Contract translations demand the highest levels of accuracy. The slightest departure from the original meaning of the document could affect the terms, and this could result in a significant disadvantage to one of the parties entering into the contract.
Hiring a professional language service provider (LSP) that specializes in legal translations is one way to ensure that these standards are met. Service from a qualified professional might cost more, but it is the only way to protect against mistranslations.
The following are five tips that can help reduce the cost and the turnaround time for professional contract translations.
Only use legalese when necessary
Contracts are going to contain some legal language. In many situations, the legal language, also called “legalese”, is appropriate and useful. However, it should only be used when it makes the terms of the contract clearer.
You want to avoid using archaic-sounding words like “herewith” or “hitherto”. Many of these words do not have direct translations in other languages. This can lead to a lack of clarity in the contract, confuse, and elongate the translation process.
Use your LSP’s translation memory
This is one good reason to use the same professional translation service for all of your translations. As you have documents translated, these firms save a database of past translations.
When you have new translations that need to be performed, some of the previously translated material might be useful or applicable. Considering many contracts follow similar templates, they might have segments and phrases in common. Instead of retranslating them repeatedly for every contract, the professional translator can just use parts of the standard translation that was previously produced. This will speed up the process, and it will cut the cost.
Simplify contracts by cutting the jargon
You might have different types of jargon that are common in your business, but these are terms that others do not understand, particularly in another language. Jargon can complicate contract terminology, and it can make the language unclear.
If you can remove industry-specific jargon from the contract, it will improve the clarity of the original document, and it will make it easier to translate accurately.
Use contract models to improve accuracy and speed up the process
In each country, there are certain standards for the presentation of a contract. When you move from one jurisdiction to another, these standards can change. It could be a difference in the formatting of the document or it might mean a difference in the way that the terms progress.
These are differences that you will need to account for when translating a contract for use in a different country. Contract models can ease the process by creating standard sections that can be used for translations into different languages and for different countries.
Don’t use doublets and triplets
You may find some contracts that have word sequences that are redundant. A doublet would be something like, “$1,000 (One thousand dollars).” You may also see something with language that states an employer will, “employ, engage and hire.” This is unnecessary repetition, and since most translators charge by the word, can increase the cost of the translation.
Quality is key when you are translating contracts and other legal documents. While this service can cost more than simpler interpretations, there are steps that you can take to cut the cost of high-quality legal translations.
Try to make your contracts short and simple. Also, avoid using language that can make the terms of a contract unclear, and hire a translator that uses translation memory to cut the cost and turnaround time of future translations.
Author: Sirena Rubinoff is the Content Manager at Morningside Translations. She earned her B.A. and Master’s Degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. After completing her graduate degree, Sirena won an international fellowship as a Rotary Cultural Ambassador to Jerusalem. Sirena covers topics related to software and website localization, global business solutions, and the translation industry as a whole.