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Posted on October 30, 2016 By

The Importance of Legal Translation

Legal translation is simply defined as a work applicable to laws and legal cases wherein expertise and familiarity in the linguistic convention is required.

Translation is described by means of taking a document in one language and converting it to a new language but still maintaining the meaning of the original document. Legal translations on the other hand deal with anything under the legal terms and issues. Few of the most commonly translated documents are the contracts, statutes, patents and other legal documents. The documents being translated is used in any legal proceedings but the content must still be the same in meaning from its original form.

Since legal terminologies are very complex, the terms will basically differ from one place to another. The reason for this is that each country has a different legal system causing some legal concepts to lack an equivalent target language. If there will be no equivalent language for that particular law or code, the translator will need to recreate the concept and the idea pertaining to the legal expression. This is termed as the “transcreation” wherein the original concept has been re-interpreted in order to help the audience understand it in their language. But if both terms of the two languages refer to a different legal system, it will really be difficult to translate.

The purpose of the laws and codes is to serve a clear meaning to the rights and duties of a particular person. The main purpose of the legal translation is to find the linguistic and juridical similarities of the legal texts that fall under different legal system. In some cases, there might be similar meanings for two systems but in reality, they are not identical nor possess the same connotation which will still lead to different statements. That is why the legal translators should focus on the intention of the original text and also its interpretation.

If there might be any errors in the legal translation, this will reflect on the life and rights of the persons due to misjudgement. This will cause lawsuits for instance when the affected areas are the national security and diplomatic relations.

That is why it is the job of the legal translators to do a careful translation by means of knowing the standards of the cultural, linguistic and social equivalences between the languages that was used in the original text source and to be translated to a certain target language. It has also been known that the difficulty in translation lies more on the structural differences of the legal systems rather than that of the linguistic differences of the source text.

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