Is Machine Translation the Right Choice for Your Law Firm?

If your law firm needs assistance when translating legal documents, you have an extensive choice ahead of you. Do you feed these documents through machine language translation software, or do you let a human translator do the job?

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A legal translation agency will have both options available for its clients, but it’s not always easy to understand which one you should choose. This guide is here to help. Below, you’ll find out what the machines do best and what’s better left to humans.

How Machine Translation Can Help Your Practice

Machine translation’s top advantages are its price point and speed. In many cases, it’s the cheaper option for law firms. These machines can perform faster than any biological brain to produce more translations in less time than a human legal translator.

This attractive cost-benefit to machine translation lends itself best to the e-discovery process.

E-discovery nowadays is a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. You may be trawling through zettabytes worth of data to find one piece of evidence. A zettabyte, by the way, is equal to 1 trillion gigabytes.

While it could take several lifetimes for a team of people to go through this data, machine language translation software can help you complete the e-discovery step under a tight deadline.

Machine Language Translation Software Still Has Bugs

If speed is a machine’s forte, subtlety for languages is one of its weaknesses. That’s because machine language translation software chooses the most statistically probable word in a translation.

In other words, this software makes decisions based on the popularity of words or phrases used in previous translations without considering the context of the sentence or greater document on the whole.

This translation approach can overlook specialized legal language and minor grammatical errors or structural issues. And in the worst-case scenarios, it can alter the entire meaning of your documents and render contracts null

When a Legal Translator is the More Practical Option

When accuracy is crucial to your success, you need to swap out software for a legal translator.

A human linguist brings years of legal experience to the table, so they understand the unique context of each word used in your industry. You can trust them to make accurate, technically flawless translations every time.

These professionals also understand the judicial framework that regulates writing these documents, so their translations will always satisfy statutory standards.

You may contact a legal translation service for human help on the following essential documents:

  • Agreements
  • Annual reports
  • Contracts
  • Interrogations
  • Licences
  • Memorandums
  • Press releases
  • Rulings
  • Statutes

Machine Translation vs Human Translation — Which is Better?

Rather than thinking about which option is better, it’s more productive to reframe this question: which one better suits your goals?

If you need help processing a lot of data under a tight timeline and limited budget, machine language translation software might be your best bet. It can help in the e-discovery stages and multi-jurisdictional matters when your firm has to review countless foreign documents to prepare for court.

However, you may want to partner with a human legal translator for any client-facing documents you will have to file with a foreign court system. These human-led translation services provide flawless work that retains the exact meaning of your original document in any target language.

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