How sensitive is your company to legal documents translation

How sensitive is your company to legal documents translation

With increasing globalization, translation of legal documents has become a fundamental part of the business. Brands today need to deal with an entire collection of contracts. These contracts can be with employees, investors, suppliers, or partners.

However, the history of courtrooms is filled with lawsuits filed between companies and corporations due to inaccuracies and loopholes resulting from language translation. Businesspeople and lawyers alike face the legal ramifications resulting from poor quality translated content. Any misinterpretations or errors in translation can result in lawsuits, potentially costing businesses even more money; a business can shut down or go bankrupt. Significant amounts of money are on the line, with contracts becoming void due to these mistakes in translation.

In addition, interpretating in courtrooms, to settle disputes between companies for example, are far more sensitive due to being time-bound and instantaneous in nature. The slightest negligence or error in interpreting a defendant’s or a witness’s testimony can dramatically change the verdict. Imagine hiring an interpreter with poor language translation skills to represent your company. Not only is this detrimental financially, but the company’s defaced reputation cannot be restored.   

What could possibly go wrong?

One can only imagine the dire consequence of the numerous incidents a miswritten, incomprehensive, and inaccurate translated agreement can lead to; lawsuits ensue and both your company’s reputation and financial health could be in jeopardy.

Many examples have been reported of language services companies that rely solely on poor quality machine translation tools. These automated tools translate legal texts within seconds, but they do not consider and often overlook the complexities and nuances of the legal content. With that being said, humans bear the consequences of the machine’s inadequacies; legal parties come into a dispute where each one believes that their version of the legal document is the accurate one.  

A relevant example took  place in the United States in the state of Florida when a Spanish individual intended to hire an attorney who speaks only English, to represent her in a civil suit. Needing to know what these documents say so that he may determine their relevance to the client’s case, the lawyer must decide how to translate these documents into English. The lawyer knows that paying a professional translator will dramatically increase the client’s bill, and he further doubts that the client has enough proficiency in English to translate the documents herself. Therefore, the lawyer chooses to translate the Spanish documents using a translation software program that his firm already owns and has paid for. The lawyer translates each of the documents using his firm’s translation system and uses the resulting English translations to prepare the client’s case. Litigation proceeds, and he loses her case. The same client eventually hires a new, Spanish-speaking lawyer to handle her appeal. The new lawyer reviews the case file and discovers that, not only has the appeal expired, but there was a material flaw in some of the English translations that the original lawyer relied on, which may have affected the outcome of her case. As a result, the client decides to file a malpractice suit against the previous lawyer.

Translation errors can cause a risk to the company’s reputation as well as disputes with customers or partners. A firm’s reputation can be at risk if a certain business transaction involves ill-translated paperwork, such as the terms and conditions of a specific service. This can cause the counterpart — be it a supplier, customer or partner — to withdraw from the transaction or even, in worse cases, result in a costly dispute. 

A prominent  incident is the South Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal. In 2011, South Korea failed to secure an FTA deal with the EU due to more than 207 mistakes in the translation of legal documents. This goes to show the importance of high-quality legal translations. It was an embarrassing situation for the South Korean government and a true indicator of how using expert linguists can save time, money, effort, and face.

When hiring or dismissing an employee who speaks a different language, acquiring the services of a consultant or even hiring a cleaning company can all become sensitive situations, if the legalities are not properly translated. Legal translation errors can lead to the loss of time and money, but also the loss of respect and networking opportunities. Legal translation is a big part of conducting businesses in foreign language markets and it is crucial in complying with local laws.

On May 7, 2015, 14 Spanish-speaking employees filed a suit in California state court against their employer, Gate Gourmet, a company that provides janitorial services to Delta Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport, for harassment and discrimination on the basis of national origin arising out of the alleged prohibited use of the Spanish language on the job.

The lawsuit alleges that the Company’s shift manager prohibited employees from speaking Spanish during shift from 2 to 11 p.m., even though the Company had no English-only policy and the majority of workers had been speaking Spanish on the job for almost a decade without incident. The lawsuit further alleges that workers are “constantly under threat and scrutiny” for speaking Spanish,

In the courtroom, on the other hand, the consequences can be even more serious. Take, for example, the case of a mistake in the translation of a criminal trial, where the wrong word can have a direct effect on a jury’s perception of the defendant’s character. As the jury is in charge of determining that person’s verdict, one word can eventually lead to an innocent person spending time in jail.

An example from the London court records has demonstrated how a single vowel sound can cause a full trial to collapse due to an interpreter’s error. When it comes to defending your company’s best interests, professional decision-makers should carefully set expertise as a crucial criteria when hiring language services companies. 

Whether you are expanding your business overseas, undertaking a venture in a new country, or going into partnership with multinational corporations, your business needs language experts to translate your business contractual agreements and transactions.

Why choose Tarjama as your legal translator?

With the unwavering support and guidance of our team of seasoned translators at Tarjama, we can provide your company with language solutions and localization services on various legal matters. Not only is this fundamental for your company to avoid language-related legal pitfalls, comply with local regulations, and mitigate legal risks, but it also provides a safe atmosphere for long-term plans and goals for your enterprise. 

Think about the possible threats to your company whenever it enters into any contract with another party that speaks a different language. Here at Tarjama, you don’t need to worry about contract infringement or violations due to translation errors, focus only on the profitably building your company… Sit back, relax and leave it to our experienced linguists.

Our hand-picked experienced translators and interpreters guarantee high quality and accurate translation for legal documents and contracts. Our clients’ testimonials are a source of pride as we promote our services as your legal translator.     

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