How to ensure that you always receive reliable and precise legal translations

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How to ensure that you always receive reliable and precise legal translations

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If you have a document that needs to be translated into another language, for legal purposes, it is essential that your translation is both precise and accurate. It must be a translation that you can rely on.

You may be tempted to opt for a low-cost, untrained translator hoping to avoid the perceived inconvenience, time and expense involved in using a linguist that is both professional and qualified. However, if you do, you risk receiving a translation that may be inaccurate and imprecise which can easily lead to serious consequences.

The only way to guarantee that your translation is precise and reliable is to ensure that you always engage the services of an appropriately qualified linguist.

A qualified linguist will combine a thorough understanding of legal matters with an appreciation of the nuances of how words are used in the target language, or how the context of a word can change its meaning (For example, in English, the word “fly” can be a verb or a noun. When is a “wise guy” a very knowledgable person or a “smart alec”? This sort of confusion can be common in other languages, too.)

The benefits of using an appropriately qualified linguist

There is a very real danger that inaccurately translated information could lead to incorrect legal decisions being made. So, you can see why it is vital that such documents must mean exactly the same in the translated language as they do in the original. Only a professional translator can provide this service.

The benefits of using an appropriately qualified professional legal translator include:

  1. Legal status – if the document is translated by a suitably qualified legal translator the translated document is considered for many purposes equal in legal effect to the original;
  2. Background – a professional, legal translator is likely to be somebody who has experience of working in the legal profession and are likely to possess a law degree, LLB qualifications, and they could be a solicitor or barrister;
  3. Mother tongue translators – a suitably qualified legal translator will be someone who has a legal background and who are translating into their mother tongue language. This is the language that they grew up speaking and means that they understand the nuances of the language as well as local customs and practices. As a consequence, they are able to provide you with the best translation possible;
  4. Confidentiality – confidentiality in legal matters is vital. A professional legal translator will be bound by confidentiality agreements and use encryption software and other strategies to ensure your information is protected completely from unwelcome intrusion;
  5. Efficiency – if you are knowledgeable in the topic being translated you may be tempted to undertake translation yourself. However it is simply so much quicker to pass this job on to a skilled, qualified and expert legal translator and let them provide you with a thorough, expert and professional translation you can rely on;

The dangers of using a poorly qualified translator

In the same way that there are distinct benefits of using a professional translator, there are also  dangers in not using one. These include:

  1. Lack of precision – your legal document may not say precisely what it needs to say, leading to problems later on such as delays and hold-ups;
  2. Incorrect legal decisions – if a decision is made, based on an inaccurate translation it may influence the outcome of court cases inappropriately, leading to miscarriages of Justice, the imprisonment of innocent people and fines and other punishments being levied on innocent people;
  3. Legal action – it is possible that legal action may be taken against the individual responsible for making the translation;
  4. Security and confidentiality – you cannot be sure that the confidentiality of your material is guaranteed;