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History of legal translation

Legal translation has existed for centuries and professional translators have been providing legal translation services all through this period. In history there are several documented and prominent legal texts that were translated in various languages. Some of the oldest legal texts to be translated were:

a. The Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty of 1259 B.C.

b. Corpus Juris Civilis.


The treaty of Kadesh or the Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty

The Treaty of Kadesh, was drawn in the year 1259 B.C., with the intent to establish peace and brotherhood between two strong empires of the Near Eastern world, Egypt and Hittite. Also known as The Eternal Treaty or The Silver Treaty it is regarded as the first ever documented record of legal translation. It was originally written in the Akkadian language by the Hittites, inscribed on a silver tablet and sent to Egypt for consideration, where it was translated into Egyptian language. This original Akkadian version now appears on the entrance gates of the Security Council Chamber of United Nations in New York.

The events which led to this peace treaty began many years before the treaty was ratified. In around second half of the 14th century B.C. Mitannis another great power of the near eastern world ruled the regions of Northern Mesopotamia, northern Syria and parts of eastern Anatolia. They had ruled these regions for two hundred years, from 1500 to 1300 B.C.

However during second half of the 14th century Suppiluliuma, a supreme warlord of Hittites attacked and defeated the Mitannis, thereby extending the Hittite empire and bringing it to the frontiers of Egypt, particularly next to the Southern Syria and Palestine region.

In between the territories of Egypt and Hittie stood two important states, Amurru and Kadesh. Though the rulers of Amurru had pledged their continued allegiance to the then pharaoh of Egypt, Akhenaten, however one of the rulers, Aziru, slipped and secretly pledged his allegiance to Suppiluliuma.

Soon thereafter both these states that stood in between the empires came under contention. For years to come the great empires of Egypt and Hittite were on war with each other. During this duration the contended states changed hands more than once, but a decisive battle was fought in between the two great empires in Kadesh, in the year 1271 B.C. Muwattalli, the then king of Hittite won the battle of Kadesh.

However things were about to change when Hattusili III succeeded the throne of Hittite and the Assyrian forces started gaining power. Assyrians posed a clear threat to Hittites. Fifteen years after the battle of Kadesh, Hattusili judging the circumstances to be against his empire, thought best to draw a peace treaty with the great king of Egypt, Ramasses.

Corpus Juris Civilis

Corpus Juris Civilis was written in between 529 to 534 on the orders of the Eastern Roman Emperor, Justinian I. A fundamental work in Jurisprudence, this work is also known as the Code of Justinian.

It was translated into French, German, Italian, and Spanish in 19th century. In 1932 Samuel Parsons Scott translated the Corpus Juris Civilis into English and published his own version by the name The Civil Law.

Challenges and future of legal translation

Extensive globalization in the last few decades has led to a dramatic increase in the requirement of quality legal translators. However time and again, poor legal translations have proved to be much more costly than was expected.

Translating a legal document is far more complicated than translating other common documents of regular nature, partly due to the purpose of translation, which in most cases is closely related to administrative works, partly due to the complicated nature of legal language itself and partly due to the strong culture bridging skills expected from a legal translator.

Therefore besides having a strong experience of translating documents from the source language to the target language, a legal translator is expected to do extensive research on the specific legal topic and fill up any gaps in their translation by extensive revising, proofreading and editing the target document before final delivery.

It is true that legal translation is a rare skill possessed by few and the translation community acknowledges this fact. The requirement that a legal translator should be brilliant in both the fields of law and translation has been pointed out and well taken into consideration. With new translation training programs aimed at specifically producing skilled legal translators the gaps between demand and supply of highly skilled legal translators is slowly filling up.

Find out more about us

Looking for an experienced translation company to handle your next translation project? We can help! Find out more about our premier services by calling us at +44 (0)20 3940 3255. You can also email us at info@universallanguagesolutions.co.uk. To get an estimate for our services, please complete our free quote form to get an instant quote.

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Our team comprises both professional in-house and freelance linguists all of whom have expert accreditation and are well trained and highly skilled.

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As a leading global supplier of translation services, our expertise and ability to provide a fast, high quality response is in high demand around the world.

COMPETITIVE PRICES


Our range of services is as comprehensive as our expertise in providing fast, efficient, tailor-made translation services for the UK and international markets.


QUALITY TRANSLATIONS


Our team comprises both professional in-house and freelance linguists all of whom have expert accreditation and are well trained and highly skilled.

