Russian Contract Translation

Helping commercial legal teams translate legal documents.

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Russian Contract Translation

For businesses looking to move into a Russian market, high-quality Russian contract translation services are a must. It is too easy for things to be misunderstood when people are dealing with legal documents not written in their native tongue.

There are only four countries where Russian is an official language, though the language is used heavily throughout many regions in the Middle East/Asia. Within the four countries where Russian is official, there are nearly 181 million Russian speakers that create a large pool of potential customers for a business.

Russian Legal Translation

Translating between Russian and English poses a series of problems — the most obvious of which is the completely different alphabet used by Russian speakers. While some characters look familiar, the rest look like chicken scratch to the untrained eye.

Beyond this, there are differences in the terminology and phrasing used in legal documents in the two languages. There are not always literal or direct translations.

To translate contracts accurately, translators must have intimate knowledge of both languages and be able to write the document to make sense for their target audience. It must also accurately reflect the meaning of the original document, even if the word-for-word translation is somewhat different.

What happens if the contract ends up in court? Translated contracts are difficult to use as the exact meaning from the original document may differ slightly. To mitigate issues, we recommend:

●    Predetermining which language is the prevailing language (that is, which one takes precedent if there is a discrepancy)

●    Predetermining which jurisdiction will oversee the contract in court and add a clause

●    Completely understanding the terms of the contract before signing

●    Using a competent, trustworthy, human translator to minimize discrepancies

English to Russian Contract Translation – For In-Country Use

For In-Country Use

A lot of business happens online these days and many businesses make most or all of their contact with their customers on the Internet. This means that an online presence is critical. Plus, when going international, an online presence in the target market’s native language is indisputably important.

Machine translations, though stiff, may work for product descriptions or other text that is mostly straightforward. However, for legal pages, things can get trickier. A machine translation can inaccurately convey information. In a best-case scenario, this might only lead to a disgruntled customer or two. Worst case, the business could end up with a lawsuit knocking on their door.

For these types of documents, machine translations just don’t cut it. Pages that we routinely translate from English to Russian include:

●    Terms of Service

●    Privacy Policies

●    Disclosures

●    Disclaimers

And other legal website pages that are vital to have available for people to review.

Russian to English Contract Translation - For Cross-Border Negotiations

For Cross-Border Negotiations

It’s likely that the opposite will also be needed. As businesses begin dealing with international companies, they will receive legal documents in the local language. For example, a Russian company might offer them a software agreement in Russian for a particular software they are looking to implement.

Before signing anything, companies will have their legal department look over the agreement. To facilitate this, they will need the agreement translated into English so their English-speaking lawyers can review it.

Examples of contracts commonly used in a Russian market include:

●    Commission Contract

●    Supply Contract

●    Agency Contract

●    Consulting Services Contract

●    Sale and Purchase Agreement

●    Distribution Contract

Russian Contract Translation Tips

Context is very important when translating from English to Russian. Russian is very context-sensitive and the same word in English could have several different translations in Russian. Without proper context, the translator could choose the wrong Russian word and unintentionally change the meaning of the text considerably.

Translators should also take style and formatting into consideration as they translate. English is a rather succinct language. In order to say the same thing in Russian, the text needs to be expanded by approximately 20%. This can really mess with the formatting on a website, for example.

Other tips translators must keep in mind include:

●    Localizing the language for the specific area where the document will be used

●    Adapting the text to work with the civil law code in Russia (different from US common law)

Types of Russian Contracts

There are several types of contracts that companies will run into often with business dealings in another country. These include, but are not limited to:

●    Terms of Services

●    Privacy Policies

●    Online Agreements

●    Vendor Contracts

●    Customer Contracts

●    Master Service Agreements

Contracts in Russia

Different countries and areas have different traditions and expected clauses in their contracts. Here are a few of the clauses that are often seen in contracts with Russian companies:

●    The legal standing of the Russian company as proved by a State Registry Certificate of the Company, Tax Authority Registration Certificate, and a license (if needed)

●    Exclusivity for the Russian company within the Russian Federation and the Commonwealth of Independent States

●    Payment and Currency

●    Quality Control

●    Delivery Conditions

●    Prevailing Language

●    Etc.

Popular Russian Contract Terms

Contracts are full of language and terminology that even native speakers of a language have a hard time understanding. This is why it is so important for each party to have a copy of the contract in their own tongue — even if they speak the other language.

Additionally, some legal terms don’t translate literally from one language to the other. The terms are used differently and the translator must be aware of this.

Here are a few common contract terms in both Russian and English. As we mentioned, some English words can have several translations in Russian:

Настоящим, сим, этим, при сем
Contract terms
условия контракта
According to
в соот ветствии с, по словам, по мнению, по утверждению

Russia’s Legal System

Codes of law vary in different countries, though many countries share the same influences/roots for their law system. In fact, most countries’ law codes can be said to be based (albeit loosely) on two basic law codes, common law v civil law.

When working with global contracts, translators must have a basic understanding of the law codes of the two countries they are working with. Otherwise, the structure of the translated contract will be unfamiliar to the recipient, even though the words are understandable.

Russia operates on a civil law system that dates back to Roman law. In the 1800s, it was heavily influenced by the Germanic civil code, which has shaped the law code of many countries in the EU and around the world. In the 1900s, socialist modifications began appearing.

The US, on the other hand, mostly operates on the basis of English common law, with the exception of Louisiana.

Russian Contract Translation Services

In short, there is a lot that goes into proper legal translation. It is not a simple task that can be handled by a machine translator or even any bilingual who speaks both languages. Legal translation is far more nuanced and requires an intimate understanding of both languages as well as local law codes.

Rely on only the best when you need high-quality Russian contract translation services. Mistakes in this area can be far too costly to depend on mediocre translations.

Contact us today for legal translation services you can count on!

When it’s time for businesses to work indifferent countries, proper legal contract translation is essential to their business. Reach out to us today for legal contract translation services you can count on.

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