Contract Translation: 5 Key Things to Consider

Published on September 22nd, 2022

contract translation

Any business that operates access language markets will require contract translation in certain scenarios. Even if you are based in one country but sell to international customers, or hire foreign-speaking staff or source products/parts from overseas, you are going to deal with contracts that require 100% accurate translation.

Companies with stronger roots overseas will need contract translation on a regular basis. For example, in instances where companies have bases in multiple countries or deal with overseas partners. In this article, we discuss five key things you need to consider when translating contracts, regardless of how often you need this service.

What is contract translation & who needs it?

Contract translation is a specialist service within legal document translation that converts contracts from one language into another – or multiple other languages. Accurate translation is essential for contracts between companies, organisations and individuals from different language markets.

Any company that operates in overseas markets or deals with international partners will need contract translation for a variety of purposes.

Here are some of the most common use cases for contract translation:

  • Purchase orders
  • Employment contracts
  • Property or equipment lease
  • Sales agreements
  • Service level agreements
  • Partnership contracts
  • Licence agreements
  • Insurance contracts
  • Commercial lease agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Indemnity agreements
  • Merger and acquisition contracts

Translation errors can invalidate contracts and compromise both the liability of partners within agreements and, potentially, the legal protection of one or multiple parties. In other words, accuracy is imperative and mistakes can cost huge amounts of money, time and other resources once you reach the international scale that requires contract translation.

With all this in mind, let’s look at the five key factors that need to be considered when translating contracts.

#1: Always work with contract translation specialists

Above all, always make sure you hire contract translation specialists with a proven track record of delivering consistently quality results. This is a highly-specialised field within legal translation and the subset of legal document translation so you should not settle for anything less than proven expertise in this area.

#2: Local market knowledge is crucial

Contract laws in the UK, France and many other markets vary greatly. Businesses need to know that their contracts are valid in every applicable market and also understand how compliance obligations may differ, as well as legal rights if other parties fail to hold up their end of the deal.

Therefore, it is important that translators have extensive knowledge of their markets’ contracts and always have translated contracts checked over by legal experts in each market.

#3: Specialist subject knowledge is also important

We have already discussed two core essentials of hiring specialist contract translators with local market knowledge. However, there is a third key requirement you need from the language experts translating your contracts: Subject Knowledge.

For example, if you work in the pharmaceutical industry, it is essential to work with translators who have extensive knowledge of this field and experience translating the same type of contracts you are currently dealing with.

Likewise, for engineering firms, translators with experience in translating the same type of contracts they deal with is a must; these translators should also have knowledge of the specialist terminology relevant this industry.

#4: Precision matters – in every language

Precision is important in any contract, and ambiguity, even in the original contract, can leave the terms vulnerable to interpretation and weaken its legal protections. Precision is just as important (if not more so) when it comes to contract translation and any ambiguity in the original copy can, once again, leave key terms open to interpretation – something that can produce mistranslations.

The language in original contracts must be as clear and precise as possible to reduce the risk of ambiguity to a minimum. Building on this, relevant translations also require 100% precision so the intended meaning is always delivered in every language version, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

#5: Translation technology is here to help

The best language professionals know how to use technology to achieve 100% accuracy as quickly as possible and guarantee consistency across every project. With tools like automatic translation, terminology management and translation memory, a team of multiple translators can deliver fast results in the exact same style with consistent translations across every contract.

Consistency is important when translation is often open to interpretation, meaning multiple translators could translate certain sentences differently. Even the same translator could translate the same sentence differently on separate occasions, especially on long-term projects.

Translation technology removes unwanted variations, no matter how long your project runs, how many language experts are on your team, or how many personnel changes you might need to make over the years.

Also Read: Why do you need specialist legal translation services?

Do you need contract translation services?

If you need contract translation or any more information about this service, get in touch with us by filling out the form on the contact page.

Posted on: September 22nd, 2022