There is a misconception that most of the world speaks English. While it is true that a large percentage of the world’s population either speaks or understands at least some degree of English, there are still a great number of people – even in England, itself! – that do not use or comprehend the language.
The language barriers faced by people who are unable to communicate are always difficult, but nowhere do they create more stress than in matters of law. Americans tend to assume that all citizens of the United States understand the laws of the land, but what happens when someone from a Spanish speaking home or country encounters legal problems while living or working in America? Legal Spanish translation can be both a figurative and literal lifesaver for these people.
Knowing the Language
The first and most important qualification any person can possess in becoming a legal translator or interpreter is to have a strong grasp of the language or languages they will be working with. It is not enough to be conversational; to translate matters of law, you must be incredibly fluent. Legal matter range in importance from traffic tickets and minor legal violations to issues that could result in jail time or even capital punishment if the defendant is found guilty of the crime. This is why providers of legal translation services must be able to communicate effectively and accurately with their clients, as well as the other legal professionals they encounter.
Knowing the Law
Legal translators must take knowledge to the next step in a way that a traditional translator or interpreter does not. Beyond a thorough understanding of the languages they are translating between, these professionals must also understand the laws of the land under which they are serving, and be able to educate their clients on how these laws pertain to them. Legal Spanish translation – and indeed all foreign language legal interpreting – is about bringing the law into focus for these people, and helping more of every nation’s citizens abide by the laws of their country.