If you have a legal document in English and you want to translate English to Arabic of such document, there are many difficult translation problems, often related to the legal vocabulary that one has to overcome.
English and Arabic languages have many differences in basic elements that we as professional translators regularly observe in our daily routine. These differences can be especially seen while translating legal documents.
Besides the linguistic differences in between Arabic and English languages, there are cultural and system based differences as well. As a professional English to Arabic translator of legal documents we often come across various situations, wherein we face such challenges during Arabic to English translation as well.
Arabic and English languages belong to a different family of languages. While Arabic belongs to the Semitic family, English belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. Some specific language related problems Arabic to English translators and English to Arabic translators face are related to terminology, syntax and are textual in nature. For example terminology differences in between English and Arabic can be seen in Sharia and Common Law. Similarly differences in syntax can be seen in the modals and passive structure incompatibilities of the two languages.
There are many words in the legal terminology of Arabic and English legal systems which lead to large incompatibilities between the two languages. As well there are vast cultural differences that blend deep into the legal system of nations, in which these languages have the status of official languages of the courts and government.
Further to add to these pre-existing set of problems, the technical jargon in legal language just makes the English Arabic legal document translation process more tough and thus lack creativity.
The legal system of any country is the result of historical, political and cultural development of its people and thus the legal texts reflect the complexity of the of the legal, political, administrative and social systems of the country.
If we look at English speaking countries alone, we can see vast differences among the various legal systems. Such differences are deeply ingrained in the legal terminology as well. For example Common Law is the basis of legal system in United States of America, England and Wales, but not in Scotland. Further the state of Louisiana has a mixed legal system. Australia follows a different kind of Common Law which was developed due to its own socio-cultural attributes.
A legal translator has to take into consideration such socio-cultural and historical aspects that are deeply ingrained in the legal system of a country. Thus understanding of law and good research skills are the preferred traits of a good legal translator.
Just like the differences we can see in countries where English law is followed, there are major differences we observe in the Arabic and English legal systems as well. These differences are largely due to the variations in cultural background of the countries where these legal systems are followed. For example legal English has a background of Common law, and many terms in English law don't have a direct equivalent in both Islamic or Arab Civil Law. This is because such terms can only be understood in light of English common law.
On the other hand Arabic laws have a background of Islamic and Civil law. For example, the constitution of countries such as Saudi Arabia have deeply ingrained Islamic Law elements. They follow the Quran and Prophetic traditions. On the other hand countries such as Egypt follow both Islamic and Civil law.
Legal translation should always be done with extreme caution as it has been observed in many situations by companies as well as governments, that wrong legal translations can turn out to be much costly in the long run. Quality English to Arabic translators have sufficient expertise, experience and knowledge about the languages, as well as the legal systems of both the source and target text. They also maintain updated electronic dictionaries and a variety of written texts to help them in difficult translation situations.
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