Translating legal documents is a relatively difficult task and a challenge even for translators who have experience with legal translations. Because of their linguistic structure, legal translations require a high level of understanding, accuracy and exactness, and they represent one of the most demanding types of translation.
Articles of Association, Memorandums of Association, various adjudications, lawsuits, evidence, litigation documents, and the most diverse types of contracts and laws are just some of the documents which are often translated. When translating such documents, translators have to not only be familiar with the terminology, but also know about legal requirements and the legal situation in the county of the target language. This type of translation, as well as many other types of specialized translations, often requires consultations with experts/jurists, and due to its specific nature and internally used terminology, consultations with clients are often desirable as well.
Even though translating is in itself a complex activity, legal translations are a much more strict process where the consequences of even the most minor mistakes can cause bigger problems.
One should always bear in mind that the original text follows the norms of one system and culture, while, on the other hand, the translated text will be used by a person familiar with another legal system and language. Precisely because of these differences in legal systems, we can see that certain legal phrases do not have their equivalent forms in a foreign language, so it is up to the translators to find an appropriate term or phrase which can adequately replace those in the original text.
More examples proving the highly specific nature of legal translations is the fact that translators are often faced with short deadlines for delivery and “strictly confidential“ designations these document often entail.
In line with the above, professional translators need to have legal training, they need to be linguists skilled in legal matters who can successfully translate a legal text so it would not deviate from the original context, even when literal translation is not possible due to differences in the states’ legal systems.