Just a few days ago, we provided professional Hebrew translation of a legal document for one of our regular clients. The legal text was fairly long - approx. 3500 words - and was completed within 24 hours. The document was written in Hebrew, requiring Hebrew to English translation. The challenges presented in such a translation occur primarily within the differences between legal systems and legal terminologies in English and Hebrew speaking cultures.
Because of the high importance of this particular legal document, we undertook extra measures to ensure the best legal Hebrew translator was assigned the job. We have a number of methods we use to select translators for various services, but when it involves technical legal translation or technical medical translation, our selection process is much more meticulous. The qualifications of the translators are the absolute priority - not the amount of the rate.
This particular legal document was a court-ordered legal opinion, which detailed expert legal reasoning and support of the expressed opinion by the attorney, in answering the question asked. Such cases like this can occur when a legal matter hits a grey area of the law that may require several to many expert opinions and/or rulings before a decision or solution can be met. This was the situation behind this particular Hebrew to English translation.
Legal documents come in all kinds of forms and for all kinds of reasons, which is why professional legal translation is one of the most highly demanded from our translation company. It could be something as small as a divorce certificate, or something as sensitive and important as a witness testimony. Regardless of the situation, legal translation absolutely must be handled only by professional legal translation services and translators. Whether the translator is in the legal professional himself, or has simply been trained to translate legal documents, it is imperative that the qualifications of a professional legal translator be verified. Sadly, there are too many translation services out there that will accept an important legal document translation, and assign it to an under-qualified translator, just to win the business. And, because there is no immediate way for clients to verify the quality of a translation without using another translation service, often they find out the hard way. We have proofread these poorly translated legal documents all too often.
The obvious reason that qualified legal translators are the only type that should be assigned to such documents, is because of the highly technical legal jargon. Additionally, it is not simply understanding the technical legal translation from one language to another, but a thorough cultural knowledge of the source language is also included in how a legal translation is provided. A technical legal term in French may not be the equivalent in English - it may be termed something else. We see this with technical IT translations all the time, but assigning a different word or term instead of its direct equivalent in one language to another - is something that occurs in many industries and types of translations. This is part of the localization process, which is, at least partially, part of most translation services.
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