Wednesday, May 31

Debunked: 3 Misconceptions About Legal Translation Services

If you’re looking for a legal translation agency to help you with multilingual documents, you need to know what to expect. The problem is, there’s a lot of misinformation online that can muddy the waters.

That’s why this guide is here to help. Keep reading to dispel the worst misconceptions about legal translation.

1. One Document Translator Does Everything

Perhaps the most prevalent misconception in the industry is that one document translator can tackle any project. In reality, most translators specialise through training and experience to concentrate on specific legal translation services. 

Specialisation helps a document translator hone their skills, creating a specialty — whether that’s bilingual arbitration or immigration law. 

This way, they become experts at the unique regulations that dictate their field while creating the most accurate work possible. 

Finding the right specialist comes down to working with a celebrated legal translation agency. A reputable agency will build a large roster of accomplished linguists who can cover everything from contract agreements to court documents with confidence. 

A legal translation agency will pick the best professional from their roster for your unique project and deadline. 

2. Automated Translation Services Fit Every Project

One of the fastest misconceptions gaining traction today is how automated translation services are as good or better than a human document translator. And while there may be a role for machine translation in your practice, it won’t suit every project perfectly.

Each year, automated translation services get better at identifying language and making appropriate substitutions. It’s also faster and cheaper than human-led projects. 

Despite these advantages, this technology still isn’t perfect. Without human oversight and proofing, it makes more mistakes than a trained professional. 

These errors occur for a couple of reasons:

  1. The AI can struggle to make nuanced translations, especially when dealing with words (particularly slang) or metaphorical language with multiple meanings. It can also overlook words influenced by bias or racism.
  2. Automated translation services may fail to make the right choices for highly specialised or regulated language, like legalese. 

That’s not to say you’ll never be in a position when these services fit. However, it’s best to talk to a legal translation agency about your options.

3. A Bilingual Lawyer Can Replace a Professional Document Translator

If you have a bilingual lawyer on staff, you may think a legal translation agency is a needless expense. 

Relying on your bilingual partner is one way to cut costs, but you run the risk of cutting corners and missing critical information.

That’s because a person’s fluency in a language doesn’t mean they can translate. While your bilingual co-worker might speak the target language well enough, they may not have the technical skills to create a translated document. 

Their fluency in the target language also doesn’t make them an expert in foreign court systems. Their training in law prepares them for your country’s legal system, and they may be unaware of statutory or regulatory requirements in the other system.

A document translator, on the other hand, has spent years training to translate text in their chosen language and system. Not only do they create accurate work that upholds the legal intention of the original, but they also follow all the appropriate privacy and statutory requirements. 

Now that you’ve debunked the worst misconceptions about legal translations, you know what to expect when it comes time to hire a document translator. 

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