11 Dec /12

Dragon law – commercial law in China and the importance of legal translations

chinese legal translationsAs China’s economic growth continues to shape the world’s economy, the nation’s increasingly global profile, in turn, necessitates changes within China. Over the last decade or so, we have witnessed a steady opening of the Chinese market to foreign investors in an effort to attract outside capital and diffuse concerns of Western economies that the Chinese economy would be solely export driven. Especially European producers of high-end consumer goods are currently enjoying the newfound prosperity of China’s rapidly growing middle-class. In the wake of these economic advancements Chinese officials are now attempting to adjust the countries commercial legal system to the changing ways the nation and its companies do business in the 21st century.

In an effort to globalize its legal system, Chinese legal experts are introducing legal concepts and practices from Western commercial law within the confines of their local culture.
Yet this process is both complex and slow going, as the nation’s commercial law, as well as its legal system as a whole, has traditionally been regarded as an instrument of government and a tool for governmental and legal regulation. The demands for increasing the law’s flexibility are therefore high and especially foreign investors are hoping for less regulation and more freedoms to encourage future growth of the world’s largest domestic market.

Despite these challenges, foreign investors are encouraged by the recent push for legal reform and see the nation on a path to creating a more predictable business environment that will provide greater market accessibility while providing greater protection for intellectual property rights. These are undoubtedly positive signs that will increase the attraction of the Chinese market to European and North American market despite continuing disputes over counterfeiting law suits and accusations of product piracy.

An interesting side-product of this changing legal framework in China is the increasing demand for Chinese legal translations both in China and abroad, especially in the United States. Many American companies and law firms that formerly outright rejected to deal with legal cases involving Chinese commercial law are now taking up cases involving U.S. – Chinese disputes, but they can only do so successfully with the backing of a reliable legal translation provider – and those are hard to come by. Jin Xiaofeng, a judge of the Shanghai Maritime Court, explains that “there are loads of translation agencies in Shanghai and in the nation, but the quality is varied and professional translators that have expertise in a particular aspect are scarce.” In order to remedy the lack of qualified translators law firms often enlist the help of bilingual lawyers. However, this practice appears especially risky considering that one bilingual attorney is almost certainly going to be non-native in one of the two languages, which exposes the outcome of a trial to high risks that can easily be avoided. Especially if we consider that nearly 5% of all of the cases that the Shanghai Maritime Court heard in 2011 were decidedly influenced by translation errors in key legal documents and by the misuse of legal terminology.

At EVS Translations, we have a proven track record of the excellent results with English to Chinese and Chinese to English translations. A strong in-house team of Chinese legal translators enables us to translate your legal documents from English to Chinese and vice versa quickly and professionally. We also translate from Chinese into over 50 other languages besides English.

If you are interested in our services and rates for legal Chinese translations, send us an online inquiry.