4 Ways LinguistIt Is Changing Legal Translation in Israel 

I am going to do something unpopular on corporate blogs. I’m not going to beat around the bush. I am going to tell you why I know that LinguistIt offers something entirely new and yes better to the world of Israeli legal translation and why I am confident that you, your clients and your firm will gain qualitatively by LinguistIt for all your legal translation needs.

1. LinguistIt only uses Lawyer-Linguists to Translate Legal Documents

It is essential that translators understand the content of their translations. This is doubly true for sensitive legal documents, which require precision and are susceptible to small mistakes, which can be extremely costly. Lawyers have studied law in school, interned,  practice and keep up to date with the trends. So they are justifiably cautious when avoiding use of “legal translators” whose qualifications involve no more than calling themselves “legal translators.”

LinguistIt is unique in that it is founded by an Israel Bar Association certified lawyer who developed an expertise in translation. We have a growing team of in-house lawyer-linguists and ensure that every document that we translate is handled, translated, proofread and edited by our translator-attorneys.

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2. LinguistIt Cuts Out the Agency Middlemen    

When Israeli law firms seek out translation work, they often turn to large translation agencies who in-turn then hand the translations off to freelancers while taking a cut of the profit. LinguistIt continues to grow a team of in-house lawyer-linguists and trusted partners in order to meet the needs of our clients without turning to agency middlemen. This gives us the unique ability to guarantee the quality and legal accuracy of the translation, while at the same time keeping rates competitive.

3. LinguistIt’s Lawyers Understand What Lawyers Need 

LinguistIt is able to put our clients face to face with our lawyer-linguists and cater to their particular needs and deadlines. The LinguistIt team is comprised of lawyers who also understand the particular stresses and demands of the legal world in general and the Israeli legal community in particular.

We understand the hassles of ill-formatted, incorrect or sloppy translations, and the cost our clients pay for them in time and aggravation. In turn, we guarantee that our work will always meet expectations because it is our team that does the work with care, expertise, attention to detail and a rigorous proofreading process.

4. On-Time, Every Time

LinguistIt uses its consistent team of in-house lawyer-linguists to guarantee that we meet our clients’ timetables. We routinely field complicated translation work for large firms, major corporations as well as individuals and small businesses and meet even their most urgent deadlines.

Want to continue this conversation? Email me at ybrander@linguistit.com

LinguistIt Legal and Business Translations is a boutique legal translation firm that utilizes in-house lawyer-linguists, cutting out the agency middlemen, in order to provide the highest quality translations of legal and business documents with a commitment to customer service. We are proud to expertly serve clients ranging from leading Israeli law firms to start-ups and small businesses. Check us out on our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin for daily updates on the worlds of legal translation, international and Israeli law.

“Next Practices” After 3,000 Years: The Coming Revolution in Legal Translation

Legal translation is nearly as old as law itself. As one can imagine, a field so old as to be attested to by versions of the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty of 1271 B.C. preserved in Akkadian cuneiform on clay tablets and in Egyptian hieroglyphics can be pretty slow to evolve, particularly in the region that birthed it. The standard amongst Israeli law firms has long been to use bilingual articulated clerks or young lawyers fresh out of school to do the job of translating legal documents. This system has become one of the entrenched “best practices” in the Israeli legal community. But it is time to disrupt this system with “next practices” – the outsourcing the translation and proofreading of contracts, pleadings, etc. to teams of skilled and expert legal translators.

The Hittite Version of the Treaty of Kadesh (on display at Istanbul Archaeology Museums)

The Hittite Version of the Treaty of Kadesh (on display at Istanbul Archaeology Museums)

While the “best practice” places the value on keeping work in-house, the “next practice” of utilizing expert legal translation firms guarantees the highest quality, as it puts the task in the hands of experts with years of experience. Over the next few weeks, we will explore why this “next practice” is rightfully the future of the industry. This week will focus on the value of expertise and keeping translations error-free.

