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How to ensure your legal translation is high-quality  

By Josian Phillips, 

Are you looking for information on legal translation and want to know more about why total accuracy is so incredibly important? In layman’s terms, incorrect translations for legal documentation can have very serious consequences.

Read on for our top tips on the essential features of legal translation and how to get top standards every time.

Legal experts

The professional translation agency you use must have a thorough understanding of the country’s legal system they’re translating for. For example, if you need a contract translated into Spanish, you will need a translator who has an in-depth knowledge of Spanish contract law and preferably working experience in the legal profession. Without this knowledge, it’s likely the text will be mistranslated, meaning the terminology will have been misunderstood and the contract no longer representing the clients’ wishes.

Here at Brightlines, we work with a large number of expert legal translators from across the globe. When you work us, we make sure we match the legal skills of the translator with the project in question, as legal professionals specialise in certain aspects of law, so do translators, so matching them to the project is essential.

Glossary means all

Building a glossary – a resource of shared terms of reference – will be another early part of our service. Do all parties have the same grasp on the legal terms? Are you on the same page with your legal translation agency on which meanings you intend to convey to align the translation with your intentions? One legal term can have different meanings in different contexts. By building a glossary – a shared understanding of terms that you’re using – you and your dedicated translation agency can build a bank of shared terms of reference and avoid errors further down the line.

Creating a mutual understanding of the legal terminology in translation allows the process to get more consistent and efficient with every project. This makes being on the same page a cinch – especially when time can be at a premium. Having said this…

Language can’t be universal

Expressions and idioms vary from context to context in our own language, and the same is true of different situations in other languages and dialects. We all know that legalese in English can be highly complex – sometimes we struggle to know what our own lawyer is saying – but our legal translators know the intricacies of the legal jargon.

They also understand that just as spelling, vocabulary and other language use varies across English speaking countries, it will also vary across other countries that speak the same language – consider Spain and many countries in Latin America or Portugal and Brazil. Our translators will localise the content and check every aspect for 100% accuracy – whether your document is for a Portuguese speaker in Lisbon or Sao Paulo or a Chinese speaker in Shanghai or Taipei.

Layout needs translation too

What works in one legal system will be entirely different in another. There are specific conventions in the way that legal information is formatted in different countries and international systems. Another thing to be aware of is translating a website, so if you need to translate a legal website, layout is something that can also be affected. Different languages take up different amounts of space on web pages, which can alter the layout significantly. You can read more about website translation in our ultimate guide to website translation.

The way that information is organised can be complex and will be crucial to the success of the translation. We take care of this too, so you can rely on your translation being 100% effective. 

Work with Brightlines

At Brightlines, we make sure that you receive the highest quality legal translation every time. You can rely on us as we make sure all our legal translators in our global translation team are highly fluent in their native language, and essentially, have a great deal of legal expertise in their specialist subject areas. So our clients know they can kick back, have a coffee and rest easy in the knowledge that their texts will always hit the mark. All in all, if you’re looking for high-quality translation services from a company that really cares about your success, please contact Brightlines. What are you waiting for?

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