own language and though the purpose is clarity, the results aren't always clear to outsiders. But a lot is at stake with that legal lexicon; court challenges can hinge on the interpretation of a few words, even without the additional burden of translating from one language to another. Translating legal documents presents unique challenges and responsibilities for the translator.
Translation and practicing law are both very different vocations, but when it comes to the amount of flexibility that lawyers and translators have in the words they use, there is very little. The word of the law is the word of the law – whether it’s in a statute, a contract, a patent, a confidentiality agreement or a witness statement; the law must be accurate in every language. Ensuring that legal terms are correct in the language they are being translated into is always vital, but sometimes challenging to achieve.
With the inherent complexity of the English language consider the difficulties in expressing English legal terms into other languages through translation. There are cultural inconsistencies in legal translation that often come up. English terms at times do not have offer direct translation in some languages. For example, the Greek language offers no equivalent term for "fiduciary." Should someone in your organization suggest machine translation as a viable solution for legal translation, tell them to reconsider.
It is critical that companies choose the appropriate language service when opting to translate a product or service or your website for different countries and regions. Dynamic Language offers translation, localization and transcreation services. No particular service type is "better" than another. Rather, each is appropriate for varying circumstances.
Let’s take a quick look at when is the most appropriate time to utilize each written language service type.
Figuring out how to serve process in a foreign country takes a little know-how.
Serving process means delivering legal notice to someone which requires that person to appear in court. When you sue someone, you need to notify them legally that they are being sued and need to appear in court.
In the U.S., serving process is fairly simple - just find the person and deliver the summons. When serving process to someone outside the country, however, it gets much more complex. Different countries all have their own requirements for legal matters, and they must be followed in order to pursue legal action.
Apparatus often used by a court interpreter.
According to the latest census data, there are over 13 million people in the U.S. who don't speak English well enough to communicate with legal counsel. These numbers have tripled in the last 30 years while overall population growth during that time has only been about 38%. Two-thirds of non-English speakers speak Spanish. Other languages that have increased are Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Persian, Armenian, Korean, and Tagalog. Hindi and Swahili have also increased significantly.
Lawyers representing clients who don't speak English well can run into problems that may present risks to their practices. Some of these risks may also occur when the client speaks English, but witnesses or other parties in the litigation do not.
The issues that arise when lawyers represent non-English speaking clients are possible breach of confidentiality, the possibility that the translator has an independent agenda, and accuracy.
Patent filing requirements are different in different countries.
When something new is invented in America, most people know they should file a patent to prevent anyone else from copying that idea and using it to sell products and make money based on that idea. What many people might not know is that their U.S. patent gives them no ultimate protection outside the United States of America.
To fully protect a new invention, it is necessary to file additional patents for any countries outside the U.S. in which you plan to market the product. There are some treaties in place that make this easier, but it is important to know the rules for each treaty and each foreign country in order to stay protected.
Financial documents may contain specialized language best handled by a skilled translator.
Evidentiary and financial documents are official documents that deal with important matters - matters related to money or pending legal cases that could have serious consequences for the parties involved. When evidentiary and financial documents are presented in a language that you don't understand, professional legal translation services offer the best path toward everyone understanding the meaning and intent of the documents in question.
Following are some important reasons to consider using professional translation services for financial and evidentiary documents:
Legal cases in other countries present difficulties with language.
In legal proceedings, the discovery process is the way each side finds evidence and obtains information that the other side will be using in their case. Attorneys use various procedural devices during the discovery process including investigations and subpoenas.
The discovery process can be important in narrowing the issues of a lawsuit to only what is relevant to the case and proceedings. Discovery can also lead to the settlement of the lawsuit before the trial once both sides see the evidence and information the other side has in its possession. It often doesn't make sense to proceed with the lawsuit or defense of it when you know that the other side has a stronger case than you do.
It is never wise to sign a contract until you are 100% sure what it says.
When working to secure patents or legal agreements like contracts in other countries, language barriers are obstacles that must be carefully navigated. There are several ways to get documents translated, with varying degrees of success.
International adoptions involve lots of paperwork and documentation.
International adoptions are complicated, time-consuming and expensive. They involve specific requirements and regulations that must be followed completely in order to have a successful adoption. Many of these regulations were made to protect children from fraud and abuse such as human trafficking. Adoption laws have become increasingly strict in an attempt to exclude adoptions that may be harmful to children.
The Importance of Knowing the Laws and Regulations
It is important to know all the regulations governing international adoptions that are pertinent to your situation. The country in which the child lives, your home country, and (in the U.S.) the state in which you reside all have laws and regulations governing adoptions that must be followed. In your home country and state, the language used for documentation and regulation should be familiar to you, but understanding the regulations and laws of the adoptive child's country can be a problem.