Familiarization is key As a translator you should fully understand the document you are working on. When it comes to contract translation you are not merely translating words, the person who will be reading the translated text must understand all the words that you will translate, but there always should be harmony and all the words should flow perfectly. Aside from familiarization, you should also make sure that all the words you will be using are the right words for the document. When translating contracts, there are certain legal words which have specific or no translation counter parts at all, so you have to be careful with this. As much as possible, try to use a legal dictionary when translating words. They don’t just have to mean the right thing they also have to sound good when the contract is read.
Do not paraphrase When translating for regular texts or documents, it doesn’t matter if you paraphrase or not, as long as you deliver the same message, that is fine. However in contract translations, you should never paraphrase, just simply translate. The reason why paraphrasing is not allowed by contract translators is because a slight change in words used can make the meaning of the whole document different. It may alter the message that one party is trying to convey to the other. Simply translate the words in the correct manner but the words have to flow naturally. This is the main reason why contract translation is so hard, because there are a lot of restrictions to it, and each translator should be extra cautious when doing so.
Always have someone to proofread your work In most translation service agencies, there is always a second person to do the proofreading after one has translated the work. For freelance contract translation service providers, this is not always the case. Sometimes, freelance translators do find ways to get their work proofread, but some just leave it as it is. If you think that the fee you are getting as a freelance agent is quite low for you to get another person to do the proofreading, and then ask your client for an extra charge. You don’t have to sacrifice your pay just so that your client can get the best, you can always charge more for the extra work put into translating that legal document.
Meet your deadlines Some legal documents have deadlines as to when they should be presented at court. There will be times that if a document is not presented on time, it will be considered null and void. For a contract translator, aside from being meticulous with regards to all the words to be used, one also has to act fast without letting down the quality of work.
Confidentiality Last but not the least, being a contract translation agency already makes you a part of the contract since you will be reading every single word from it. It is your responsibility to keep everything written in the document as private as possible.
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