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Navigating the Legal System: The Crucial Role of language Services for immigration Attorneys

Immigration has always been at the heart of our nation’s history. Just consider that 68 million people in the U.S. today speak a language other than English at home. 

Immigration is also tending to rise, with 49 states seeing an increase of new arrivals between 2021 and 2023. As these families undergo legal proceedings such as visas, asylum hearings and other paperwork, they may require multilingual legal support.

Legal translation and interpretation services for attorneys are paramount to protecting the rights of immigrants as they participate in the legal system. Without language services, these individuals may struggle to navigate paperwork/proceedings with clarity.

Additionally, immigration attorneys may require interpreter services to understand their cases and build strong relationships with their clients. Otherwise, legal representation may be compromised by errors, omissions and a lack of cultural sensitivity.

Overall, the stakes are high for your law firm or legal non-profit’s efforts. To help you out, our experts at Dialog One have taken a deep dive into why you should hire certified legal translators, top challenges of attorney language services and more. 

Why Interpretation Services for Attorneys Are Vital

Immigrants often have to go through lengthy legal hoops, whether they’re applying for visas/permits, undergoing asylum hearings and/or getting other legal paperwork in order. 

As you strive to provide the best representation, you may struggle to seamlessly communicate with your limited English clients. It’s vital that you enlist the expertise of a legal interpreter, so that you can:

  • Gather the most accurate information to prepare the case
  • Explain legal proceedings, rights and obligations to your client
  • Protect lawyer-client transparency throughout the process
  • Guarantee high precision in all legal paperwork
  • Advocate for your client to achieve a fair outcome

In particular, translation accuracy in immigration cases is key for proceedings to go smoothly. Errors or inconsistencies can lead to delayed or rejected applications, which can be devastating for immigrants. 

Having a skilled legal interpreter on board ensures your most vulnerable clients get accurate, cross-cultural and certified language services. In turn, you can safeguard the rights of limited English immigrants and help them navigate legal channels with confidence. 

Types of Legal Multilingual Legal Support

Legal translation and interpretation can be highly diverse, depending on the type of immigration case. Some of the most in-demand language services for legal professionals may involve:

  • Immigration hearings (including interpretation and transcripts)
  • Attorney-client meetings
  • Applications for green cards, work papers and other permits
  • Supporting documents (i.e. sworn statements, witness testimonies, etc.)
  • Personal documents (i.e. passports, visas, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, police records, etc.)
  • … and more!

No matter which type of immigration document translation your clients require, it’s important to have an expert provide precise and empathy-focused services.

Common Challenges of Interpretation Services for Attorneys

There’s little room for error when it comes to multilingual legal support. After all, even the tiniest inconsistency can derail an immigration or asylum case. That’s why it’s so important to understand the challenges of legal language services – and how you can avoid the most harmful blunders. 

1. Eliminating Egregious Errors

Unfair denial of green cards, asylum and more is often caused by misunderstandings. Legal interpreter services must be highly meticulous to reduce the risks of errors and/or inaccuracies. 

Too often immigration attorneys will use AI or ad hoc translators to prepare paperwork, resulting in glaring mistakes. For example, AI has become a crutch for many firms, causing errors such as scrambled proper names, pronouns and personal information. Just consider that 40% of Afghan asylum cases have been jeopardized by AI translation errors. 

In addition to inaccuracy in terminology, cultural differences can cause immigration hearings or applications to go amiss. It’s not uncommon for immigrants to use regional slang or unique cultural concepts that are misunderstood without a professional interpreter. 

2. Reducing Delays and Appeals

Imprecise legal interpretation and translation can hinder proceedings for immigrants. Your clients may face delays as they correct errors or wade through an appeal process. These extended proceedings can incur more fees for your clients, too.

You can optimize case timelines for your clients by choosing certified legal translators. By elevating the quality of the original translation or interpretation, you’ll minimize potential mistakes. 

3. Accounting for Evolving Laws

Another challenge of legal language services is the great variation in law. Language services for legal professionals must take into account that laws differ by jurisdiction, as well as evolve over time. 

Your client’s country of birth may also have distinct legal concepts that are tricky to translate if there’s no clear equivalent. On top of all that, laws may have limited interpretation, requiring precise terminology and rendering to ensure there are no significant differences in legal application. 

4. Demonstrating Empathy in the Face of Trauma

Immigrants and asylum seekers may have faced harrowing circumstances on their path to the U.S. That’s why it’s so critical to have human-focused interpreters who know how to handle sensitive subjects with both accuracy and empathy. 

Professional legal translation for asylum seekers will guarantee that your clients are comfortable telling their stories. Using a subpar interpreter or AI only makes it more difficult for these individuals to feel certain that their testimony is fully and correctly translated. 

