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Translation of legal documents comes with additional pressures – the translator knows that his/ her work will come under detailed scrutiny, especially in major trials, and also that any mistakes can have a major effect on the outcome of a trial. In any translation the translator has to understand not just the words, but the cultural references and different writing styles from stylish prose to tweets, from grammatically careful older writers to grammar-free youngsters. Finally, the translator of documents in legal cases has to be prepared to give evidence about their translation in court – their expertise is not likely to go unchallenged.

Pity one poor translator in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, taking place in the USA currently. He is the surviving brother of two who staged terrorist attacks on the Boston Marathon in 2013. Even though the translator is a Russian native speaker her translation of some of the tweets the brothers sent each other left her open to criticism, and allowed the defence lawyers to claim that she was not totally competent. She failed to recognise a quotation from a popular Russian poet whose works are taught in Russian schools, and struggled to translate tweets where the brothers were using rap-style spelling.

The life of the translator is not easy – you have to have a good grasp of many subjects and an excellent understanding of a few specialist subjects in which you can “major”. The translators at la Academia are selected with care and have the broad knowledge and specific detailed knowledge that helps that get translations pitch perfect. Whether it’s Russian legal translation or another language that you need, talk to Accutranslate first – and we’ll select a translator for you that won’t get you in trouble at the trial!