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Professional legal translation

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Legal translation

Lector offers its clients quality specialist translations of legal documents in all the most common languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc.). As a specialist in legal translations for more than a decade, we carry out thousands of legal translations for our corporate clients every year. We handle the documents of our Hungarian and foreign partners securely and under a confidentiality agreement.

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15+ years of
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13,074 customers

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124,576,072
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84,311 documents

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60,419,406
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Why choose Lector when you need professional legal translation?

Our translators are qualified and qualified legal translators, many of whom are lawyers themselves, with in-depth knowledge of the language and years of experience. Legal translations demand extreme accuracy, precision and care from translators, and every word and phrase in such documents is of the utmost importance, to which we always pay great attention. If necessary, we can also carry out mirror translations, parallel translations of paragraphs, contract clauses or even the integration of legal material from several languages into the same document. Overlaps and duplications in legal texts are identified by our staff and, of course, taken into account when preparing a quotation.

We offer a specialised legal translation service at short notice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at a competitive price.
You can request legal translation in 40 languages from Lector.

Get a translation quote now!

We translate into 40 languages: English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Slovak, Czech, Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian, Slovenian, Swedish, Dutch, Ukrainian, Asian and African languages.

Translation of legal documents

Contracts, Company Extracts & Job Descriptions

We provide professional and fast services if you need to translate contracts. Among other things, we can help you translate contracts concerning orders, purchases, employment, business, suppliers, etc.

Legislation, Draft Bills & Court Decisions

Our translators with relevant professional knowledge in the legal field provide the most accurate translations of official documents. We have extensive experience in translating court orders, court decisions and tender material.

Protocols & Agreements

Allow our translators to translate protocols and agreements and contact us if you would like to translate company extracts and job descriptions.

Judgments, Expert Opinions & Appeals

Our experienced translators produce translations of judgments, expert opinions and appeals. They also help with divorce papers, and translations of decisions.

Simple administration

Our administration is very easy and flexible. You can take care of everything online, from uploading and downloading your documents to receiving the invoice and settling the payment. Our document archive allows you to work with multiple colleagues at the same time. Our translation agency is at your disposal 24/7.

Personal customer service

Everything can be done online most of the time, but we also offer personalised customer service that is always available to you and your business partners. Our management is always all ears. Our Project Manager gladly assists you at any time.

Who already chose Lector

Medicover
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Mahart
Mahir
Isobar

