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Why use a professional translator?

Posted on 01 Jul 2014

Why use a professional translator?

Why is it crucial to have legal documents translated and transcribed professionally?

When people ask why it's crucial to have legal documents translated professionally, we often respond with the fact that incorrect translation can lead to extremely serious consequences.

Translation and the law are very different entities but the word of the law is the word of the law – whether it's in a statute, a contract, a patent, a will, a lease, a confidentiality agreement or a witness statement. And it must be correct in any language. So, why is it not straightforward?

Ensuring that legal terms are correct, in the language they are being translated into, is vital. You needn't be in the legal profession to consider that words which are ostensibly the same can have multiple meanings. For example:

Patent: the legal right to manufacture, use or sell an invention … or a shiny type of leather.

Binding: something that is bound by law, or an attachment that anchors a ski boot to a ski.

Award: amount of damages assessed by a court, or a type of prize for a good performance

If the English language is so complex, think how this might work in other languages.

Like any other written documents, legal documents can contain nuance, intentionally included in order to persuade or influence. Maintaining that nuance isn't always easy, and demands close attention by experts in both the law and linguistics.

Similarly, the law is open to interpretation. By 'interpretation' in this case, we mean how it is understood legally, not linguistically. Clarity is vital, in order to avoid confusion and misinterpretation.

What are the consequences for not using a professional legal translator?

Inaccurate evidence, leading to wrongful convictions and jeopardising reputations, finances … even lives. Businesses made or lost. Properties being sold at the wrong price, or to the wrong person. These are not sensational examples, they are eminently possible if legal documents are not translated correctly and professionally.

City Legal Translations has provided a legal translation and interpretation service to its customers, for over 20 years. Our customers include 16 of the UK's top 20 law firms because our translation services are consistently accurate, precise and intelligent. That's why you can rely on us every time to get it right.

To ensure your patent is the legal rather than the dance shoe variety, give us a call on 0800 0966 825 or email us on:


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