As is widely known, being a professional linguist is a challenging task that requires skill, extensive experience, thorough knowledge of two or more languages and a strong educational background. Within the career path of translation, there are also many different niche markets that only certain translators are able to fulfill due to their particular expertise or experience. For example, there are people who specialize in technical translation, financial translation, medical translation, business translation and, perhaps the most complex of them all, legal translation. Legal translation is an intricate and specific art given the fact that documents needing to be converted into another language are typically highly complicated in nature. The inability to effectively translate legal content can result in miscommunications that create or change the outcome of lawsuits, leave loopholes or gaps in pertinent legal documents and cause a multitude of other problems for businesses and individuals.
It is important that individuals or companies looking to outsource this work recognize that a great translator is not necessarily a great master of all topics. Particularly in the area of legal translation, it is absolutely vital that the translator prove their credentials prior to being hired and demonstrate that their background is specifically relevant to the project at hand. Furthermore, the legal translator must be familiar with both the associated cultures and legal systems of both the source and destination languages. Without this awareness, mistranslation is likely and the legal text can easily lose its effectiveness, ultimately sound unnatural to native speakers of the destination language or be misinterpreted by readers. When cultural factors are of utmost importance, such as in the case of Islamic law or Sharia law, translators unfamiliar with the specific culture of relevance are not apt to be completing the translation.
Ultimately, hiring a translator can be costly and due diligence needs to be done in researching a translator’s capabilities before they are hired. In the case of legal matters, the failure to find legal translators that are suitable for a particular project can result in extremely expensive and problematic errors. If a document is going to be subject to usage in a courtroom or by legal professionals, it is crucial that it be translated by a proper legal translator with experience and background in dealing with material that is as similar as possible to what needs to be translated. This can include policies, contracts, trusts, wills, adoption papers and trademarks or copyrights, to name but a few. A properly certified translator or translation business should be able to provide certification and proof of expertise in their area of focus. In some cases, an official stamp or signature may even be provided to certify the text’s translation after the completion of the project. All types of translation are extremely complicated and this is important to keep in mind when looking for a translator to work on a project where any type of advanced knowledge of a topic is necessary. The translator’s experience, educational background, cultural knowledge and certifications should always be investigated prior to being hired.