How is Legal Interpretation Different than General Interpretation?

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    By Echo Mayernik

    The judicial and legal systems are complex and full of complicated jargon and specific contracts. Adding a layer of limited English proficiency to that complexity, and you’ll find that contracts, court dates, and lawyer meetings become hotbeds of confusion and anxiety. 

    Legal contracts hold lasting sway over people’s lives, even if you don’t understand the language they are written in, you’re still held to them. So before you sign away your rights or agree to something you don’t want to, finding a professional interpreter with experience in the legal and judicial systems will save a lot of stress. 

    Language Connection Legal Interpretation Services

    Tolu and her staff at Language Connection have personal experience in the legal system in the US. Each team member is trained in the jargon often heard in the courtroom, and in the law offices, these conversations occur. 

    It’s critical to work with someone who knows the legal terms in both languages they serve, as this is the only way they can provide complete and accurate interpretation or translation. This profession is a narrow niche that is often underrepresented in language services. Still, technology has opened up the accessibility of court-approved interpreters regardless of how many trained local interpreters are qualified. 

    Common Uses for a Legal Interpreter or Translator

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    Legal Document Translation

    What’s the difference between an interpreter and a translator? And why does it matter in legal settings? These are both fundamental questions. An interpreter conveys information verbally. They work with service providers and their clients to communicate between languages and ensure both parties understand data. A translator provides the same service but in the written word. For example, an interpreter helps communicate a conversation, while a translator conveys information in a document or contract. 

    Bringing accessibility to limited English speakers through technology and additional training provides the opportunity for more municipalities to comply with the regulatory state and federal legislation put in place to help bridge the language gaps. 

    Those legislations include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Homeland Security Regulations, and National Disaster and Border Contingencies. 

    When would you hire a Legal Langauge Specialist? 


    You would hire an interpreter for court proceedings such as hearings, dispositions, trials, judicial proceedings, arbitration, and similar verbal occurrences. Hiring an interpreter for your needs who can make simultaneous interpretation is even more beneficial because you are less likely to lose detail and context over time when the information is being conveyed in real-time. 

    Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash


    Court proceedings carry with them a lot of documentation and written recording of information. You’d hire a translator to help all parties understand contracts, statutes, laws, summons, discovery materials, subpoenas, email correspondence, briefs, and more. Anything written for the court systems or legal documentation can be handled by a legally trained translation professional. 

    Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

    Benefits to the Court System and Clients using Professional Translators and Interpreters

    While there are a lot of benefits to breaking down language barriers for each individual involved, it’s essential to consider the benefits to the system as a whole. 

    1. Courts are more efficient when the information is easier to understand by all parties. There are fewer mistakes made that need later repatriation, and the communication process is much faster. 
    2. When we employ translators and interpreters for judicial proceedings and legal documents, we can save taxpayer money by reducing time spent trying to bridge language gaps. 
    3. Provides resources for people of limited English proficiency to receive the same level of care and professionalism as those fluent in English expect to receive. The accessibility of these services through technology and advanced training creates a gateway to better understanding circumstances around immigration law and other culturally significant aspects of the court system.
    4. By reducing errors of omission and editorialization, the act of filtering your interpretation through your opinions, by providing access to trained language professionals with proficiency in legal settings, you build trust with immigrant, refugee, and limited English speaking communities. 

    Working with Language Connection for your legal interpretation and translation needs ensures that your clients receive the best and more efficient representation without language and cultural understanding barriers. Hiring from Language Connection puts legal experience behind those critical translations and interpretation sessions.

    Echo Mayernik - The Oak Anchor Writing Services

    Echo Mayernik is a busy mom who found her passion in writing content for startups and small businesses. She is passionate about helping up and coming businesses, and offering her own experiences and education to help others. She writes from Portland, OR, and loves the rain of the PNW. Find her at The Oak Anchor for more information, work samples, and more.