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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 the act of translating a particular document bearing a certain language into a new language but all the content should be the same in meaning. On the other hand, legal translations refer to legal issues and terms. 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. This is due to the fact that each country has its own legal system and some legal concepts don’t have an equivalent targeted language. If the country cannot convert the code or law into a particular language, the translator’s only choice is to recreate and make an idea out of 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 once two terms of both legal languages vary when it comes to its legal system, there will be a lot difficulty in translating them.

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. For some cases wherein there are similar meanings in two systems but do not bear the same meaning or imply different connotations, this will lead into different sentences. Therefore, it is the job of the legal translator to be aware of the intention of the original text as well as the interpretation attached to that particular text.

If any case there will be errors to the legal translation, this will cause fatality because of its effect on misjudgement that will affect the entire life and rights of the individual. This will also lead to lawsuits when the national security or diplomatic relations is affected.

In order to avoid these disastrous mistakes, all legal translators must be very knowledgeable when it comes to the guided standards of the linguistic, social and cultural equivalence between languages that were used in the source text and even the target language. It has been on the studies though that the difficulty of legal translations is not really on the linguistic differences of the legal system but is found on the structural differences.