There are different techniques that can be applied within legal translation according to specific verbal elements or textual conventions. Techniques are often used in a mix, while translation methods are applied as a whole to a translation task. Legal translations are essentially communication between two legal systems and are very closely connected with the prevailing cultures.
In the field of law, the legal language is an instrument for achieving justice and communicating with content having legal importance. Any mistranslations can create serious financial or social consequences. It is not just a case of ethnicity; legal translations relate to linguistics, legal knowledge, and a little bit of flexibility.
As terminologies and the structure of the content are sometimes altered by translators to suit the needs in a legal system. Different practices are being used by legal translation services in Abu Dhabi to furnish legal translations for their clients. We take a look here at some of these practices or techniques of translating legal concepts and information.
Functional Equivalent Technique for Legal Translation Abu Dhabi
The exchange of information during translations between two legal systems is based on legal terms. The denotation of legal texts is determined by the legal context it is intended to be used in.
A translator finds the functional equivalence of a legal term from one language to another during legal translations. This forms the equivalent functional techniques in legal translations. Most legal translation services in Abu Dhabi tend to prefer these legal translation techniques when it comes to translations. The reason that there are different legal systems that use the Arabic language.
Words, sentences, and terminologies from one legal system are to be accommodated while finding equivalencies in the other legal system. It cannot be the best suited or literal conversion of terms in legal translations.
Legal translators mostly look deeper into the legal system terminologies to find the precise sameness and the functional equivalence of the terminology. This comes from the knowledge about the language and the legal system. Without this, an equivalent functional technique would not be possible.
Similarly, for these techniques to work, understanding cultural limitations is also essential. Sometimes legal terms are connected with the cultural bounds in a geographical area. Finding equivalencies would not be possible without cultural knowledge of the meaning of terms in one legal system and their connotations in the other.
Cultural substitutions and literal translations
When a legal translator replaces the original text with a culturally appropriate element, then it is referred to as substitution or adaptation. This happens when the situation or word mentioned in the original legal language does not exist or match with a word in the other legal language or system.
For example, in the case of translation of legal contracts, the law and legal system governing the contract is given preference and not the one in which it was originally developed. Thus, cultural elements or terms are interpreted accordingly (either from source or the target legal system). This produces a more familiar, appropriate, and a comprehensive legal contract that is in accordance with the prevailing legal system as well.
Layouts or formats are also slightly adjusted in these legal tranlsation techniques to avoid literal interpretation and to produce a more appropriate translation. In such cases, the contextual meaning is kept intact to convey the overall meaning to the target reader. Sometimes the original and translated work maintain the meaning, arrangement of words, and the styles in legal translations. This is called a metaphrase or a literal translation.
Such translations are only possible in legal systems which are culturally very close. The phrases and content in this technique are translated word-by-word and are ensured to be idiomatically correct as well. There is a huge school of thought which believes that in order to preserve the letter of the law, legal translations should be undertaken literally.
Dictionaries vs. legal translation services in Abu Dhabi
Legal content is always distinct owing to its complexity, specialized terminologies, and type of discourse used in it. Reconstruction of legal content from one language to another; sometimes becomes complex due to the unavailability of comparable functional equivalent. This is where bilingual law dictionaries mostly come into play in translation services.
These dictionaries are proving to be very handy to novices who only bring linguistic knowledge to translations without any legal intellect. They often overlook the fact that it is not just mere legal terms; it is the reconstruction of a phrase connected with another legal system and culture.
Most of the freely available online law dictionaries are of poor quality and do not provide details of legal terms from different cultures. This leads to mistranslations. Hence, experts recommend that monolingual legal dictionaries and scholarly articles are referred to in cases of difficulties in finding equivalencies.
Experience, Rules and Knowledge
A legal translator bridges the divides of legal systems, the languages, and the associated cultures all at the same time. No matter what legal translation techniques are being taken for legal translation, it becomes unusable if the translator does not follow the general ethics and required professionalism. Legal translations are more about getting literate translation than a literal conversion.
Completing translations from original copies, upholding data protection, following the format, remaining non-judgmental in private legal documents, and maintaining the layouts of original legal documents; are some of the very basics. Remaining focused on cultures in a linguistic structure of a phrase comes with experience.
This is beyond the issues of terminological gaps or lexical voids. It relates to finding target language structures in legal systems with the same functions. It takes time, skills, and an understanding of structural components and elements in different languages.
For any effective legal translation work, legal translators use a variety of legal translation techniques to get the intended results. Adaptation, omissions, and literalism are the most common techniques which are used by legal translators. No techniques are perfect and we cannot uphold that one is better than the other.
To us, as a legal translation service in Abu Dhabi, the final product takes prime importance. It has to be a perfect rendition and should fulfill the requirement of our clients. Over the years, we take pride in that we have been able to achieve a great level of satisfaction and trust from our clients.
Legal translators mostly prefer to use functionalist theories, which favor the context and user of the final translated product. But is this the most appropriate technique to use in Abu Dhabi? Are there any other factors to consider as well? We try to look at the very basics of legal translation techniques read in this blog.