They say that “Language is like a sea” and therefore those who wish to explore it should dive into this deep sea.
It is not simple for the translator to dive in the sea of the language of the original text (the source language) and then re-dive in the sea of the target language. If he is not equipped with the ability to know linguistic meanings of the original text within different contexts before diving in the source language sea and then in the target language to look for an appropriate equivalent that has the same semantics in the corresponding contexts, he will produce a poor text that might mislead the recipient.
The non-specialized translator may be fooled by the simplicity of the text as if he looks at a silent sea unaware that it conceals a vast world, but the experienced translator is aware that translation errors can have serious consequences, especially in medical and legal translations. Professional honesty requires making efforts and paying attention to find the precise meaning in order to produce a coherent text that conveys precise and easily understood information.
Legal language, for example, has a special nature as it uses linguistic terms and structures that are understood by legal specialists. Therefore, the legal translator must be very careful and spare no effort to produce a text that is equivalent to the original legal text. Maritime law is a good example as its provisions have adopted custom and used terms commonly used by seafarers and maritime operators, so it is wrong to translate maritime legal texts using terms of other domains.
For example, the term “maritime guidance” is not common in this field and is not understood. Instead, the term “maritime pilotage” is the term that is used in English texts. There are several examples such as: “Bareboat Charter” and “Demise Charter” which refer to contracts whereby the ship owner leases its vessel.
Therefore, translation of specialized texts, such as legal ones, requires caution and awareness of the consequences of translation errors, the least of which is that the addressee does not understand his or her duties or rights.