Legal translation: a powerful tool must be trustful hands

Legal translation is such a powerful tool that anybody who has ever wanted to contact the world outside their country or their community of people who speak our mother tongue. Even those who have never stepped out of such a community are conscious that there is something about legal language that even in their mother tongues needs experts to understand it.

To have this powerful tool fallen in unexperienced and doubtful hands we may be getting ourselves in the track to court case. Even if the case wins, and we only have to pay not so small fees of our lawyers, we know that the damage to our image is done. “Careless”, “disorganized” and “not businesslike” would be attached to our names or the name of our company.

Statistics show that companies or individuals are the ones who take the fall since the vast majority of the translators not persecuted on the basis of a faulty legal translation. The economical loss, as well as the damage done to our image as individuals and companies will fall on our backs, and it would be worthless to persecute the unexperienced and doubtful translator.

I won’t go through the concrete losses and pitfalls of misguided legal translations, because we know billions of dollars have been lost, and companies have been axed; perhaps it is interesting to note that legal documents incorrectly translated have the power to throw us in jail and end our careers.

At that point, maybe we should act wise, and when deciding about a legal translation to ask ourselves how important is our career and life to us, and how badly we want to avoid the above mentioned consequences.