Why Professional Expertise is Crucial for Legal Translation?
Legal translation can make or break your startup’s international growth. If you have decided to enter a new market, you shall be ready to face their legal system as well. A professional translation service can facilitate time-to-market and save you millions preventing an involuntary breach of other country’s requirements.
The Importance of Legal Translation
Legal translation is pointed out as the most sought-after type of translation services in the 2018 edition of the European Language Industry survey. As most legal writing is bound by specific terminology and is exact and technical, it is of high importance to render the absolutely same meaning in the other language.
Because of the specific nature of the translation, many institutions prefer to use translators who have a background in the field of law, either in terms of education or in terms of practice. The Court of Justice of the European Union, for example, employs 609 lawyer-linguists to translate written documentation as revealed in their 2017 Annual Report.
Similarly, your startup needs professional legal translators who can make sure that your product, marketing message, and overall company values are properly presented in a foreign language while taking into account the peculiarities of the target country’s legal system.
An experienced translator will make sure to present you with a final translation that complies with all the aspects of the target language specifications while bearing the exact same meaning of the source language.
Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass said “Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.” While he referred to literary translation at that time, the statement is fully compliant with the principles of legal translation.
Professional legal translators know how to refer to terminology, names of documents, acts, or regulations in order to avoid confusion and thus prevent costly mistakes.
Imagine that you rely on unprofessional translation for your new product’s description. A simple confusion of the two English synonyms guarantee and warranty when translated into German, may lead to costly claims on behalf of end users. There is a significant difference of the two terms in German with warranty being a compulsory written clause part of the sales contract, while guarantee being a prerequisite that depends entirely on the seller whether to include it as a clause in the contract or not.
This mistranslation can result in a customer claim for replacing/refunding an item based on a clause that you have never intended to be included in the sales contract you have entered and that you may even be unaware of.
The financial burden on your startup after a possible lawsuit based on mistranslation will certainly outpace the investment in a professional translation service.
How Professional Legal Translation Services Can Help Your Startup Grow Globally?
When it comes to legal translations, the value of the human element is significant. A linguist, trained in law, will avoid a literal translation of terminology and offer a final product that is ready to be used in a foreign environment without causing misunderstanding or ambiguity.
The aim of the legal translation is to provide a text that will be interpreted by legal experts in the same way in the source language as it will be in the target language.
The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies focuses on the importance of the legal translator’s expertise on institutional, political, and economic context of the target country. This knowledge can help your startup end up with immaculate documentation and establish its brand when making business abroad.
It is much easier to sell a new product or service if you present it in the language of the target customers. When all the accompanying content such as product description, manuals, sales contracts, and the like are properly translated, you can expect no delays in launching your marketing and sales campaigns.
Is Machine Translation an Option for Legal Documents?
Being a startup with a limited budget, you might get tempted to use free online services such as Google Translate for your legal documentation. That is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make, as Norwegian oil-and-gas company Statoil (now Equinor) realized in August 2017, when part of their company information leaked as a result of improper translation storage and was available through Google search as NRK reports.
Machine translation in general and free online tools in particular should be used mainly for general purposes and you need to keep in mind that the quality of the translation produced varies.
Automated tools are more likely to produce a verbatim translation, which is not a viable option for an important legal document, be it a labor contract or court testimonials. Simply rendering a text word for word from one language to another will miss important aspects and nuances of the legal terminology that may cause trouble and entail lawsuits or demand other costly remedies.
While machine translation can be a tool to ease the financial burden on your translation and localization costs, it is essential for the service to be provided by an established translation agency. You can find more tips on organizing your localization projects in our free whitepaper “How to Choose a Translation Company That’s Right for Your International Expansion Strategy”.