Global Lingo Blog

Machine translation for legal documents?

Automatic translation has come a long way in the last few years, and the technological advances for translations are undeniable and impressive.

However, we still don’t believe that machine translation tools will replace people in this industry too soon. Sometimes the stakes are just too high, like in the case of translation of legal documents.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or how confidential is your information?

The information in a highly confidential document should be just that: confidential. In case that document needs to be translated, free machine translation tools are probably not the best way to do it. These tools, like Google Translate or Bing Translator, store the input text that you offer. They do this in order to improve their performance, which is a reasonable and desirable outcome. Nonetheless, the information is stored and this means that other parties may access it. Legally binding contracts and any other kind of confidential documents should never be run through free machine translation tools.

Translation accuracy

The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is like the difference between a lightning and a lightning bug. — Mark Twain

The phrasing used in the framework of legal documents must be rendered accurately and must under no circumstances be ambiguous. The incorrect translation of a legal document can lead to misunderstandings and frustrations, – not to mention the delays and escalating costs which often follow. A single poor-chosen word can tip the scale of the law. That’s why accurate translations are a must in the legal industry.

Even Google Inc. use professional translation companies instead of their Google Translate tool when they need legal translations. This happens because they know machine translation cannot be 100% accurate, especially for important documents. In fact, there are two important factors that highly affect the accuracy of the translated output of machine translation:

  • The length of the text: the longer the input, the higher the chances of errors in the output;
  • The type of document: the more technical the input, the higher the chances of errors in the output.

In case of a longer legal document, a professional human translator, with a thorough knowledge of the legal systems of both the source and target language, will always be the only best option.

Our translation services and security of information

Many of our clients require high levels of security, both in terms of data and the discretion of our employees. We guarantee this by having all our full-time employees CRB and credit checked once a year and by following strict IT security guidelines at all times.

This means that no matter what the project, you can rest assured that your information is safe with us.

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