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February 14, 2019By legaltranslationsblog

Importance of Legal Translation for Arbitration Disputes

When a lawyer is involved in arbitration and the clients don’t have a good command of English, the lawyer simply sends the necessary legal documents away to be translated.
The lawyer doesn’t dwell on the matter but just treats it like any other day to day administrative tasks. If the translation is taking place at home it’s not such an issue, but if it is related to an international dispute legal document translations for arbitration matters need to be taken more seriously.

Neither the lawyer nor the client can afford to take the burden if any mistakes are made. There could be any type of legal document that needs translation. It could be, for example, arbitration involving a contract dispute that didn’t turn out as well as it should have done.
Whatever the reason for arbitration, a great variety of documents could be involved, such as highly technical specialised reports, business letters and past court judgements involving similar cases. Before any of these documents can be used for arbitration the translation has to be well translated and accurate.


    All Legal Translations for Arbitration must be Professional

    A lot of people think that nothing serious could happen with a bad translation. In fact, this is a myth, as when it comes to arbitration a poor translation could lead to a different effect than a good translation. It could distort evidence and even result in a different outcome for a case. A translation isn’t just writing out text in another language far more legal knowledge is required in order to get the translation just right.

    A good legal translation is when the translator has translated into the target language the exact meaning of the text. In order for the legal translation for arbitration to be a success, the translator needs to be able to completely capture the whole meaning of the text and that means the translator hasn’t any doubt about what the text means.

    What makes a Translation for Arbitration Particularly Difficult?

    The translator needs to understand the complex world of legal terminology in two languages and from there be able to translate the legal text for arbitration competently. The next problem that arises is to do with the legal systems in the countries of each language. They are not always the same so the translator has to learn the legal systems as well before completing the translation for arbitration. For example, the ‘statement of defences’ are occasionally translated mistakenly to mean ‘counter-claims.’ Often, in legal English, the word ‘security’ isn’t a synonym for ‘safety’; the word ‘equity’ isn’t a synonym for ‘fairness’ and other words like those for ‘motion’ or ‘pleading’ may have a totally different legal meaning depending on the procedural system. This means that the translator has to do two translations one the language and the second for the specific use of the legal language.

    A translator who isn’t proficient in both the target language and its legal system when it comes to translating legal documents for arbitration could cause damage by mistakenly distorting any of the evidence. A good example occurred recently with what should have been an easy Russian sentence. This said that at arbitration both parties dismissed their claims against one other ‘as at’ the signing date was translated by saying that the parties dismissed their claims ‘as from’ the signing date.

    This very small language mistake led to the whole case literally being ‘lost in translation’. An entire case can be lost if a bad translation distorts so much evidence that it can’t be recognised.

    Choose an Individual Translator for an Arbitration Translation

    Going for the cheapest translation service for an arbitration translation doesn’t always work, as these sorts of translation companies don’t pay much to their translators, which results in poor translations taking place. Unless you have had a good experience with a particular company you should seek out the best freelance translator you can find. The E.U. employs many lawyer-linguists to do their translation work. This ensures that the legal documents translated are done so consistently. If the E.U. sees the importance of good translations so should the legal industry that deals with arbitration issues where translation accuracy is essential.


    Without a doubt, arbitration translations can be a challenge for any average translator. The best option is to select a translator or translation agency that has proven experience of performing accurate translations in the legal industry for the relevant countries.

    Last Updated On:  March 10, 2023 By legaltranslations blog

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