Legal translation is the translation of legal texts for the exchange of legal information between people speaking different languages. Legal translation, along with artistic and technical, is one of the three most difficult types of translation as it affects the political, cultural and social sphere of the state.
Some linguists argue that legal translation is a kind of technical, as it requires exceptional accuracy and conciseness.
Features of translation of legal texts
The work of a professional translator of legal texts is difficult: he/she should keep learning on his/her own, study thematic literature and terms, monitor legislation amendments, etc. It is not uncommon for a translator to be required to have additional legal education and work experience in the field of law and jurisprudence.
It is worth remembering that a huge responsibility is imposed on a specialist, because an incorrectly translated formulation, and sometimes even an incorrect interpretation of a single word, can be followed by serious consequences. In the legal field, misdoings are unacceptable, as they may entail lawsuits, claims for compensation for moral or material damage, etc.
Difficulties in translating legal texts
Most typically, an expert in legal texts translation faces the following problems:
- A clear expression of religious and legal system features in the source text (for example, administrative, family or procedural law). The texts from international and banking law field, trade relations and consumer rights protection are most easily processed.
- Strong differences between legal systems. In this case, even the affinity of languages cannot make translation tasks easier. So, in order to preserve the content of the source document, it is necessary at all times to translate from the primarily source, avoiding translations of already translated texts.
- Lack of specialized literature and additional sources of information. Dictionaries and reference books are often not enough, so it is important to use scientific literature. The problem resides in the lack of high-quality legal documentation that would contain large amounts of information.
- Inability to translate legal documents accurately and clearly. Sometimes these qualities become mutually exclusive, since the meaning of intelligibility and accuracy is different and depends on the type of text being translated, its function and addressee. For example, if you need to translate legal discussions to address specific legal issues, clarity and style come first. If a court sentence, which must be executed in another state, is translated, the accuracy of the translation is a priority.
Basic requirements for a translator of legal texts
Correct translation of legal documents is possible only if the translator strictly observes the following conditions:
- Sufficient experience in the field of legal translations;
- An ability to understand and evaluate the meaning of the source text;
- Perfect knowledge of a foreign language and the ability to convey an exact meaning of the original;
- Command a legal vocabulary and special terms;
- Preservation of source documents idea, ability to provide the utmost clarity and readability of the translation;
- Continuous improvement of skills and learning legislation amendments.