The makings of a legal translator
Legal translators work on some of the most sensitive and important documents in any organisation. They not only ensure one piece of text is accurately conveyed in another language, but every nuance of the original document is captured without losing its integrity. So as a whole, it’s completely and legally understood in the target language. It’s not for the faint hearted.
So what does it take to be a legal translator? Let’s take a closer look at some of their skills and superpowers.
Translating into their native language
Legal translators, more often than not, are commissioned to translate technical and complex documents into their native language. This is actually a very important because it means they typically have a better understanding and knowledge of the language.
Although it’s not essential for a them to have a graduate degree or masters in law, having experience and expertise in these areas is absolutely essential. After all, it’s a profession that comes with a very specific set of knowledge and skills.
Quick, smart and accurate
Any legal translator worth their weight has an ability to not only dive into complex documentation, but quickly absorb and comprehend it so they can deliver accurate translations required for the job.
It also goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that these people are used to working under immense pressure. In most cases, projects come with a quick turnaround – as we’ve discussed before, it’s one of the common challenges of legal translation.
They will know all too well about the risks involved in mistranslating legal documents. But the bottom line is, legal translators know there is very little (if any) room for error or ambiguity.
Fluent without fault
As well as being fluent in their native tongue, legal translators have an equally high command of a second language. It’s a language specific skill-set which means they can read and write clear, grammatically correct text.
As well as having a high level of expertise in legal matters, they must also be conversant with the legal systems of at least two countries. While many systems overlap in terms of their respective bodies of law, there can be major differences too. Being able to contextualise legal language between the two systems can make all the difference to something being lost in translation.
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also very beneficial for legal translators to know about certain branches of the legal system, giving them an even greater level of expertise in certain areas of law. The more specialist they are, the more confident their clients can be in the quality and accuracy of their translated documents.
It’s easy to see why legal translators and interpreters are so highly valued in any translation team. In our increasingly global world, they will become even more important in bridging the language divide between organisations doing business.
At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing translation services to businesses for more than 17 years, with particular specialisms in the legal sector. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to give organisations the linguistic and localisation support they need to communicate clearly and effectively in international markets and do it well. So if you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with our expert legal language services, feel free to get in touch.
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