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Four Reasons Hiring a Professional Will Grow Your Law Firm’s Client Base

Beginning a new translation project or finding a trusted interpreter for your law firm can be a daunting task. However, both can be key to your firm’s success with a given case or client. You may also be looking at your budget, wondering how translation and interpreting will fit into it and why it is worth spending the money to hire a professional. When looking to make every dollar count, it is important to know what you are receiving when you have your documents, brochures, website, etc. translated. Below is a brief list of what you can expect to get for your money, other than a good quality translation or interpreter.

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1. A growing client base. Having your documents translated gives your law firm the potential to reach a whole new group of clients. Clients who are not native speakers of English are more likely to engage with you as their lawyer if there is material available in their primary language. It is more comfortable for this individual, and as a result, this person feels at ease with your firm, knowing you are making the effort to reach them directly. These clients could easily turn into raving fans based on your help, recommending you to their friends and family.

2. A smoother client experience. When you have certain information translated your clients’ language and can offer an interpreter during meetings, these individuals will have a much easier time understanding the process. This results in fewer conversations and less time spent explaining next steps (or having an interpreter explain next steps if you do not personally speak their language). Every interaction is a cost to your law firm, especially if you have requested an interpreter be present during your meetings, so reducing these interactions with well-written, translated documents could help you avoid unnecessary costs.

3. Happier, loyal clients and rave reviews. If your materials are translated well and your client has an easy time working with you (and/or your interpreter), he or she will remember the experience and will likely call on you (and recommend you!) again.

4. Increased profits year over year (YOY). The initial investment of translating your materials or working with an interpreter may seem costly to some at first. However, the potential for generating a new client base, along with happier, loyal clients you’ve been able to reach will allow you to turn a profit at your firm in the long run. You should be able to see the great return on investment (ROI) in your YOY profits.

Translation and interpreting are fantastic tools for reaching new markets and building a loyal client base. When considering the ROI for translation and interpreting services, be sure to think mid- to long-term for your firm. Although you may not see a profit right away, the investment is well worth the numbers you will see over the years to come as your client base continues to grow and expand, earning your firm more profit all the while.

Quality Assurance in Translation: 3 Tips for Making Sure the Process Works for Your Law Firm or Practice

Quality Assurance (QA), or the process of ensuring that the translation you request is the best quality possible when returned to you, should be promised by all language providers. If you are in the market for a translation, you are likely wondering what makes the QA process from one provider different from that of another. More importantly, you may also be wondering how this process will work for your translation project in particular. Here are three tips to help you feel more confident that your provider’s QA process works for your law firm.

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1. Ask about the overall process before you contract the provider. This can save you a lot of time and worry throughout the process if you know what to expect up front. Interview the provider and find out how the they will work to ensure the translation will be accurate and free of errors, and what their assessment process is like when they review your documents before delivery. Make sure they are able to work with linguists who specialize in legal translations (and feel free to ask for their credentials). You should hear answers about the process that ensure proofreading, editing, final revisions and collaboration among the linguists who will work on your project. If you see any red flags, this could be a sign to shop elsewhere.

2. Require that changes made to the text be handled by the linguists themselves. This may seem apparent, but there are providers who will request more information from the linguist as they prepare your documents for delivery without having the linguist review the actual file. Ask that all revisions to files be made directly by the linguist (not over the phone, not via an instant email message or chat, but to the document itself). This way, you can rest assured that the linguist was able to review the file in its entirety when making the revision, which is crucial in the QA process. Without complete context, one might not have enough information to properly revise a phrase or paragraph, and this is where errors and potential inconsistencies can easily occur.

3. Ask what tools your provider uses in the QA process. Does your provider keep client-specific glossaries, Translation Memories (TMs) and a style guide on hand and provide these to the linguists who will work on the project? Will your provider be willing to work with your in-country reviewers if you have them? What evaluations does the provider have for its linguists and how are they reevaluated for their work?

These three tips will help you to understand the translation process and quality assurance of translations more and help you decide if the process works for you specifically, as you choose the best provider for your firm. Quality Assurance processes are found in all industries, and the translation and interpreting industry is no different.

3 Do’s (and 3 Don’ts) for Working with a Legal Interpreter

As an attorney or paralegal, you may sometimes need the assistance of an interpreter to help facilitate communication between yourself and a client who may speak very little English, or none at all. As clear communication between parties is essential, we’ve compiled a list of our top do’s and don’ts when working with a legal interpreter.

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DO:

· prepare the interpreter (when possible). If you are able to meet with the interpreter in advance (preferred), provide him or her with any relevant information so he or she is able to better prepare for the meeting. Most languages will have multiple acceptable translations for various terms, and if one of these terms comes up in your client meeting, having the case’s context in advance will help the interpreter make the right choice. If you are able to provide reports, transcripts or other materials from your case, this will help your interpreter prepare.

