Published on October 02, 2019
Disputes are won and lost on the facts and the law. In most international disputes, factual evidence, applicable law, or both will often be in a language that differs from that of the lawyers and adjudicators. Their knowledge and understanding of the case will thus depend entirely on how the evidence of facts and law is translated.
The impact of poor oral translation is immediately evident at hearings, and party representatives therefore usually take care that any interpreters they engage possess sufficient knowledge, skills and experience for the task. When it comes to written translation however, people tend to cut corners. That is a grave mistake.
The crucial importance of written evidence can hardly be overstated. Its relevance and value, however, is only discoverable upon translation. A proper assessment of such evidence requires its translation to meet two conditions:
Integrity of evidence after translation
Inaccurate legal translation is nothing less than distortion of evidence that can easily lead to an unfair outcome. If the translation is accurate in principle, but requires great efforts on the part of the reader to understand, it may result in the obscuring of evidence: a reader ploughing through large volumes of complex text can hardly be reproached for overlooking or misunderstanding essential information if it is presented in an unclear or poorly legible manner.
To avoid such outcomes, lawyers selecting a legal translation service should ensure that it employs professionals who possess:
In most international disputes, legal translation professionals are ultimate the people who present the evidence to the adjudicator. Their selection and testing is not a matter to be taken lightly.
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