In the legal industry, the path to discovering the ultimate truth is by no means a smooth process. Sometimes, the risk of missing out on imperative details and information can be the bitter footnotes of an arduous process when searching for the truth between two sides of a legal matter. 

In legal interpretation services, that path can become even more tumultuous. Not only are you dealing with extremely sensitive information, but now you’re also adding the potential to lose sight of key facts. Language barriers can cause difficulties with even the most rudimentary conversations, so what happens when there is the potential to have imperative data lost in translation due to language barriers?

This is where legal interpreting comes into the fold. 

Why Is Legal Interpretation Important? 

The path to obtaining true justice is not a one-way street. To ensure a fair and accurate outcome in a court proceeding, legal interpretation and translation services are essential. 

Legal interpretation has no bias and merely presents the information. It protects the law and the people, the defendant and the accused.  A fair trial means both parties being heard, and most importantly – understood.

Principles of Legal Translation

The principles of legal interpretation rest on the foundation of a very simple concept – that a fair trial is not limited to those who speak the native language of the country they testify in, and that those who lack the ability to verbalise statements are heard and understood as accurately as possible. 

Some examples of legal interpretations adhering to these principles are:

  • Saving time and ensuring accuracy during multilingual court proceedings 
  • Working alongside law personnel during legal matters outside of a court setting 
  • Acting as a conduit between client and legally appointed counsellor 
  • Work alongside deaf and hard of hearing people and logging their statements accurately 

Types of Legal Interpretation 

Depending on the area of law you’re in, the types of legal interpretation generally tend to be divided into two main areas. 

Literal or Grammatical Interpretation

In this instance, a judge may not be permitted to look at anything but the language of the law documentation. Nothing may be altered, added to, or taken away from the law document.

In other words, the interpretation of the content is taken as an exact translation of what is intended or what was said with nothing up for interpretation.

Functional or Logical Interpretation

In this instance, there may be too much ambiguity in the documentation or a translation with multiple meanings that could be deemed inconsistent.

In other words, further evidence and research may be permitted, in order to find suitable proof of the legislation’s true intent. 

Legal Interpretation Services 

If you’re in need of the assistance of legal interpretation services, particularly for legal reasons, it’s essential that you work alongside seasoned professionals. When it comes to legal matters, a legal interpreter might be required to translate during the following scenario using either simultaneous interpretation or consecutive interpretation.

Legal interpretation scenario: 

A witness is called to testify and give evidence in a court proceeding. However, the witness doesn’t speak English. Due to the sensitive, and potentially life-changing legal information this witness will be giving, it’s imperative that their statement is logged accurately and thoroughly.

This is where the services of a legal interpreter can be useful. These legal interpretations can be logged through the following methods: 

Simultaneous Interpreting

The specialist interpreter will listen attentively and give a meticulous translation at the exact time of the statement, live, and in the necessary language.

The impartiality and accuracy needed here is a skill that takes time to master, so be sure to use the service of a reputable and experienced legal interpretation and translation service, like Global Lingo. 

Consecutive Interpreting

For smaller court settings or legal matters that require meticulous attention to detail, the witness or speaker may be permitted to cease speaking after 5 minutes, in order for the interpreter to accurately translate what they’re saying.

While it may appear to be a straightforward process on the surface, these methods of legal interpretation require thorough attention to detail in order to reproduce the same meanings from the speaker’s mouth to official legal court documents. 

Outcomes of Not Using Legal Interpretation 

Oversights in the legal profession can be life-changing and disastrous. By not using all the tools at your disposal, a legal statement runs a high risk of being potentially inaccurate and poorly summarised.

In addition to this, a lack of professional legal interpretation can lead to:

  • A drain of police resources and misuse of court time
  • Inaccurate statement translations or misunderstandings
  • Cultural barriers leading to a confusing and disjointed translation
  • Potential to wrongfully prosecute an innocent party
  • Potential to fail in prosecuting a guilty party

In the setting of a courtroom, the legal translator is a neutral observer, only there to accurately transcribe information for both parties to help facilitate a fair verdict. Without that conscientious translation tool, the potential for oversights and misunderstandings grow.

Legal Interpretation and Clarity 

In any legal proceeding, absolutes are important. Multilingual legal matters can create ambiguity, and within that lack of clarity breeds misunderstandings, inaccuracies, and potentially life-threatening errors. 

Having an unbiased and impartial legal interpreter to accurately log all of the information ensures that nothing is left to chance. The ramifications of any oversights in a legal proceeding are not only hazardous to the legal system as a whole, but also to individuals and businesses. 

Be sure to avoid these issues and enlist the help and services of a reputable translation company. Global Lingo provides meticulous translations across the world to both internal and external audiences. We ensure that all content is accurate, consistent, and culturally sensitive.

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