Translating Legal Knowledge to Interested Groups

Last Updated On: June 19, 2017

inTranslation Tips

Legal knowledge

Legal knowledge

Translations provided by legal document translation services may be necessary in certain situations. When they are, it requires exceptional knowledge on the part of the legal translator, working for professional translation services to ensure the correct meaning is conveyed in the translated document.


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Sometimes, it is easy for the legal translator to find language equivalents that perform a satisfactory function but there are other times when the most suitable words or phrases are not completely equal in meaning. When this happens, the translator has to carefully analyse the context of the text or even a live situation such as a police interview or a court room proceedings before deciding on what words best fit the real meaning.

The true understanding of legal concepts and their equivalence in other languages is based upon the translator’s prior knowledge of translating similar texts and situations and how effective certain language structures have been in matching language equivalents. There is no such thing as a complete language equivalent in legal translations as situations that involve the use of legal language are so dependent on the exact context when the language is used such as a courtroom situation. If the situation in a courtroom is misinterpreted by the translator, this could have a profound effect on those involved in the courtroom event.

Translators are not able to avoid taking responsibility for translation choices and the social effects that may be borne out of their translations. There are certain events such as those that take place in police stations and law courts that are wide open to interpretation. The ideology and observations of the translator may introduce bias that may result in an inaccurate translation of events. Translators are themselves aware of the constraints of providing an accurate and unbiased translation and even constant practice in the same situations and with similar documents does not necessarily provide a blueprint for translations produced in similar situations at a later date. When looking for a good legal document translation service provider it is important to stress the importance of the accuracy of translation to the person chosen to do the job.

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