Business between the United States and China continues to grow. In June 2021, exports from China to the U.S. topped $46.9 billion, and imports from the U.S. to China were a healthy $14.3 billion. If your company is a part of this growing international economy, there are some essential elements to understand about accurate translations for international business for China.
Accurate Translations for International Business
First, Chinese law allows parties of dual language contracts to decide which language is the dominant version. If no language is selected to be the controlling contract, then the Chinese court or arbitration panel will choose and typically choose the Chinese version. However, even if the English version is designated as the controlling contract, it is nearly impossible to litigate English contract terms in a Chinese court successfully. Interestingly, suppose a contract is solely in English, and you end up in arbitration. In that case, these same agencies will appoint a translator to provide a Chinese version–and it’s often less than entirely accurate.
Second, the Chinese are not as hung up on technical, legal phrases as Americans are. This is just an extension of their customs and should not be considered a personal offense to the business deal at hand. Chinese people will focus on the overall concept rather than lengthy descriptions meant to address every possible contingency of a provision. Chinese lawyers and businesspeople often disregard our traditional U.S. contract language and use their more straightforward, standard contract language.
Be aware that parties in the contract may not read the English version at all and rely upon a translated Chinese version. If it is created by a translator they hired, it likely doesn’t include the specific nuances of the original version. If your business deal goes to court, it is the Chinese version the court’s representatives will read. It’s a good idea to have the final Chinese version re-translated back to English to ensure valuable meaning wasn’t lost in the negotiation process.
Third, just because the Chinese representative signed it doesn’t mean they commit to it. If your contract contains provisions that they know are unenforceable in their country, Chinese representatives will often just sign, knowing there will be no repercussions for not following through. For example, suppose your contract assigns jurisdiction to a neutral district like Beijing or Shanghai. In that case, you’re likely to get agreement from your Chinese counterparts, who know that Chinese courts are not expected to enforce judgments from those districts.
If you’re working on an international business contract, get professional translation from The Perfect Translation.
The Perfect Translation understands what’s required to achieve accurate translations for international business. Our team of linguistic experts is proficient in the target language and experienced in the type of work you’re doing. Using our service, your Chinese contract translator will know the language and be experienced with the specifics of Chinese contract law. You won’t find that level of expertise in automated translation software programs. Contact us today to discuss your project and receive a free quote.