The challenges of translating legal texts in the European Union

I. Kobyakova, PhD in Philology, Professor's summary

  Legal translation requires a professional with legal and practical experience. The translation of legal documents, one of the most difficult of translation jobs, requires accurate and correct translation. There are many texts that require legal translation, such as birth certificates, application letters, patent certificates, powers of attorney, financial statements, documents in evidence, litigation materials or business contracts. Translators must not only have general legal knowledge, but also be well informed about legal requirements and the details of foreign cultural and legal systems. Translating legal documents into a foreign language is considered more difficult than other general or technical translations. Legal terminology is the biggest challenge as each country has its own legal terminology and legal system. Often this is different from other countries even if the languages they speak are the same. A legal translator must have competence in three areas: knowledge of the target language's specific writing style, knowledge of the relevant terminology and general knowledge of the legal systems of the source and target languages. There is no room for word-for-word translation when translating legal documents. For this reason, a professional translator of legal documents must be an investigator, a legal scholar and a linguist all in one. They must carry out research to decode the source text and convey its true meaning without deviating from the original content under any circumstances, even if an accurate translation is not possible. Legal texts pose many different types of translation problems and require specific methods to make the translated text understandable to the reader in the target language, while at the same time reflecting the originality and specificity of the legal system of the source language country. These requirements oblige the translator to translate with great care, by constantly linking the translated text to the culture of the source language, using strategies such as borrowing original expressions, localising certain expressions into the target language, using language gaps or introducing a descriptive translation in which some explanations are obligatory.
  Sometimes it is sufficient to use equivalent terms in the target and source languages in comparison, but sometimes the translator needs to localise certain elements for comprehension. In order to determine which strategies predominate, a comparative analysis of a number of legal texts written in foreign and English has been carried out and it has been concluded that the most effective strategy is to maintain the specificity of the source culture rather than to strip the texts of their specific character, although localisation is sometimes necessary. Some expressions also require a simple equivalent translation, as they operate simultaneously in both language cultures. To perform such a translation, the translator needs a parallel approach. First, it must decipher all the meanings in the source text by analysing the content in detail. Such an analysis must not only be linguistic, but also require some legal knowledge to understand the proper content of the text. This means that the translator must be involved in analysing some of the legal bases for the meaning of the text. The best way to do this is to look at the current laws and regulations governing the form of the document, or to find some other accessible information or credible adviser through which any possible doubts can be removed. According to Sarcevic, legal translation can be classified according to the functions of the source language legal texts into the following categories: (1) primarily prescriptive, e.g. laws, regulations, codes, treaties, contracts and conventions. These are regulatory instruments that contain rules of conduct or norms. They are normative texts; (2) primarily descriptive and prescriptive, e.g. court decisions and legal instruments used to conduct judicial and administrative proceedings, such as actions, pleadings, briefs, appeals, requests, petitions, etc. ; and (3) purely descriptive, e.g. academic works written by legal scholars, such as legal opinions, legal textbooks, articles, etc. Sarcevic defines legal translation as specialised communication between professionals, excluding communication between lawyers and non-lawyers. One of the main problems with existing classifications of legal translation is that they are based on the function or use of the original legal texts in the source language, without due consideration of various target language factors such as the function or status of the translated texts. At the same time, the functions of the source language text must be distinguished from the functions of the target language text. In addition to the source language variables, the target language variables must also be taken into account. Another problem with the existing classifications is that many documents that are used in legal proceedings and translated as such are excluded from the classifications, e.g. documents used in court proceedings. The third main problem is that some classifications, such as Sarcevic, exclude communication between lawyers and non-lawyers (clients). Sarcevic's restriction to "legal texts intended for professionals only" excludes those types of texts that form a large part of the legal translator's actual life: for example, private agreements and correspondence between lawyers and clients. In this approach, legal language refers to the language of the law and the legal process. This includes the language of the law, the language of the law itself and the language used in other legal communication situations. Legal language is a type of definition, i.e. different languages adapted to different circumstances of use and situations, and in this case different languages adapted to the legal conditions of use. Legal texts can have different communication purposes. They can serve normative purposes, such as bilingual and multilingual rules and other laws and documents that establish legal facts or create rights and obligations. Legal texts can also serve informative purposes, for example in some legal academic works and commentaries, legal advice, correspondence between lawyers, between lawyers and clients, and documents used in court proceedings. They are mostly descriptive. The legal status and communication purpose of the original texts and target texts must be defined for the translator, as these may influence the translation. It is also important for our purposes that the legal status and communicative purpose of source language texts are not automatically transferred to target language texts. These can be different. Based on the above description of legal language and legal texts, legal translation refers to the translation of legal texts from the source language into the target language. Legal translation can be divided into three categories in the light of the purpose of the target language texts. First, there is legal translation for normative purposes. It refers to the production of the same authentic legal texts in national laws, as well as international legal instruments and other laws in bilingual and multilingual jurisdictions. These are legal translations. Such bilingual or multilingual texts are first produced in one language and then translated into another language or languages. They may be produced in both or all languages at the same time. In either case, the different language texts have equal legal force and none of them supersedes the other, regardless of their original status. Legal texts in these different languages can be considered official if they have undergone a validation process as required by law. Under this process, such texts are not merely translations of the law, but the law itself. It is a well-known fact that legal translation is complex and complicated. There are many reasons for this. Generally speaking, the complexity and difficulty of legal translation can be explained by the nature of the law and the language used by the law, as well as by the differences that arise in intercultural and interlingual communication.

Frequently asked questions

What areas does legal translation cover?

Legal translation covers all areas of expertise, from criminal and civil law to immigration and legal aid.

Who translates the legal material?

Why is legal translation specialised?

The complexity of the content and the specific vocabulary of legal texts make translation difficult. In addition to knowledge of the source and target languages, a good quality legal translation requires an understanding of the legal and economic context, so it is advisable to have legal translators with a law degree and who have studied abroad.

Which materials should be entrusted to a legal translator?

Translating contracts, agreements, orders, decisions, settlements, sales contracts, leases, powers of attorney, leasing contracts, company contracts, payment orders are the most common legal texts that require specialised legal translation.

A common question asked by translation students:

How can I check if my language skills are good enough to work in the European Council?

The answer can be found on the website of the European Personnel Selection Office. As part of the selection procedure for all open competitions, published on the EPSO website, candidates are required to take a series of tests to assess their general and professional skills and competences. The first round of tests, which is compulsory for most candidates, consists of computer-based multiple-choice tests. The only exception to this is for candidates applying for specialisations where the initial selection procedure is based on qualifications only.

The career list includes lawyer-linguists, translators and interpreters. Candidates who successfully complete the computer-based multiple-choice tests and/or selection on the basis of qualifications, and whose online application forms demonstrate that they meet the general and specific eligibility criteria, will be invited to a personal interview.

The personal assessment is usually held in Brussels or Luxembourg and can sometimes take several days. At the assessment centre, the translator candidates' general competences and their specific competences related to the different tasks are tested.

However, EPSO does not provide any preparatory courses or materials, except for certain sample tests, nor does it sponsor publications or training from other organisations.