Legal Interpreting Services: Why They Matter

Translation or Interpreting?

Clients of language service providers often make the mistake of thinking translation and interpreting services are more or less synonymous. Shouldn’t a certified translator be just as good at handling an interpreting task? But remember, translation is the careful transfer of a crafted document, its style and tone, from one language to another. By contrast, interpreting require feats of grammatical and social gymnastics during a spontaneous, usually face-to-face interaction. And while many professionals are capable of doing both—some of them part of Global Arena’s network—the two activities necessitate dramatically different skill sets.

Ask yourself, what do you want in an interpreter? Attention to detail is certainly still important in both cases. But rather than the word-for-word correspondence that matters in translation, interpreters must ensure that they capture the emotion and intention behind each utterance. You want to be sure the vendor understands your specific way of speaking your language, and that of the person you’re trying to communicate with. With specialist subject knowledge, you need someone who can quickly deduce how a doctor or lawyer is deploying their terminology. (Fortunately, Global Arena has a broad variety of interpreters who are experts in these fields.)

legal interpreting

Why Do I Need Legal Interpreting Services?

The Constitution and Civil Rights Act affirm that participants in courtrooms have the right to understand what’s happening around them. This entails hiring an interpreter for cases that involve speakers of limited English proficiency. Cities with large immigrant populations like Philadelphia have dozens of languages spoken by anywhere from tens to thousands of residents. In legal proceedings with a plaintiff, defendant, or witness whose first language is rare or obscure, what do you do?

Any case in which your company or organization is involved requires the highest level of expertise from a qualified professional. Just like translators, interpreters can receive certification to verify their status as skilled language workers. The testing process and emphasis are different, but no less important, and legal interpreters face a unique challenge. They must be able to bridge courtroom vocabulary and everyday lexicon for the layman, both within and across languages. Rather than delegating that task to an untrained vendor, you need a provider who can vouch for their interpreters’ skill.

What Goes into My Choice of Interpreter?

For legal interpreting, consider the type of case (deposition, trial, etc.) and any relevant specialist subject matter (medical, business, etc.) Your interpreter will benefit from any background information you can give them, so that they can better tailor their work. Regardless of your own goals, an interpreter’s first duty is to limited English (or other language) speakers in the courtroom. The information you provide will help them help others to understand what’s going on.

Over several years, Global Arena has grown a network of legal interpreters in dozens of languages spoken in the area. If you need legal interpreting in Philadelphia, we can manage the process, working with you to find the perfect vendor. While securing legal interpreting services might seem more trouble than its worth, not accounting for this mandated piece of the puzzle can greatly complicate matters. Our long-standing experience with the legal and linguistic realities of the city, plus a superb team of project managers, enables us to offer you the best solution. In the end, our goal is to ensure that your participation has been accurately and professionally represented. You can feel satisfied that you’ve fulfilled your legal obligation with some of the most capable minds in the industry.

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