Few countries these days, especially affluent ones, are monolingual and monocultural any more even if they ever were. The twentieth century and the start of the twenty first centuries have seen an unprecedented growth in the movement of people. It doesn’t matter if there are multiple reasons why this has happened. Many are seeking a better life for themselves and their families and others are fleeing war and persecution in their homelands. The reality is that there are now significant minorities in many of the planet’s nations who d not necessarily understand the language of their adopted new homes as well as their own. These people need to be represented legally as well as everyone else and that means having professional legal translators and interpreters to make justice available to all.
The shortage of good interpreters and translators was highlighted last year in the U.K. when it was noted that 2,600 court cases had to be abandoned or adjourned simply because of a lack of high quality interpreters.
What is Involved in Legal Translation?
Legal translation is not just what occurs in courts. That’s important, of course and dovetails with legal interpreting, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a lot of preparation for court cases and then there is a lot of work that has nothing to do with a court case.
Refugees rarely have the same language as their host country and need professional interpreting and legal translation services to help them deal with the paperwork that is needed to fit them into society.
Many family members of immigrants, even those who have been in the country for a decade or two cannot speak the native language of other place of residence. They still get sick, need medical services, have to apply for changing immigration status and may wish to apply for courses or training that can help them fit in to their social environment. They may face legal action against them, be accused of a civil or criminal offense and need legal representation.
It’s Not Just Refugees Who Need Effective Legal Translators and Interpreters
In some parts of the world, the original native inhabitants have been swamped by newcomers. Their population may now be a fraction of the total, yet the language they are most familiar with is no longer spoken officially. This is the case with many former European colonies which have seen a massive change in population and ethnic composition. In Australia, for instance, many indigenous Australians may not be fluent in English, Australia’s main language. Some indigenous people may not speak any English at all. That can lead to all sorts of problems when communication is needed to sort out social or legal problems. In some cases, indigenous Australians have ended up in jail simply because they did not understand what was going on after being arrested and had no qualified interpreter or legal translator to help them defend themselves.