Law is like an iceberg - there is a lot more going on beneath the surface

There is a large number of relevant factors when translating legal texts: Will the legal document be binding in the country for which it is intended? Or should the translation merely provide information on the content of a court document? In the latter case the translation will not be legally binding and can therefore be slightly freer . But these cases are the exception.

There is another important distinction in the translation of legal texts : Will they be used within a multilingual legal system – for instance in the EU – or as a connecting link between two different legal systems such as German law and French law. Translations involving two different legal systems may come up against terms that have no direct equivalent in the target language. In these cases it is up to the specialist translator to find a suitable transcription. This involves translating the law itself and not just the words contained in the source text. So legal translations can quickly become a challenge on two fronts.

The translation of legal texts also involves accommodating differences in formal layout. Deeds and contracts, for instance, are governed by requirements and standards that are particular to their respective countries, and which the translator must know and apply. We draw on sworn translators to manage these jobs, as they are authorized to certify your documents at the same time. Only then will the translated document acquire legal validity.

... and not every translator is a specialist

The language used in legal texts shows a tendency toward long, convoluted sentences containing a large number of technical expressions. Terms and turns of phrase otherwise encountered in everyday parlance are used as precisely defined and legally valid wordings. What is usually taken at face value mutates into legalese.

In these instances the translator will need to exercise scrupulous judgement and possess profound expertise, as legal wordings in the translation need to be just as precise as the original document. This is why we apply the same caution to the selection of our specialist translators, and only use true professionals who deserve the accolade of ‘specialist’ in addition to ‘translator’. In a nutshell, this means: All of our specialist translators have profound experience of the industry in which they translate and are able to present suitable references.

No matter whether they are dealing with terms and conditions, pleas or deeds, all of our specialist translators and project managers are required to maintain absolute discretion and to treat your documents with the utmost secrecy.

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