Legal translation is a complex matter and should never be undertaken by someone who is not competent to translate legal documents accurately to the target language. The legal translator should be a native speaker of the target language and have a fundamental understanding of the source language. It is also important when considering an assignment of this nature that the translator has an understanding of the cultural aspects of the target language for translation. The cultural characteristics of the target country will play a key role in the way that the document is understood, to that the translator should be able to convey the meaning of having adapted the original document accurately. Any mis-translation can have devastating consequences which may even result in legal proceedings against the company. It should further understand understood that mistranslation can also offend; also the translator should be alert to any words that are similar such as personal / personnel, as a misspelling can completely change the meaning of the text.
Terminology plays a key role and the legal translator should have a full understanding in this area and be able to adapt the text from the source language to the target language without losing anything in translation. This requires expertise and experience. Legal matters are constantly changing throughout the world and the legal translator must be up to date with those changes.
Legal translation as commented upon, needs competency and with that comes the ability to scrutinise and re read ensuring through the process of legal translation that there are no hidden mistakes.
The area of legal translation is a mine field and can not be taken on lightly; contract law; international law; corporate law; family, tax and immigration law; wills and affidavits, to name but a few and all subject to different regulations which in legal translation poses a huge head, but, attention to detail is essential if it is to convey precisely what is required.
Finally, the legal translator must be able to guarantee complete privacy of the legal documents to be translated and must have a full understanding of the task required. This does not just mean the actual process of translation but the meaning of the text so that it will be clearly translated to the target language with full knowledge of the source text.