· choose an appropriately specialized interpreter. Legal interpreters are highly skilled for various legal situations, however not all interpreters who handle cases like medical malpractice suits will be as comfortable interpreting for mediation between two business partners in the event of a dispute. This is yet another reason that providing context and information beforehand is key.

· speak slowly, clearly, in relatively short sentences, and in turn. Doing so will help ensure the interpreter does not miss anything you’ve said. Remember, interpreters are listening to everything you’re saying, and they need the chance to say render the message in another language. Speaking for too long at once without stopping can create the risk of something getting quite literally lost in translation. So keep sentences reasonably short, and allow the interpreter and client to finish speaking before moving on.

DON’T

· expect an interpreter to be an attorney. Interpreters ethically cannot go over documents with your client alone, nor can they help explain legal concepts. They are only there to interpret what is said. If you ask an interpreter to sight translate a document for your client, be sure that you are present for this in case of any questions.

· ask an interpreter not to interpret something. An interpreter must interpret everything that is spoken and that the client can hear. To ask an interpreter not to interpret something you say (even if it’s just asking the receptionist for a cup of coffee) is asking them to violate their code of ethics. If you don’t want something interpreted, don’t say it at all. Otherwise, you should assume that everything will be interpreted. This allows everyone in the room to remain on equal footing.

· speak to the interpreter instead of the client directly. Speak to your non-English speaking client just as you would speak to any other. Don’t ask the interpreter, “Can you ask him where he was on Friday?”, for example. Instead, make eye contact with your client and ask, “Could you tell me where you were on Friday?” and allow the interpreter to handle the language component. You should also recommend that your client speak to you directly instead of saying things like “Please tell him this…” or “Ask her that…”

While you may already have experience working with interpreters in the past, it is important to remember that interpreters abide by a code of ethics. They are there to assist you, but in the end, only you can give legal advice or share information beyond what you have the interpreter interpret for your client and vice versa.

Translating Foreign Legal Documents: What to Remember

Legal translation is a very complex task, and it’s one that not just anyone can take on. A translated legal document must be able to stand up in a court of law and therefore needs to be translated, edited, and perfected by a team of linguists who can make this happen. Here are a few things to consider about the translation process when you find you need to have a foreign legal document translated.

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  • It is imperative that the team of linguists who handles the translation specialize in legal translation. Working with a non-legal translation team can seriously impact your credibility (and have possible legal ramifications) if the translated document is not found to be completely accurate and true to the original.
     
  • If the language pair you’re translating into/from uses a different alphabet or series of characters, supplying your translation provider with parties’ names to ensure that they are listed correctly on the translated document is vital. Otherwise, they will have to make their best guess of how to portray it phonetically. If text is difficult to decipher on the scanned copy, supply that text as well. If it is not provided, the translation team will write “[illegible]” instead of trying to make a best guess. Signatures and stamps/seals are sometimes not translated unless requested, but will include “[signature]” and “[stamp]” or “[seal]” where appropriate as well.
     
  • Determine whether or not you need a sworn translator to complete the work or if a letter certifying the translation will be sufficient. Sworn translators have been certified by their country to execute a sworn translated document that is legally valid and binding in his or her country. Examples of documents that must be legally valid in a foreign country—and so, are often handled by sworn translators—are birth certificates, patents, and proofs of identity such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport.

    A certified translation, on the other hand, is accompanied by a signed statement affirming that the translation is accurate and complete to the best of the translator’s knowledge. Documents used for hearings or trial, such as evidence and transcripts, can often just be accompanied by such a statement.
     
  • Depending on the country it will be presented in or the judge requesting the document, you may also need to have the translated documented notarized or bear an apostille. An apostille will be issued by the embassy of a country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention and is usually signed by an embassy official. Please let the agency know if an apostille or notarization is necessary for your particular document or case so that they can ensure these steps are handled on your behalf. You will also want to factor in the extra time it will take to get the notarization and apostille, as typically you must have the original translated document in hard copy to show the original seals and stamps necessary.

Since taking the appropriate steps for your translated document can make a difference in its validity in the courtroom or in other legal settings, it is important to make sure to handle them correctly. Be sure to use a professional agency or translation team and always ask any questions you may have along the way.

ATS Client Feature: Curry, Roby & Mulvey

ATS Client Feature: Curry, Roby & Mulvey

It's time for our latest ATS Client Feature! Each month we are sharing about some of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we're pleased to feature one of our legal services clients, Curry, Roby & Mulvey. If you're in Ohio and need a great legal counsel, check them out!Curry, Roby & Mulvey is a growing civil litigation law firm serving every county in the State of Ohio.

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