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The challenges faced by legal translation agencies and why ALM is the ideal strategic translation partner

Posted 10 January 2022

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As international communication becomes simpler (and faster), it is becoming easier for companies to develop international trade and expand their business abroad.

Certainly, this presents new opportunities and possibilities, but it also brings challenges as companies try to adapt their operations to different cultures and languages.

Many of these challenges are found in the legal department, where companies face the challenge of translating legal documents and contracts into multiple languages while adapting to the different legal structures and laws in each country.

Translating legal systems

In order to translate a legal document from one language to another, the translator must first have a solid understanding of the legal systems themselves – the legal system should actually be considered an essential aspect of any culture, so it is crucial that translators respect the nuances of the law in each country.

In other words, translators should keep in mind that similar legal concepts may be worded completely differently from country to country.

Similarly, there are circumstances in which one legal system has a concept for which there is no equivalent in another country – equality is an example of this; it is an important part of the English legal system, but there is no exact counterpart in continental law.

Navigating these difficulties requires more than just language skills, and many of the most successful language agencies rely on legal translation experts who have both an understanding of the legal concepts they are dealing with and an excellent grasp of the languages themselves.

Translating tone and terminology

Even taking into account the differences between legal systems, legal translators face the challenge of translating legal terminology and linguistic tone from one language to another.

As a language in itself, “legal jargon” presents translators unfamiliar with legal terminology with a host of problems and requires custom translation to ensure that all documents written in a new target language reflect the tone and semantics of each original term.

Lexical, structural, and cultural considerations, including idioms, tone and colloquialisms, must all be carefully considered during the translation process to ensure accuracy.

And if that weren’t enough, there is also the matter of syntax to consider. The use of commas, colons, accents, and apostrophes can dramatically change the meaning of a legal phrase.

The role of the translator

Considering all of the above challenges, you could be forgiven for thinking that legal translation is an impossible feat. ALM’s expert legal translators are always ready to take on even the most complicated legal translation projects. We use in-market translation experts with a background in local law, as native knowledge is critical in this industry more than any other.

Legal translation is one area where you need to make sure you are working with the right resources and expertise. With great translators on your side, you can rest assured that your legal intentions will be understood in your new target country.

Are you ready to discuss your legal translation challenges? ALM are here to help. Get in touch today.

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