Legal document and patent translation is a complex process involving a wide range of experience and subject matter knowledge.
While most documents are translated using some degree of the localization process (adjusting for the target culture as well as language), legal documents require a much more literal approach. In addition, many legal and patent documents contain complex diagrams, sketches or renderings that must also be addressed.
To ensure an accurate translation of sensitive legal instruments, these services must be delivered by subject matter experts in both the legal field and the specific topic area.
How Legal Translation Differs from Other Types
Most documents and artifacts translated into another language also must be localized. This may involve extensive changes to make the information both relevant and meaningful for the target audience. But when working with patents and other legal documents, localization strategies cannot be applied.
In other words, the translator cannot add or adapt cultural nuances or attempt to clean up the language used in the original document. Although this may result in a translation that sounds stilted or odd (or that maybe does not fully comply with the target rules of language), the literal meaning will be made clear by the translator.
Addressing Figures, Drawings and Renderings
Many patents and legal documents contain illustrative drawings, figures or renderings containing notations relevant to the topic.
Typically the translation professional must provide a literal rendition of any notations, dimensions or other relevant information. In some cases, however, slight modifications may be necessary. For example, some languages use different numerical notation and formatting. Consequently, the translator must apply careful judgment and technical experience to ensure an accurate representation.
Finally, the translator must understand the notations’ purpose and meaning within the context of the entire document. Because one English word has many potential translations in another language, this level of comprehension is crucial to an accurate rendering.
The Importance of Subject Matter Experts
Although it might seem as though anyone with a legal background could provide translating services for any legal matter, that’s a common fallacy. In truth, the translation professional must have extensive experience in the specific topic.
For example, if your patent is for a pharmaceutical supplement, the translator must have a background in patent law as well as the pharmaceutical industry in both the origin and target language area.
Verbatim Solutions offers a variety of translation and interpretation services to clients around the world. Our services include providing certified translations, if they are necessary as a part of a filing or other legal proceeding.
Contact us today to learn more about how our legal and patent translation services can benefit you.