How Legal Translation Services Protect Your Global Brand
Your company’s brand is growing globally—and that’s great news. But international growth can also cause an increase in legal issues. Even routine legal matters take on additional complexity when they require translation. Having an agency specialized in legal translation services on your side can prove extremely valuable in the long run.
The Importance of Competent Legal Translation
According to a study by Norton Rose Fulbright, litigation is on the rise around the world. Legal issues are an unfortunate by-product of increased globalization. There are two major reasons for this:
- Difficult market conditions due to low oil prices have made some companies more litigious.
- Industries worldwide face an increased threat of regulatory disputes due to an increased volume of regulations.
Banking, finance, and energy industries face high levels of cross-border litigation. But any company, even a relatively small startup, faces potential legal issues and litigation when entering a foreign market.
The Unique Challenges of Cross-Border Litigation
Litigation is often a slow process—even when both parties speak the same language! If translation is needed, the process often goes even slower.
Legal translation services must be as fast as possible, but without sacrificing accuracy. An article from Slator details how errors in legal translation can literally become a life or death issue in a criminal case.
But even in civil litigation, a translation error can dramatically affect the outcome of the case. Every word matters in a court of law.
And there can be a lot of words. Discovery and litigation typically result in a huge volume of documents which must be translated, reviewed, and then submitted for disclosure.
What is the Most Common Approach to Legal Translation?
There are two ways to handle a large volume of legal documents in varying languages. Many organizations will attempt to evaluate the documents in-house as much as possible before buying legal translation services.
First, the legal team will process the English-language documents. Often, this alone is a fairly time-intensive process.
Foreign documents are then read by in-house speakers when available. If unavailable, the legal team will have to turn to either fluent contract attorneys or document reviewers for a first-pass review.
This first-pass review will produce an accurate but often relatively simple translation of documents the reviewers determined to be relevant. These translated documents are given to the case team for a second-pass review.
The legal team then determines what documents are necessary for a deposition, legal brief, or otherwise relevant for a hearing or a trial.
All selected documents then have to be translated again. Only now the translation must be certified. According to the American Translators Association, a certified translation is one where the translator signs a document swearing the translation is accurate and complete.
The problem with this approach is it often ends up being rushed. First, document translation is pushed back in favor of evaluating the English ones first. Plus, the legal team must heavily rely on the expertise of the first-pass team to successfully recognize relevant documents.
Important documents must often be translated at the last minute. As turnaround times become more urgent, and faithful translation more important, you can wind up paying a fortune for legal translation services.
How Can Legal Translation Services Help?
A legal translation agency is often faster and more effective than an in-house team. They can quickly translate a high volume of documents with the help of technology.
Machine translation (MT) isn’t going to be accurate enough for the final certified translation. But with professional oversight, MT allows for much faster initial document processing.
Legal translation services can quickly translate all foreign-language documents into English, which means English-speaking document reviewers can be used during the first-pass review. They’re typically much more affordable than bilingual reviewers located in foreign countries.
Plus, completing the first-pass translation quickly gives translators more time to develop certified translations. The extra time not only typically leads to increased accuracy, but your company will save because you’re not placing rush orders.
The Benefits of Qualified Human Translators Who Understand MT
You can’t simply dump legal documents into Google Translate and expect to get usable results. Instead, you’ll need to hire legal translation services. These human professionals will handle all the machine translation.
You’ll want a company with experience in legal translation. They should be familiar with the legal terminology used and other relevant concepts. While you’re not hiring them for their legal expertise, basic legal proficiency is a must.
Additionally, make sure the company can handle the documents with all necessary confidentiality. Data storage must be secure, and employees must be carefully screened.
Of course, translation plays an important role beyond legal issues. If your company is expanding into a foreign market, a translation service can be an invaluable partner.
Interested in more? Check out this white paper on how to choose the best translation company for international expansion.