Legal Translation Services Can Prevent Mistakes

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Legal translation services can help prevent mistakes that have significant consequences. The Week recounts nine translation mistakes, one of which led to a lawsuit resulting in a $71 million claim against a hospital.In that case, a mistranslation of the Spanish word "intoxicado" led to the staff treating a patient for a drug overdose by mistake. However, he had a completely different condition of an intracerebral hemorrhage.


While translation mistakes are rarely as drastic, mistranslations can cost companies valuable time and money. For example, translating the German term GmbH into LLC or Corp. in English voids the legal description of the company. GmBH stands for "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung" and is a specific type of company found in Germany that does not exactly correspond to American or British company structures.

Other examples of legal mistranslations include the Treaty of Waitangi, a treaty between the British government and the Maori people in New Zealand. Although executed in 1840, the treaty is still under dispute today due to a mistranslation into the Maori language.

More lighthearted examples of mistranslations include several marketing campaigns that misfired. For example, HSBC Bank had to spend millions redoing a marketing campaign that mistranslated "Assume Nothing" into "Do Nothing" in several countries.

While legal translation services have served customers well for decades, some companies are trying to cut costs by turning to the Internet for automated translations. However, when stakes are high in legal documents, nothing can replace the knowledge of syntax and context that professional translators bring to the table.

As the world becomes more connected through globalization, contracts in different languages are also becoming more common. Make sure your legal documents are free of mistakes and don't let your contracts get lost in translation. Hire professional translators at to help you with legal translation services for a wide range of legal documents. For more information, contact us today.



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