Legal translation is one of our core activities - so here are our top five Translation Traps and how to avoid them to help you get the best translation possible from your supplier.
Trap 1 – Not checking up on the qualifications of your translator
If a legal translation is going to be used for court purposes, check to see that the person translating your document is suitably qualified. At MTT we often use non-practising lawyers who will have a good understanding of legal terminology and processes. Courts can ask for proof of credentials if a translation is in dispute.
Trap 2 – Getting certification wrong
Legal documents often need to be certified for various purposes – check what certification you need beforehand so we can arrange this in good time. For example a marriage certificate for passport purposes can be certified by us on our letterhead, however commercial documentation may need legalising by a notary or an embassy, adding to the timescale considerably.
Trap 3 –Not allowing enough time
Legal translation can take a little longer in some cases, partly due to the fact that good legal translators are usually very busy but also due to the intensive nature of the work. Allow as much time as possible, remembering that an average translator completes 2000 words a day. A rushed translation is not going to stand up to close examination in a court or boardroom.
Trap 4 – Failure to provide background information
If you can provide your translation team with background information on a case, or information about your company and its products and services, it can only assist the translator in providing a good translation. This is especially important for legal interpreting but also worth thinking about for legal translation. The more informed a translator, is the quicker he or she can make sense of your documentation.
Trap 5 – Thinking one document will do for all countries
The legal systems in Germany and Austria differ in several points, however they both use German. Different terminology will be required however for translations for these markets. It’s worth getting advice on what you may need to think about when dealing with these issues.