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Peculiarities of Legal Translation

Legal translation is translation of texts related to the sphere of law which are used to exchange legal information among people who speak different languages. Since the law is connected with socio-economic and cultural peculiarities of a country, legal translation is a difficult task. To transmit legal information adequately, language of legal translation must be especially accurate, clear and authentic.
Sometimes legal translation is considered to be a special kind of technical translation. The major distinction consists in a special responsibility of legal texts translators, which is similar to the medical texts translators' responsibility. Any mistake or inaccuracy in documents can cause serious legal consequences.

When translating a legal text, a translator must remember the following. Source text is composed in accordance with the corresponding legal system of a source language country, and the translation will be used in some other legal system with its own distinctive legal features.

Legal translation depending on the type of source documents can be divided into:

  • translation of laws and regulatory legal acts,
  • translation of contracts,
  • translation of legal opinions and memoranda,
  • translation of certificates and documents,
  • translation of letters of attorney,
  • translation of legal texts for information and experience exchange among lawyers from different countries.

Legal documents include: laws, draft legislations, regulatory legal acts, contracts and collateral agreements, protocols and acts, constituent instrument of organizations, notarial documents, certificates and others. Therefore, legal translation covers such spheres of law as constitutional right, administrative law, civil law, economic law, fiscal law, criminal law, international law.

Translation of legal documents requires certain qualifications – it should be exercised only by professional translators who have serious operational experience in this sphere or additional education in the sphere of law. A perfect variant is when a legal text is edited by a professional lawyer.

Legal translation has special demands on language and style of the statement – the right style implies the accuracy of wording, logical structure and authenticity of content. Thereby, high quality translation of documents requires sufficient background legal knowledge and proficiency in special legal language. In some cases even punctuation marks of the source text have significance in legal translation. Remember a classic example “Execute not pardon”!

Serious difficulties in legal documents translation can be caused by professional terms. The problem is connected with diversity of legal right branches and specificity of terminology in each of them. Sometimes the same term which has one meaning in the field of civil law, denotes a completely different concept in maritime law.

Generally, legal text translation requires true professionalism and attention to details.

Translation agency “Express” offers legal translation services of professional translators specialized in this sphere. Also we offer notarization of translation.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us by telephone or e-mail or leave a message in our order form.


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