Getting divorced in a country where you don’t speak the language natively comes with added complications. The emotional toll of the process can be intense. Add in the strain of understanding complex legal terms in a second language, even one you speak quite well, and you have the potential for a messy situation.
Of course, that’s also before the addition of coronavirus health risks, national lockdowns and closed borders.
This is where legal translation and interpretation services really come into their own. They can offer an immense sense of reassurance by bringing clarity to the divorce process. Let’s explore how you can use them to establish a clear way forward.
Divorce, Second Languages and Coronavirus: Tips on Using a Translation Company
Like so many things in life these days, divorce comes with plenty of paperwork; in the UK, the process usually takes 20-22 weeks, with plenty of paperwork to fill the time. That paperwork may well contain legal terms, so if it’s not in your native language then a decent translation and localization company is a must.
Why is legal translation important? When it comes to divorce, legal translation is important because it can help you understand your paperwork in full. You’ll know precisely what you’re agreeing to (or not agreeing to) at every stage of the process.
Note that it’s important to use a translation service with experience of legal translation specifically. What are the differences between legal translation and other types of translation? In short, a legal translator will have a sound working knowledge of legal terminology in both of the languages that they work with. A more general translator would be unlikely to deliver the same kind of specific expertise.
Translation Services for Peace of Mind
Legal translation and localization services can also serve to double check any paperwork that you have completed, as well as the documents you receive. By reading through your documents prior to you sending them off, the translation company can check for any errors in what you have written and help you to express yourself clearly and unequivocally in your second language.
Using Interpretation Services in Court
If your divorce involves one or more court appearances, where the sessions will be conducted in a language that you don’t speak natively, then using a legal interpreter is all but essential.
What are interpreting services? They are services that convert spoken words from one language to another. Interpreting services are, in essence, a verbal version of translation services.
What is the role of the interpreter in court? In court, your legal interpreter will translate the words of those speaking into your native tongue. What is the purpose of interpretation? It is to ensure that you are able to follow the conversation.
Given the seriousness of such situations and the pace at which they can move, not to mention the legal phrases that might be used, having access to an interpreter can make a huge difference to your experience of the proceedings.
Once you have established a connection with a reliable translation and interpretation company, it’s also worth considering using the company’s services in other contexts. If you have children, for example, are social services professionals involved with them as part of (or as a result of) the divorce proceedings? If so, why not use your interpreter during meetings with social services staff too?
Remember that interpretation is not just about aiding your understanding either. Whether it’s in a courtroom setting or in meetings with professionals such as social workers or financial or legal advisers, having an interpreter by your side means that you can express your opinion clearly and with no room for the confusion that language barriers can sometimes create. This is clearly essential when it comes to something as momentous as divorce proceedings.
Using professional translation services for life after your divorce
It might feel at times like your divorce is consuming your entire life and will never be over and done with. However, there will come a day when the legal side of the process is complete and you have the closure (legally speaking, at least) to move forward with the rest of your life.
If you live in a country where you don’t speak the language natively, it can be a good idea to engage suitably qualified professionals to help you prepare for that time. Whether it’s getting your financial affairs in order or navigating the process of living on your own for the first time, there is plenty that a translation company can help with.
Are your language skills up to setting up utilities over the phone, for example? Or to arranging home insurance that covers everything you need it to? In these cases, professional translation and interpretation services can help the process to run a lot more smoothly.
Finding the Right Translation Service
If you’ve not used translation and localization services before, it can be a bit daunting to find the right company. After all, divorce is a highly personal process. How can you find a translation company that you can trust to do a good job?
Searching online for ‘translation services near me’ and clicking the top link may help you to find a local translation company, but proximity and quality are not the same thing. Search instead for companies that have a proven track record of delivering translation and interpretation services for at least a decade, so that you know their services are good enough to have stood the test of time.
Next, look for recent reviews that specifically relate to legal translation. Ensure that there are plenty of glowing testimonials from recent weeks/months and check out their reviews on the Better Business Bureau or whatever your local equivalent of it is.
Ultimately, you need a legal translation and interpretation service that you can trust to provide you with timely responses, accurate language conversion, discretion and empathy. The relief that such a reliable and trustworthy service can bring to divorce proceedings in your second language – particularly given the added complications of the coronavirus pandemic – simply cannot be underestimated.
Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes, a translation company where he works with a global network of language specialists ranging from translators, interpreters, to localization experts. www.tomedes.com