Legal translation is the translation of documents such as contracts, statutes, treaties, or court documents.

Legal translation is a great responsibility demanding very high accuracy and expertise. Generally, legal translation demands a high degree of responsibility associated with it, demanding the use of exactitude and expertise in the field.

Characteristics of Legal Translation

Terminological Accuracy: Some legal documents have used terms with specific meanings within the legal system concerned. Translators are expected to be sufficiently conversant with the meaning of a term in both source and target languages.

Structural and Stylistic Complexity: Legal texts are very complex in their structure, formulated with formal, archaic, or very sophisticated language. It is up to the translator to keep the translation with such features, without, of course, giving up clarity.

Differences in cultural and legal systems: Legal systems differ significantly from country to country, and even if a country has a perfect and lawful concept, this concept may be said to exist in one country but may have no precise equivalent in another. Legal translators need to be aware of such differences and demonstrate an ability to make the target text reflect the source in a corresponding form to the maximum possible extent.

Confidentiality: Legal documents will be of sensitive nature in most cases. Thus, the legal translator is bound to ensure the maximum level of confidentiality.

Legal Liability

In the kingdom of legal translation with, a domain where the stakes are high, the consequences of errors could lead to financial losses, legal penalties, and reputational damage. If translated errors did lead to such consequences, then in general, the translator or the translation company can go on trial, risking legal liability. 

To counter this risk, translators usually work with legal professionals so that the preciseness of the translation is assured. Such should have disclaimers posted to explain the variations that may have been incurred in the translation or to limit liability in the event of mishaps. 

If there is any nature of negligence or breaches in the duty of care, indemnity insurance will cover the translator from claims. 

Legal translation, in the widest sense of the word, is a very specific, demanding area of translation. It needs knowledge not only of language competences but also of the knowledge of the legal systems within the source and target languages, meaning this is increasing the responsibility of the translator and his potential legal liability. The translation has to be very accurate and careful, and he needs to keep himself posted on the new legal terminologies and changes in the legal systems he is working with.


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