FAST TURNAROUND


As a leading global supplier of translation services, our expertise and ability to provide a fast, high quality response is in high demand around the world.

COMPETITIVE PRICES


Our range of services is as comprehensive as our expertise in providing fast, efficient, tailor-made translation services for the UK and international markets.


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It may be a small world but communicating effectively in a global market place is a big challenge.

Universal Language Solutions is the company of choice for some of the world’s best-known brands who trust us to meet their translation and interpreting needs.

Combining the latest technology with the skill of our professional linguists, we offer a complete range of cost effective translation services in over 140 different languages, with the capacity to turn work around quickly to meet your deadline.

One thing that needs no translation is quality. Our experienced translators and interpreters take the utmost care to provide reliable, bespoke translations so you can be safe in the knowledge that what we deliver is accurate and meaningful.


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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you charge for translations? +

We charge a “per word” rate. The rate per word depends on the language combination, complexity of the subject matter and the turnaround time you require.

How do I count the words in my document? +

Doing a word count can be tricky, especially if your document contains pictures with embedded text or you have a PDF. The easiest way to get a word count is to send us all of your documents and let us do the word count for you. We have advanced OCR (Optical Character Recognition) programs that can do word counts on any document or image and in any language, including Asian and Middle Eastern languages. Alternatively, if you’re working from a Word for Windows document that contains only text, Microsoft Word 2007 shows the word count in the lower left-hand side of the application.

How long will it take to translate my document? +

We endeavour always to meet our client deadlines. For very large projects we will assign as many translators as required to ensure the deadline is met.

What method should I use to send my documents, and how do you send them back? +

The best way to send the document(s) is to email us a copy of your document, or to upload it using our free quotation form. Alternatively you can send your document by fax or a photocopy by post. We are able to receive both PC and Mac formats, although our staff and administrators mostly use PC-based systems. We can send you your completed translations in any format and by any method you require.

Why an online translation service? +

Quite simply to save you time and money! Who has the time nowadays to carry documents up and down the UK for a translation? It is obviously much more comfortable to upload a document or email it as an attachment without leaving your home or office.

Can I deliver/collect the documents in person? +

We offer online translation services, but on rare occasions where a document is extremely urgent some clients do come in person to collect their material. However, it is much more practical to deliver documents using our website or by email, or post, where these options are viable.

How much do I have to pay extra for the translation to be posted to my address? +

The answer is short: Nothing at all. The cost of sending the translation by First Class Royal Mail is included in the price of service. In special cases, for a £15 surcharge we can use the Royal Mail Special Delivery service, whereby the delivery is guaranteed on the next working day after posting.

Who performs the translation? +

We use our in-house translators who specialise in western European languages. For any other combinations we have a team of high quality, certified, freelance translators with impeccable credentials and extensive experience. They are responsive, talented, trustworthy and 100% committed professionals with whom we have built and established a solid working relationship over time.

How do you ensure your translations are accurate? +

All Universal Language Solutions Ltd translations are accurate. We have designed our quality control system to allow each team member to perform their functions in real time, supporting each other’s specialised functions, checking each other’s work, sharing terminology databases and research. Continuous process improvements are built in. Our project management system adapts to the needs of any project, bringing in different and complementary skill sets as required.

How do you enforce confidentiality? +

We recognise that legal translations require absolute confidentiality. Every team member who handles your document signs (1) an in-house corporate non-disclosure agreement, and (2) a project-by-project confidentiality agreement. Our project management system allows us to control exactly who has access to your documents, and levels of access are adjusted according to the role of the authorised team member.

Is a more expensive translation necessarily a better one? +

In this industry, as in many others, it is usually true that you get what you pay for. When hiring a reputable company (like Universal Language Solutions Ltd) for a translation project, you are paying for their extensive resources and experience. If you care about the quality of your project, you should care about the quality of the translation. A poorly-executed translation will do more than just confuse its intended recipients, it might also destroy your professional reputation.

Sworn or certified translations? +

Yes. Universal In the UK, the sworn translation is purely theoretical whereas it is typically the principal term used overseas for official translations. The UK equivalent is simply referred to as a ‘Certified Translation’ and this is what the main UK authorities and institutions will require as part of an application.

WHY OUR CUSTOMERS LOVE US!

We've worked with Universal Language Solutions on a number of web projects for the last few years now and have no hesitation in recommending them to supply fast and accurate translations across multi-languages. Offering a friendly and professional service they are a pleasure to work with.

