Translating Legalese: Why You Need a Specialist

Translating Legalese: Why You Need a Specialist

In many areas of translation, you can get away with a competent generalist translator with language expertise and experience of translation. However, for some subjects, such as legal or medical translation, the situation is quite different. You need a translator with additional skills, understanding and specialist expertise. If you require legal translation, the professional you choose to work with must have the additional skills and qualifications to produce legal documents and must understand legalese in both the source language and the target language as well as having an understanding of the legal systems of both languages. In this article, we look at what makes translating legalese different and what you need from a legal translator.

What makes legal translation different from other types of translation?

One of the most challenging aspects of legal translation is that the legal landscape is inevitably very different across languages. For example, the UK's legal system and legal requirements are very different from that of China. What makes this even more complicated is that even countries that speak the same language might not be in the same jurisdiction or have very different cultures, for instance the common law jurisdiction of Hong Kong and prevalence of Traditional Chinese writing compared to the civil law system of China and the prevalence of Simplified Chinese writing despite technically the two locales being part of the same country.

With other types of translation, you are translating from one language to another. With legal translation, you must translate the language but also interpret and meet very specific legal requirements. You are translating between languages and cultures, as well as between legal systems.

How does the process for translating legalese differ?

In order to accurately translate a document from one language to another, the translator must have the correct processes and procedures in place to make sure there are no errors. A legal translator will need access to specific tools, resources and information to ensure an accurate and legally compliant translation. 

A legal translator must firstly ensure that the document in the source language is accurate and correct. They must then translate the document into the target language, paying attention to any specific nuances in both languages that may impact the accuracy of the translation. 

The translator must then check the legal requirements of the jurisdiction the translation will be used in, to ensure it meets all legal requirements. In law, language is extremely  important, so the translator must pay great attention and understand legalese in the target language to make sure the document reads well. 

What do you need from your legal translator?

Specialism in legal translation

Most importantly, you need a legal translator with experience and understanding of your legal translation project area. Our legal translators have many years of experience in legal translation and not only have exceptional language skills, but thorough knowledge of the legal system and specialist legal terminology, as well as specialisation across various practice areas. We will match you with a translator who understands the legal system and culture where your translation will be used, or where the document was created, and has particular experience in the practice area required by your project. We ensure your documents are clear and precise, so that even the most nuanced points don’t get lost in translation. 

Practice area-specific experience

Unlike many other translation firms, we focus only on the legal sector, providing legal translation services across many practice areas. We recognise all law firms require an understanding of different practice areas such as banking, dispute resolution, intellectual property, private equity, real estate, and litigation, and we are able to translate across all of these areas and more through our network of highly-qualified linguist experts. Our team has built an impressive reputation by providing fast, accurate translations with an excellent understanding of our clients' needs. 

Technology and efficiency

One thing that solicitors know all too well is that meeting strict deadlines is imperative. Fortunately, technology now allows legal translators to move quicker than ever before to meet demanding deadlines. At IMD Translation, we embrace technology and implement the best systems available on the market to improve the quality of our work and to help us meet crucial deadlines for our clients. Many of the UK’s top law firms instruct us regularly to deal with translation for them because they know we have the skill to work quickly, whilst providing the highest quality services.

Contact IMD Translation

At IMD Translation, we are pleased to offer fast, reliable and accurate translation services to UK professional service firms, including law firms and solictiors. All of our legal translators are highly qualified in legal translation. They have a native understanding of the language and in-depth comprehension of the legal practice area they work in.

We can help you with matters related to family law, commercial law, personal injury, immigration, intellectual property, probate and criminal law. Contact us today to get a quote for your legal translation service needs.