International contracts – the devil is in the translation

International contracts – the devil is in the translation

Navigating the international legal system can be complicated; it requires in-depth knowledge of jurisdictions, legislation, regulations, customs and procedures. However, it is also essential that you have the support of an effective and knowledgeable legal translation team to ensure your contracts are accurate. 

When it comes to contract law, the devil is often in the details, and in an international context, adherence to timescales, procedures and formalities can have a huge impact on the outcome of a case. Studies have shown that around 21% of legal errors are connected to a mistake in document preparation, demonstrating that even with a flawless legal basis for your case, the basics of document preparation and translation are vital. 

In this article, we look at why it is essential to instruct professional legal translation services when it comes to international contracts, to avoid putting your business or your clients' business at risk. 

The importance of detail in international contract translation

Consider how carefully contracts are drafted in their original language. Each word is carefully chosen to ensure the parties' interests are reflected accurately and that should anything go wrong, the parties are protected, and there is a clear route to finding a solution. This selection of words must be just as careful when the document is translated.

Translating legal documents differs from translating other documents. In law, specific language, terminology, phrasing, and even grammar are important and can have a huge impact on the legal consequences of a clause. Legalese can differ not only between jurisdictions but between regions, industries, sectors and in some cases, even cities or states. Translation of international contracts requires in-depth and specific understanding of the legalese of both jurisdictions, as well as the procedures, formalities and customs. 

Avoiding errors

It is crucial to understand that even a seemingly minor mistake can have a huge impact. Translation errors and even formatting errors can result in contracts being rejected, delays at the beginning of a project and could incur costs or penalties for your client. Not to mention the potential for dispute. It is important to get international contract translation right first time, or you could leave your client vulnerable. Furthermore, you put the reputation of your firm at risk. If clients cannot rely on the quality and accuracy of your international contracts service, you could be putting your firm's financial future at risk. The support of a specialist legal translation service can help your business succeed. 

Choosing a translator for international contracts

It is clear that accurate legal translation is essential when it comes to international contracts, but how do you choose a legal translator to assist you? Your translation provider must have an in-depth understanding of the practice area, legal systems and legalese, and preferably experience translating international contracts specifically for the industry or sector your client is working in. 

Depending on the documentation required, your translator may also need to be able to provide a certified translation, which is required by many business courts or government agencies - for example, for intellectual property. Certified translation may be required to give additional security to the parties who rely on the documents that the translation meets a certain standard. 

Not all certified translations are produced to the same quality; there are additional indicators of accurate, quality translation that solicitors can look for to guide them in choosing a translator for their international contracts. 

ISO 17100

ISO 17100 is designed for the translation industry. The certification sets international standards for quality, and outlines requirements for every part of the translation process. 

Find our more about why ISO 17100 is so important when choosing a translation service. 

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is a certification that a business is committed to building and complying with excellent processes, in particular a Quality Management System (QMS). 

When a legal translation service has ISO 9001 certification, their processes and improvement of their QMS are monitored by an independent auditor in order for them to maintain certification. Importantly for those instructing international contract translation services, ISO 9001 is designed to help clients identify service providers committed to meeting their customers' needs, improving the quality of their services, and analysing any potential problem areas. 

Contact IMD Translation

If you require an international contract translation, we can help. Our experienced translators understand the importance of getting contracts right first time, and have the attention to detail and experience you need. We offer a fast turnaround, exceptional accuracy, and high-quality service. To discuss your requirements with us today, please contact us today.