Michael Lopatis, Senior Store Manager, Universal Music (Digital Stores)

We have used ULS for a quick, easy and cost effective translation service. International request's from our customers for detailed information on our brands are no longer an issue using the ULS translators - highly recommended!

John Paterson, General Manager, drpawpaw.com

ULS have undertaken several projects for us, their customer care is excellent and they are very professional and cost-effective in the work they do for us and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to someone.

Naeem Darr, Manager, MDUK Media

We've been working with Universal Language Solutions for a couple of years now and the company always provides perfect translations, quickly and efficiently. I would certainly recommend and will continue recommending Universal Language Solutions.

Gerusa Fernandez , Legal Representative, Sterling Law & Associates - London

I have worked with Universal Language Solutions for over seven months now and couldn't recommend them enough. They are efficient, professional and understanding when there is a deadline involved! They are the departments go to for any translation requests and I look forward to working with them much more in the future.

Laura Price, International PR & Marketing, Americana International Ltd.

Universal Language Solutions offers an accurate, timely and efficient professional service. Having Universal Language Solutions as a service provider is a guarantee of quality and an excellent service at a fair price.

Diogo Brehsan, Legal Adviser, LB Consultants Ltd. - London

We always use Universal Language Solutions and have never experienced any problems. They translate many languages at a very affordable price. I would certainly recommend this company's services.

Amanda Gama, Accounts Assistant, LondonHelp4u - London

Universal Language Solutions has become our one-stop shop for all our translation and voice-over needs because of their quick, accurate and professional service at a competitive price.

Ole Henriksen, CEO, Buildpod International Ltd., Guernsey

We have used Universal Language Solutions’s translation services for several years. They provide a good service at very competitive rates. They are very efficient and reliable. I would certainly recommend this company’s services.

Livia Suassuna, Director, Martins Costa Immigration, London

Universal Language Solutions offers an accurate, timely and efficient professional service. Having Universal Language Solutions as a service provider is a guarantee of quality and an excellent service at a fair price.

Diogo Brehsan, legal adviser LB Consultants Ltd., London

WHY OUR CUSTOMERS LOVE US!

We've worked with Universal Language Solutions on a number of web projects for the last few years now and have no hesitation in recommending them to supply fast and accurate translations across multi-languages. Offering a friendly and professional service they are a pleasure to work with.

Michael Lopatis, Senior Store Manager, Universal Music (Digital Stores)

We have used ULS for a quick, easy and cost effective translation service. International request's from our customers for detailed information on our brands are no longer an issue using the ULS translators - highly recommended!

John Paterson, General Manager, drpawpaw.com

ULS have undertaken several projects for us, their customer care is excellent and they are very professional and cost-effective in the work they do for us and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to someone.

Naeem Darr, Manager, MDUK Media

We've been working with Universal Language Solutions for a couple of years now and the company always provides perfect translations, quickly and efficiently. I would certainly recommend and will continue recommending Universal Language Solutions.

Gerusa Fernandez , Legal Representative, Sterling Law & Associates - London

I have worked with Universal Language Solutions for over seven months now and couldn't recommend them enough. They are efficient, professional and understanding when there is a deadline involved! They are the departments go to for any translation requests and I look forward to working with them much more in the future.

Laura Price, International PR & Marketing, Americana International Ltd.

Universal Language Solutions offers an accurate, timely and efficient professional service. Having Universal Language Solutions as a service provider is a guarantee of quality and an excellent service at a fair price.

Diogo Brehsan, Legal Adviser, LB Consultants Ltd. - London

We always use Universal Language Solutions and have never experienced any problems. They translate many languages at a very affordable price. I would certainly recommend this company's services.

Amanda Gama, Accounts Assistant, LondonHelp4u - London

Universal Language Solutions has become our one-stop shop for all our translation and voice-over needs because of their quick, accurate and professional service at a competitive price.

Ole Henriksen, CEO, Buildpod International Ltd., Guernsey

We have used Universal Language Solutions’s translation services for several years. They provide a good service at very competitive rates. They are very efficient and reliable. I would certainly recommend this company’s services.

Livia Suassuna, Director, Martins Costa Immigration, London

Universal Language Solutions offers an accurate, timely and efficient professional service. Having Universal Language Solutions as a service provider is a guarantee of quality and an excellent service at a fair price.

Diogo Brehsan, legal adviser LB Consultants Ltd., London


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