In the world of translations, legal texts are certainly a special topic, not only because of the complexity of their vocabulary and the sensitivity and impact of their content, but also because they usually require a lot of preparation before the translation can begin. This is why public translators are required to guarantee a precise translation, faithful to the original.
In a typical project that involves legal texts, whether they be certificates (birth, marriage, death), commercial contracts, labor contracts etc., the original text is received in poor condition. This is either because the papers are old, wrinkled, full of signatures and stamps on the text, with crossed-out parts, or simply they are poorly made photocopies.
For an optimal result, it is best to follow these steps:
- Preparation of the file: The design team is responsible for digitizing the original document through different text recognition programs and recreating any type of structure such as tables, forms, etc. But as we said these texts are usually very “contaminated” with signatures, stamps and handwritten texts, so we need an extra step to “fix” what the text recognition software could not capture well.
- Pre-editing: In this step the translator must compare the original texts with the converted digital texts and correct all the words that were not well recognized. For example, in the original it says “rental contract” and in the converted file it says “ren1 contr2(t”. In addition to correcting this type of error, the pre-editing should also replace the images of signatures, stamps, logos, etc. by its description in square brackets, for example [Signature], [Seal of the civil registry of the City of XXX] or [Logo of XXX]. In the same way, texts that can not be read are marked as [illegible], whether they be handwritten texts, smudged stamps, and things of that nature.
- Translation: Now, with the text well prepared, we can work with a CAT-tool (computer aided translation tool), which facilitates the process by saving the translation in the translation memory or TM, in addition to providing access to glossaries and terminology bases.
- Edition: It is essential that a second linguist review the initial translation and correct any errors in meaning (the legal texts are full of false cognates) as well as grammar and spelling.
- Final review (or proofreading): In this step a third linguist reads the translated text, without comparing it with the original, to make any final adjustments and to make sure that the text is impeccable.
- DTP (or desktop publishing): The finished text is sent back to the design department where any format problem is fixed and the document is made ready to be delivered to the client.
- Certification: Certification means a legal document is signed by a notary, guaranteeing that the delivered text is a faithful translation of that language to another language and that the work was performed by a team of trained and experienced linguists.
At Trusted Translations, we work hard to ensure every translation project follows every step, in order to achieve professional, accurate and fast results. We are at your disposal for any questions or quote requests!