A legal translation could be undertaken for a number of reasons, including translating employee contracts if your business has opened a branch overseas and you need to provide contract documents in both the 2nd country’s language as well as your own. It could be translating other legal documents, like wills, marriage certificates, birth certificates, company annual reports, affidavits, product warranty documents and terms and conditions of use of a product
Any translator who works for legal translation services will have legal expertise in an area of legal translation. This ensures that mistranslations are avoided. If any word, phrase or sentence is mistranslated it could totally turn around the meaning of a text. Any errors in the translation of a legal document could lead to the filing of a lawsuit, a court hearing delay or a halt in a contract until the mistranslation in a contract document has been amended. This could cost those parties involved thousands of dollars.
Legal mistranslations have altered history
A well known mistranslation occurred in World War 2 when the U.S.A. issued the Potsdam Declaration, demanding that Japan should surrender.
In a statement issued by the then Japanese Prime Minister, he made use of the word “mokusatsu”. When translated into English, this word means “ignore.” In Japanese, this can be interpreted as allowing a topic to die by not following up on it, or it could mean not giving it any attention or showing indifference. However, at a press conference, the word “mokusatsu” was mistranslated as meaning “reject”, which was a message to the U.S. government that appeared to show a negative attitude, rather than an indifferent one, which the U.S. government expected to be the response. This may have affected the decision to initiate the atomic bombings on Japan.
The problem in this mistranslation could be due to the translator missing the point that the word had several meanings, but these were not explained thoroughly enough. In the case of “mokusatsu” it appears that the course of history was changed because of this misunderstanding.
This is why it’s so important when engaging legal translation services that the legal translator has a vast amount of experience in the language to be able to understand its nuances and ambiguities. Sensitivity towards cultural differences and the way something is said is important too. There is no room for poor legal translations in the legal industry. It is too difficult to correct errors in legal documents, especially if they have been notarized before the mistranslation has been detected.
Legal translations have to be precise
When translating any legal terms, errors are not acceptable. There is no such thing as using a word or term that isn’t quite right. It must be exact and there are no two ways about it. A competent and experienced legal translation services agency, like Cinch Translations, has legal translators with a vast amount of experience who have never had a translation turned away due to a mistranslation. It’s this sort of dedication and quality you need to get your legal documents translated to the required standard.