May 20, 2019

When conducting business with companies in different countries, some lawyers suggest that translating contracts correctly is key to making sure the transactions are successful. As lawyer Dan Harris writes about in his articleLost In Translation: Why Using the “Foreign” Language Almost Always Makes Sense,” he and the other attorneys in his practice have seen deals fail due to avoidable mistakes from failures in translation.   

Even native speakers of shared languages misunderstand terms sometimes, so that margin of error is compounded when you add language differences to the deal. Some simple steps can be taken to avoid this:

Begin In Writing, Translated

From the beginning of the transaction, make sure key terms of the contract are written down and translated correctly so that each party knows what they are agreeing to, in their own language. Key decision makers especially need to be clued into what these terms are so they can advance negotiations in a productive way. Although it might feel unruly to begin early, time and money can be saved by truly knowing what to expect out of each other.

Consult Legal Counsel With Local Knowledge 

It’s always a good idea to hire counsel knowledgeable about the laws of the country you want to conduct business in, especially the first time you work there. Business requirements vary widely in the world, and nothing can be more expensive than scrapping an entire deal because agreed-upon provisions violate local laws you weren’t aware existed. Finding an attorney that knows the rules will help you keep them.

Use Quality Legal Translations Services

Each area of vocabulary in a language requires expertise. Whether your communications are academic, scientific, or commercial, even a fluent native speaker might not be able to effectively communicate without professional training in the terms of art and appropriate wording for your specific business. Finding quality translators, attorneys, and translations services to meet the needs of your deal to ensure you properly understand each other is key to avoiding expensive contract disputes. 

If you are looking for translation services to help with your business or litigation needs, please contact us for more information about how a team of translation experts can help.