Mistakes in the translation of legal documents are remarkably costly and have led to international disputes (such as the case with the bungled translation of the Treaty of Waitangi) and in criminal cases has led to the dismissal of charges, mistrials and even false convictions. In torts, contract, and corporate law, mistranslation has cost corporations hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties, lawsuits, and legal fees. Using the right team of legal translators like the firm I work with LinguistIt who only uses experienced with legal backgrounds makes sure those mistakes don’t happen.

The reason that even your most fluently bilingual interns, young lawyers, or clerks are more mistake-prone is because they are trained and are supposed to be training to be lawyers, and have not received special education in legal translation.  Even a natural inclination for translation cannot replace the experience of translating documents for years. After all, by the time they become proficient or have enough experience to do a great job,  they will likely no longer be interns, young lawyers, or clerks, and a new batch of rookies will begin. This lack of experience by even the most gifted bilingual lawyers often leads to embarrassing and costly mistakes.

The Hieroglyphic text of the treaty inscribed on a temple wall in Karnak.

The Hieroglyphic text of the treaty inscribed on a temple wall in Karnak.

Indeed, the “next practice” is built on the understanding that there is a difference between a bilingual person who was educated in law and lawyers who focus on translating legal documents (such as at LinguistIt, where our team is made up and supervised by lawyers who have practiced law before specializing in translation). Legal translators need to quickly navigate not only legalese in two languages but make sure that the documents are readable and understandable, while retaining their intended meaning. Skill is required to recognize the reality that “every translation is an interpretation,” while at the same time making sure that linguistic interpretation does not deviate from the intentions of the original source. Being able to deftly navigate these consideration and save you, your business, or your firm from embarrassment or worse – requires great legal translation skills. And like in sports, these skills are the admixture of a discernible amount of talent, a deep knowledge of the fundamentals, and lots and lots of practice and experience. Put simply: with a major client, a big deal or a pending lawsuit – you want to have the advantage, so stop using the “best practices” and use the “next practice,” and call in the experts.

Next week, we will explore how LinguistIt not only presents an alternative to in-house translation but is also disrupting orthodoxies of the giant catch-all freelance translation agencies by employing lawyers who are also experienced translators. This allows them to ensure that their work is useful, accurate and customized to your needs. We will explain how moving from “best practices” to “next practices” will save your company or the lawyers in your firm aggravation and time that could otherwise be concentrated on your clients and your business.

The Impact of Bad Translation

For those of us who are multi-lingual, our mother tongue still greatly influences how we interpret things or present them in any other languages spoken.

If we are not careful or do not receive specialized knowledge, it is so easy to make assumptions based on our own culture or language, including rote translations that don’t take into account the other culture, attitudes and expressions. Oftentimes these seemingly small or insignificant assumptions can make or break a legal case or a business deal.

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When you add in the difference between legal systems, even when a word is technically translated correctly, the concept can vary significantly from one legal system to another to the point of derailing a case or transaction. Furthermore, since the accuracy of a legal document often depends on syntax and careful word selection, things cannot simply be translated by anyone who knows the language.

Even when a business deal is made between individuals of two different nationalities, the expectations upon closing could mean very different things. One theoretical example is given regarding a real estate deal between a US national and an Italian national that portrays a difference in the understanding of notaries and public instruments. If only the translating lawyer knew this, it would have saved the theoretical individuals involved a great deal of headache.

In an actual case from a few years ago, Canadian Supreme Court Justice Anthony Hill had to declare a mistrial as a result of a court interpreter mistranslating a number of texts, including translating “sexual assault” as “physical assault” and “two days” as a “couple of weeks.” These errors were deemed sufficient for the entire case against Hindi-speaking defendant Vishnu Dutt Sharma to be jeopardized.

Additionally, having a good legal translator likely made the difference between winning and losing in a case between shoemaker Christian Louboutin and fashion house Yves Saint-Laurent. Louboutin won the case after hiring very proficient legal translators who had experience with many international legal cases.

These are only a few examples, with many others existing around the world. When you are dealing with international legal cases or business deals involving not only individuals who speak different languages, but also very different legal and financial procedures, it is best to err on the side of caution so that you don’t lose a great deal of time and money.