An essential part of running a solo or small law firm is making sure your documents translate across languages.
Words matter, especially when it comes to corporate law. When dealing with multinational corporations, legal translation is vital in ensuring that both internal or external relations are on the same page.
However, in some cases, malpractice occurs because some lawyers have utilized translation machines for legal translation. If you’re curious about this and the types of corporate legal documents you’ll need to translate, especially in non-English speaking countries, keep on reading!
Human legal translations will always be superior
Legal translations are crucial to ensure that clients that are non-English speakers understand the documents presented to them, which Law Firm Suites had stated was vital for the client experience. By enriching client experience, you’re potentially increasing referrals, and it encourages cooperation and trust with future and current clients.
Some law firms have opted to use translation machines to create their translated legal documents because they are more cost-effective and easily accessible than hiring professional legal translation services.
However, a research paper by Madison Elizabeth Wahler, discovered that despite the advancement in translation machines, mistranslation often occurred. She stated in her paper that “[s]ince lawyers are both unlikely to understand the intricacies of legal translation and unable to personally verify the accuracy of translations, there is potential for blind reliance on neural translation systems, and malpractice suits may be filed if a substantial enough translation error surfaces.”
The translation machines used by these lawyers and law firms are sophisticated. However, lawyers looking into these documents won’t be able to discern if the translated documents are grammatically correct and are legally compliant with their target language.
Wahler’s article discussed that, unlike translation machines, judges are more lenient to mistranslations conducted by human translators. Legal translators are given this consideration because of their educational background as legal experts and linguists and the number of years they have been training.
We have gathered the opinions of organizations in the legal translation services industry. They all explained the delicate aspect of legal translations, which is bounded by regional legal compliance, legal interpretation of both the original and target languages and the document format.
Not all professional legal translation services have access to a broad network of legal translators and experts from across the globe. However, in our research, we discovered a legal translation agency that had different legal translators and legal experts across six continents through their remote work model.
Tomedes, a translation company operating under a remote work model since 2007, allows their legal translation services to have access to legal translators, local lawyers, and legal experts worldwide.
Furthermore, Tomedes has stated that this flexible work model has made their legal translations in compliance in almost any country or region, regardless of the original language of the legal document to its target language. Even though they utilize advanced translation machines to speed up the translation process, they explained that they rely on their legal translators and legal experts to make sure that the cultural, legal, social, and linguistic angles of the translated document are faithful to the original text.
However, some legal translation providers, like Lionbridge, promote legal translation machines. They discussed the reason translation machines are appealing for law firms because they are (1) cost-effective, (2) easier access to legal translation services, (3) consistency of terminology, and (4) data security. Although not perfect, translation machines like neural machine translations improve 3-7% each year.
But despite the development and progress of translation machines in the last decade, some are concerned if such technology can look into the cultural and legal nuances in legal translations.
The European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA) stated that legal systems are based on historical developments, modes of legal thinking, legal institutions, sources of law, and their treatment, and ideology. Eight major legal systems are either used or combined by many legal systems across the world.
Despite how advanced technology is, it still hasn’t reached the level of cultural and social understanding, like human legal translators. If you fail to comply with the legal systems of your target locales you could end up facing lawsuits.
In regards to corporate law, if you’re working in a multinational corporation it would be best to collaborate with professional legal translation services that could provide insight on the local legal system you will be working with and help in ensuring that all legal corporate documents are in line to what has been agreed among all parties present in the exchange.
We have listed the following legal documents that you will need assistance from legal translation services:
There are several types of contracts, and depending on the industry of your corporation there will be some contracts that you will be working on more often than other types. When creating contracts for either external or internal affairs in another region or country, legal translation services can provide legal opinions and create contracts that would be in line with your international corporation’s goals.
Another legal document that corporations need legal translation services for are disclaimers. Depending on the country’s laws regarding consumer’s rights and workers’ entitlement to benefits, disclaimers need to follow these laws or risk null and void.
3. Confidentiality Agreements
Investopedia explained that confidentiality agreements are vital in ensuring trust and confidence, depending on the region or country and the purpose of the confidentiality agreements. For example, if it’s for employees then the confidentiality agreement must be created following the local region’s labor codes and regulations in mind.
4. Articles of incorporation
For international incorporations looking to conduct operations in different locations worldwide, their articles of incorporation need to comply with local government bodies’ regulations and requirements.
When it comes to corporate litigation it is more than just one corporate entity suing another. Depending on the complaint, all legal documents presented to the judge or jury must follow the document formats of the local legal systems, which is where legal translation comes in.
If you’re new as a corporate lawyer, Law Firm Suites wrote an article about some tips on how you can build rapport with your clients. Building rapport before and during a litigation case is important so you might want to look into it.
Translating summons ensures that any non-English speaker being filed with a lawsuit will be able to understand and will be notified to attend the trial.
Written depositions need to be translated to not only make them compliant but to ensure that the individuals taking their oath understand it.
In working with a multinational company that has operations worldwide, being legally compliant to the local legal system saves time, avoids malpractice, and prevents lawsuits and penalties. Legal translations shouldn’t be an afterthought but rather part of your legal practice.