5. Achieving Cultural Connections

Culture is a significant element in legal interpreter services. Immigrants may utilize cultural expressions and gestures, as well as varying registers of tone or respect. Even the manner and timing of your client’s testimony may range depending on their culture. 

Cross-cultural legal communication is important to address these differences and make certain that immigrant voices are properly interpreted. At the same time, getting culturally-attuned legal translation can prevent misunderstandings arising from unique assumptions or interpretations. 

6. Building Trust-Based Advocacy

Successful legal advocacy for immigrants also depends greatly on creating a strong attorney-client relationship. When you leverage legal interpreter services, you’ll be better able to build strong communication and trust. 

Interpretation services open the door to a more transparent relationship, where there’s a clear back-and-forth. Your client will feel more at ease relating key details and accepting your legal advice. 

7. Meeting Complex Volumes, Timetables & Language Demands

Your caseload may involve a wide variety of immigration cases. Hiring language services for legal professionals helps make certain that your demands are covered, including the content volume, turnaround times and different languages. 

In turn, this allows you to meet legal deadlines, while maintaining the high caliber needed for accuracy. Overall, certified legal translators are ideal for keeping your immigration cases on track. 

8. Fulfilling Ambitious Organizational Goals

Your law firm or legal non-profit may also utilize legal interpreter services as a way to boost organizational outcomes. 

If you have key objectives for achieving greater access and equity within the legal system, language services are a direct way to do so. With them, immigrants with limited English won’t face as many barriers to proper legal counsel and treatment within the court system. 

9. Advancing Immigration Justice

Interpretation services for attorneys can empower your sense of justice as well. With more seamless communication with your immigrant clients, you’ll be able to better prepare their case and ensure fair proceedings. 

For many lawyers, having legal interpreters on hand is a matter of protecting their clients’ rights and well-being throughout the immigration process. 

The Pitfalls of AI for Immigration Legal Translation

Considering the high demand for immigration legal translation, many attorneys are leaning on AI to meet their language gaps. Unfortunately, AI tools such as Google Translate and Chat-GPT may complicate matters, as end results are typically riddled with errors. 

The most troubling aspect of AI tools is that they “hallucinate” when they don’t know the right answer. For a legal document, this could lead to sections that are missing or completely distinct from the original document. 

Even seemingly simple aspects, such as the name of a city, can become nonsensical. For instance, in one asylum seeker’s application, AI translated his Brazilian hometown “Belo Horizonte” as “beautiful horizon.”

Beyond significant errors and low quality, plugging in a legal document into an AI tool has other downsides such as:

  • No understanding of dialect or specialized terminology
  • No sense of cultural nuance
  • Lack of proper formatting
  • Potential gender and race bias
  • Unclear ownership and confidentiality

Given these downsides, it’s best to stick with expert legal interpreters, even if it’s more costly. Overall, the stakes are just too high for immigrants and asylum seekers. 

How We Deliver Language Services for Legal Professionals

At Dialog One, we believe in the power of language. We’re on a mission to bridge communication gaps for immigrants with limited English proficiency – whether at school, the workplace and beyond. 

To this end, we provide first-rate legal translation and interpretation services for law firms and legal non-profits to help overcome language barriers. Our certified legal translators are at the top of their fields and are seasoned in delivering precise and empathy-driven language services. 

Here’s why you should choose Dialog One to handle language services for legal professionals:

  • Specialized legal translation/interpretation. Our professionals are properly certified and well-versed in legal and courtroom proceedings
  • Empathetic and culturally-oriented. Our legal interpreters have strong connections to immigrant populations and are led by a sense of empathy. They know how to stay attuned so that their interpretation is faithful to cultural differences. 
  • Airtight QA processes. We leverage a meticulous process called TEPC (Translation, Editing, Proofreading and Cultural review) to ensure the end result meets high-caliber standards. 
  • Top legal translation technologies. Our legal translators enhance their expertise through best-in-class tools including CAT, Translation Memory (TM), specialized glossaries and interpretation apps/integrations. Depending on your needs, we even set up access to our Dovi language app
  • Dedication to data security. We protect immigrants’ personal information with secure workflows and industry-best cybersecurity protocols. 
  • Long-term strategic planning. We work closely with your legal organization to guarantee your dynamic language demands are met on an ongoing basis. Together we define requirements such as language pairs, content volume, pricing and more.

Ultimately, multilingual legal support is crucial to your success as an attorney. With the right legal interpreters at your side, you can minimize the risks of errors and provide the best legal representation possible.  

Get in touch with our expert legal translation and interpretation team today! We offer personalized consultations for attorneys to learn more about our robust legal language services.

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