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Legal translations

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What makes legal translations special

Translators of legal documents are subject to increased professional obligations in terms of specialist knowledge and confidentiality requirements.

Much like translators working with technical and medical materials, legal translators need to possess a thorough understanding of their subject matter. In fact, many of the linguists we work with have actually undertaken formal legal training.

Legal translations need to express the original message in as clear, concise and stylistically appropriate manner as possible. There is often little room for deviation from the original text as it is essential that the translation is completely factually accurate and that the reader can rely fully on the correctness of the content.

Properly localised legal translations

As well as possessing the prerequisite specialist knowledge to enable them to access the original text, legal translators also need to be well aware of the cultural and legal differences between the source and target language countries.

Familiarity with the appropriate legal language is essential, which is why we only work with properly qualified and experienced legal translators.

That said, there are times when a translation will need to be adapted to the legal system of the target country to such an extent that we might deem it necessary to have the work double-checked by an external lawyer. Should this additional step shed light on any issues, such as incongruent legal terminology, we would have any ambiguities clarified with our own legal department and stored in our dedicated translation memory systems to ensure consistent translations going forward.

The target country principle

We translate according to the target country principle, which means that our translators must be based in the country of the target language.

With legal translations requiring such a high degree of precision, familiarity with specialist terminology and cultural awareness of the country's legal system, we take the view that only local translators can effectively undertake such assignments. Being based on the ground, as it were, also allows our legal translators to have their work verified or notarised if appropriate.

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