• Legal documents
• Official recognition of academic certificates
• Naturalisation proceedings
• Residents’ permits
• Powers of attorney
• Minutes of meetings
• Letters of intent and memoranda
• Financial information
Similarly to a financial translation, a legal translation demands accuracy above all else. The wording of a legal document is incredibly precise in order to remove any ambiguity or possibility of divergent interpretations. A translation of it must reflect that.
Again, the language of the translation is not as important as it would be in the case of an ‘inspirational’ document, say. The original is likely to have been written in a ‘legalese’ which will be almost as unfamiliar to a native speaker as a translation of it. For this reason, the translator has a greater freedom to reproduce exactly the chain of ideas expressed in the text, without worrying overmuch if the translation reflects how people actually speak.
As with any technical document, it is important that the translator of legal texts is absolutely au fait with current terminology, both in the country of the source text and the country the translation is intended for.
In addition, legal documents can often be hugely important to the running of a company – property deeds, contracts, financial reports. Even a slight slip-up could have far-reaching consequences. Accuracy must be the watchword of the legal translator.