Recently, one of our clients asked us to translate a legal document from Spanish to English. The document was the articles of incorporation of a Mexican company. The client was performing their due diligence on the company and their authority to operate in Mexico. The document was the key foundation document for this company, and laid forth who was able to bind the company and who was not.
Translation of any sort is difficult, and, independent of what is being translated, it is prudent to keep in mind Rossetti’s dictum regarding translation of poetry that “The life-blood of rhythmical translation is this commandment that a good poem shall not be turned into a bad one. The only true motive for putting poetry into fresh language must be to endow a fresh nation as far as possible with one more possession of beauty. Poetry not being an exact science, literality of rendering is altogether secondary to this chief law. I say literality, not fidelity, which is not the same thing.” Several translators started, but failed early into the project, because legal translation was not their strong point. We finally found a service – L2 Language Services – that was equipped to do the job.
The exercise was worthwhile in that it confirmed to our client what had been represented to date, which is comforting when performing due diligence. Comforting to the Mexican counterpart was the knowledge and the questions asked by our client about the Mexican process of incorporation and the language used in the corporation document. This impressed the Mexican counterpart a great deal. According to the Mexican businessman, few have gone to the bother to make an accurate translation of documents, let alone make further inquires in the vagaries of Mexican civil code.