The complexity and special vocabulary requirements of legal texts are widely known. Adequate translation of legal texts, in addition to knowing both the source and the target language, requires an understanding of cultural and economic relations. Therefore, we make our best efforts to assign legal texts to translators with law school degrees and international education.
Moreover, legal translators need to have a firm grasp of the differences between the legal systems of the source and the target language: in-depth knowledge of the law of both Hungary and that of the target country law is essential. For one, the British business association “Ltd” is often translated to Hungarian as “Kft.”, which can be incorrect. The law of the United Kingdom is not familiar with the concept of the Hungarian “Kft.”. The business association behind the abbreviation Ltd. “private company limited by shares” or “private company limited by guarantee” is much closer to the Hungarian “Zártkörű részvénytársaság”. In the United States (Delaware), the business association that could be placed on par with the Hungarian “Kft.” would be the LLC (Limited Liability Company).
As for the most sought after languages (English, French and German), the existence of multiple legal systems might also pose a problem. An English/French/German legal concept may have different meanings in the different legal systems. Let’s take the seemingly clear term “attorney general”. This term is translated by Hungarian legal dictionaries as “legfőbb ügyész” (prosecutor general), which is completely incorrect both under US and UK law. (In the USA, it indicates the person in charge of the Department of Justice, while in the UK it is a member and legal expert of the Government.)
Finally, when you have something translated, the target readership also has to be considered. Even more so for languages used as a common ground between parties speaking different languages (English, French, German), where the translation often will be read by an audience of non-native speakers. For example, for a Russian client, a “company limited by shares” would be translated as “joint stock company”, which is the accepted form of business associations established under Russian law. At the same time. a client from the UK or the US could not interpret this translation, as their legal systems no longer allow for this kind of business association.