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Scales of Justice

Language on trial: How legal translation and interpretation can help bring justice

At Global Voices, our expert legal translation services provide multilingual translations for a range of legal purposes. Not only this, but we also offer a number of interpretation services, including the crucial role of a court interpreter. Both legal translators and interpreters play an extremely important role in court, and can be the difference between justice prevailing or not.

What do legal translation and interpretation services entail?

Legal translation goes beyond the standard transportation of words, as legal translators will also need to understand complex legal terminology in different languages to be able to translate various legal documents accurately. Not only must translators be fluent in the languages they are translating between, but they must have extensive knowledge of how the law differs between the countries of these languages.

Legal translation involves a great deal of specificity with regards to language; if a judge or lawyer notice that wrong terms are used, it could undermine the legitimacy of an entire document. Mistakes, or ambiguity of any kind are totally unacceptable in legal translation, as they can render documents void, and this can have massive legal or financial ramifications.

A legal interpreter will typically translate verbal evidence provided by either witnesses, defendants, the accused, or claimants involved in a trial. It is again of vital importance that they interpret these accounts accurately so that they can be legitimately used as evidence in a case. Legal interpreters must also have the same breadth of knowledge as a translator, although the scope of their role is not as broad, considering the huge number of physical documents that a translator may be tasked with translating.

What kinds of legal translation are important in a court of law?

The different types of documents a legal translator may have to work with can include financial documents and invoices, transcripts, patents, legal rulings and witness statements, amongst others. There are a number of ways that these translations can be important in a court of law, and perhaps the most obvious way is if they are to be submitted as evidence in criminal cases. Translators may have to wade through and translate witness statements, witness interviews and entire court transcripts, so that they can be legitimately be used as evidence in a case.

Another important form of legal translation is translating a contract from one language to another In the event of a contract dispute, this will help the court decide what exactly a contract stipulates, so that they can rule on which party has a legitimate claim. This is also the case for intellectual property claims; being able to translate patents will be crucial for businesses or individuals looking to assert their rights in a court of law.

Legal translation and interpretation can make the difference between justice and injustice

Having somebody who can translate legal documents can be the difference between justice and injustice in a legal case. If a document is incorrectly translated, then it could undermine the whole argument being put forward, and can even lead to a case being thrown out entirely. The same applies to any verbal evidence put forward.

Failures in interpreting have led to more than 2,600 legal cases being dismissed in the UK over the last five years. An example of this was seen in Australia in 2014, where a trial for assault was abandoned after an interpreter could not understand the Miso-Chin dialect of the Burmese language spoken by the alleged victim. This shows how important it is for there to be a reliable translator and/or interpreter during a trial.

Our comprehensive legal translation and interpretation services provide experienced linguists with a profound insight and understanding of the legal sector, giving clients the best chance of succeeding in a case. Enquire now for more information.

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