Contracts and agreements drawn up between buyers and suppliers are quite often very lengthy, highly detailed and linguistically specific documents. They have pages and pages of contract specifications, "party" responsibilities and obligations, deliverables and payment processes. The list goes on. Document translation services for legal business agreements, corporate and international corporate contracts are not without risk. If even the slightest language translation error is made, it could change the entire contract or agreement. Depending upon the type of legal agreement or business contract translation it is, it may even require translators to be familiar with international business laws and regulations for the countries of the two languages being translated.
A recent legal translation of a buyer/supplier comes to mind, which was submitted to us forRussian to English translation. The agreement was between the buyer, which was the Russian Federation, and the supplier, whose brand name is confidential. The total word count for this particular professional Russian translation was about 6000 words in English, and even more in Russian. Even for experienced Russian legal translators, contracts like this are a doozy, and absolutely must have meticulous proofreading before final submission to the client.
An interesting fact about this Russian translation: the contract formally stipulated the requirement that any and all technical information, labels and manufacturer details were to be labeled/delivered with technical translation to Russian in addition to English. We've reinforced this many times on our site and recent translation articles; so it was ironic to actually read the real regulation that requires all shipping info, merchandise and equipment labels and information to be translated into the native language of the buyer or recipient. This is especially crucial for label translation on things like medical devices, technology and equipment, as well as various types of heavy industrial machinery. Again, any slight error in Russian translation - or German translation, Japanese translation, Hebrew translation etc etc - could be the direct cause of personal injury, incorrect handling of equipment, or worse - in extreme cases, death. While that sounds completely melodramatic, several years ago in a German hospital, death was thedirect result of a poorEnglish to German translation of medical implant device instructions, where several patients died, and others were gravely injured.
Certainly, of course, legal agreements and business contracts are not usually a matter of life and death, even if they may feel like it for the executives who supervise their negotiation and signing. But, insofar asprofessional translation services go, accuracy of legal and business translations are no less necessary and just as important for sustaining global communication and cooperation.