Contracts are binding documents between two or more parties that are enforceable by law. The translation of such contracts is very important in business as it regulates the services between the parties, the details of which will have been discussed, sometimes at length, prior to any documents being drawn up.

However, this can become even more difficult when multiple languages are involved as there are so many challenges to overcome, so that everyone involved is clear and understands the same message. This is where a legal translator can be a highly valuable asset to a business.

What is legal translation?

Legal translation is a highly skilled field of expertise within the area of translation services. The translator will take documents from a source language and translate them accurately and efficiently into the target language. With legal translation this is much more complex as the translator has to overcome a series of challenges and avoid errors that could cause a myriad of problems, which in the context of business, could result in loss of business itself, contracts and damaged reputations, all of which means a loss of profit.

Importance of using a legal translator

Contracts are legally binding documents that can cross boundaries, communities, countries and even become international. As a result of this, the language used needs to be appropriate and unequivocally accurate. It cannot contain colloquialisms as this may be misinterpreted by one party to mean something else entirely. Therefore, by using a legal translator to translate these legal documents is a sensible investment for a business that has contracts spanning different languages. It means that everyone involved will understand the terms of the contract. There is, of course, an inherent responsibility here of the legal translator to ensure that there is absolute accuracy upheld within the translation, as even the smallest of errors can lead to problems.

Another reason to use a legal translator for these business contracts is that the language in them will contain a large amount of legal terminology. It is not advisable to use a regular translator for this work as they will not have a legal background or understanding of how the law works in either the source or target countries where business is to take place. This can include dealing with common and civil governments, both of which have their own requirements and restrictions for business transactions to take place legally.

A legal translator has spent many years ensuring that they do have this experience, knowledge and understanding so that they can guide potential clients with contracts. There can be no risk of misinterpreting the contracts because of a lack of understanding of the law, as this ambiguity can damage business. Instead what clients need to do is build trust and know that there is legal certainty within the contracts that they are dealing with. Again, this is why a legal translator is needed, as in business reputation is everything.

Additionally businesses need to consider that the contracts could be subjected to being further scrutinised by the authorities or other governing bodies in either the source or target countries, so again, employing the service of a legal translator is a wise investment for a business that may have a contract with multiple languages within it. A legal translator will understand the pressures and importance of such scrutiny and as such will uphold the highest professional standards when translating the legal documents.

Moreover, legal translators also understand the requirement for absolute confidentiality with business contracts. These documents are unlike any other and the contents of them have to be kept confidential so that potential competitors are not informed of the business’ intentions. In addition to this, contracts contain a mass of personnel information which for GDPR purposes cannot be divulged. Furthermore, as a legal translator has a background in the law, they will understand the utmost importance of this and the consequences of such information being leaked.

A final consideration for employing a legal translator to take care of translating your business contracts is that it is a cost effective investment. The experience that they have should indicate they are highly competent in their work, understand the importance of it and will be more accurate than a regular translator. As previously mentioned, the risk of inaccuracies can be highly damaging for a company, so it is advisable to employ someone who knows what they are doing.

Prepared by Yuliya Kinash, certified German & English to Russian/Ukrainian translator

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For the past 16 years, businesses, law firms and private clients have relied on me to provide high-quality translations from English and German into Russian and Ukrainian. From articles of association to user manuals, my prompt, professional services ensure smooth communication across international borders.