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Written by Montserrat González

Montserrat is a professional translator who likes to read and write fictional stories. There's nothing she enjoys more than spending time with her friends and family.

September 23, 2020

Tips for improving at legal translation


Do you think your legal translations need something extra to be perfect? Are you afraid you’ve skipped important legal vocabulary terms? Or are you afraid to make mistakes?

We all know that translating legal documents may be tricky and complicated for translators. In this article, we’ll give you 5 easy tips to improve your legal translations without removing the essence of the document. If you want to know more about this topic, I invite you to read this article about everything you need to know about legal translation..


Learn About It

Law is a broad subject because it has many different branches, and even if it doesn’t seem that way, they’re very different from each other. Therefore, the way to translate them is also different. First, law is divided into two large categories, and each one has subcategories that are different in some way or another.

That’s why, before starting a translation, especially if it’s a legal one, it’s important to learn about the source text legal system. Do some research on the scope of the document and read as much as you can of that particular legal branch.


Find Other Legal Texts

Reading other legal documents will help you learn about how different legal texts are written. You can also find some terms and how they are used in law, you can compare them to understand their meaning a little bit better, and therefore, translate them in a more effective way.

All this research will be helpful because you’ll know more about the field, and the purpose of the document you are going to translate will be clearer. Also, you’ll be able to easily solve your doubts through context.


Consult Legal Terminology

A translator should never deliver a document with doubts in his mind. In order to do a good quality translation, it’s always important to investigate every word you don’t know in that subject.

Use different media: books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, articles, or databases to have a better idea about the text you are going to work with.


Keep an Eye on Details

As the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”, that’s why you have to be careful with the format of your translation. It’s even more important when dealing with legal translation, because of the elegance and formality these texts have. Details make all the difference, so don’t forget to read other legal texts to see how they are written and the terminology they use.


Study The Legal Principles

In order to be able to translate a quality legal text, it’s necessary to be familiar with the legal system used in both, the source and target language. For example, in order to translate from English to Spanish. A translator needs to know the legal system that’s used in the United States to adapt the translation to the Mexican legal system.

Translating legal texts isn’t only about writing a text from one language into another, but conveying a legal system through translation.

So, what are you waiting for to use these tips and become better at legal translation?


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