Legal translation – is the priority value or quality?

  • 01/08/2017

When it comes to translation requirements, many legal professionals consider accuracy and cost to be the two most important factors. The question is; are these 2 factors always at odds with each other, or is there a ‘perfect balance’?

Quality vs. cost

When it comes to legal translations, accuracy is of the utmost importance – any mistranslations could seriously impede a case and have a large impact on the outcome. As in any industry, the focus of many businesses in recent years is to keep costs down. When it comes to translation, price calculations can appear confusing to those new to the industry.

73% of Language Service Providers believe that there is a direct link between translation quality and price (source: Common Sense Advisory)

Technology is the answer

The solution lies in the biggest technological development in the localisation world: Translation Memory. By making use of this technology, costs can be reduced while accuracy and consistency of the translation is maintained.

Translation Memory (TM) collects previously translated strings of text so that they do not have to be translated again. Not only does this improve consistency of all translated materials, it also means lower costs. The more translations that are run through a TM, the bigger the memory gets – so over time, costs reduce even more.

Delivering the perfect translation

Glossaries can also be imported, meaning preferred terms can be used, and the finished translation is perfectly matched to its purpose. TMs are best suited to documents that contain repeated phrases and similar content, such as commercial contracts.

The Quality Triangle

You can have your cake and eat it too – not only should translations be of high quality and at an appropriate cost, they should be on-time. This can be a tricky triangle to balance though, as one factor usually takes precedence over another. For more information, read our blog on The Quality Triangle.

As well as being a self-confessed language geek and baking fanatic, Fiona is the Digital Marketing Manager at Capita Translation and Interpreting. When she’s not writing blogs, she often dreams of touring France one patisserie at a time.

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