In colloquial American English, a text that is composed in incomprehensibly difficult English is said to be written in “Legalese.” Though the joke pokes fun at the intricate and potentially confusing nature of legal writing, it does expose the truth about most people’s relationship to their legal system. That truth is that, in reality, most average citizens don’t know or don’t understand the laws that govern them. Poignant examples are the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding gay marriage. Sure, thanks to extensive media coverage people understood that it will bring significant legislative changes, but when it comes to the body of the law and how each ruling will change the legal structure of domestic partnerships on the state and federal level, even many native English speakers are lost in translation of their own language, yet be a very special variety of it.
Unfortunately, legal matters often revolve around a codified style and specialized nomenclature. Further complicating matters is the fact that, while previously rare, the last 7 years have seen a flurry of landmark cases, which significantly altered existing laws and the language in which it is described. Below are some of the recent landmark cases. Here are some concrete examples:
The McDonald v. Chicago (2010) and District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) helped to reassert an individual’s right to bear arms over state/district’s restrictions.
United States v. Windsor (2013) and Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013) are the two cases that recently received attention for altering the way the federal government and some states deal with gay marriage and domestic partnerships.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012), and Shelby County v. Holder (2013) have dealt with large-scale issues, like the limits of freedom of speech and issues of federal power and states’ rights.
In addition Montejo v. Louisiana (2009), United States v. Jones (2012), and Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (2010), dealt with what many consider the most important aspect of the law, amending personal rights.
Essentially, what these landmark cases show is that it’s not enough to know or to have learned what the law was several years (or even several months) ago; it is important to know the law as it applies to you today. Keeping up with all of this can be difficult for native English speakers let alone for those who have a limited understanding of the English language. The law can assure you in your rights, offer you protection, and safeguard your property and possessions, but only if you understand it; moreover, the key for many who are unfamiliar with its special dialect is through the services of an experienced and trusted translation company. A specialist legal translation firm can help you understand your rights and obligations according to the law, and help to keep you from having to utter the regrettable phrase, “Yo no sabía que era ilegal” (“I didn’t know that was illegal”).
EVS Translations offers a comprehensive portfolio of legal language services.
EVS Translations not only delivers legal translations professionally, our legal translation department also provides certification, notarization and apostilling, ensuring legal translations meet whatever standard of verification the clients require. On-site legal services include simultaneous and consecutive legal interpreting, and swift, accurate legal transcription.
For a personal consultation or a no-obligation quote for your legal translations project, contact our friendly team in Atlanta at +1 404-523-5560.