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How to Overcome Complexity in Contract Management and Translation

When contracts are stored in multiple formats and locations, identifying and managing even simple changes can become highly complex. This picture becomes even more complicated when you factor in contract translation, as Tim Moorcroft explains. 

In an ideal world, every department in your organization would follow the same procedure for drafting, signing, translating, and storing new contracts and agreements; of course, achieving this ideal is easier said than done. 

Different business units, departments, and regional and national offices will naturally accumulate their own bank of contracts in the course of trade, whether that be supplier or purchase agreements, employee contracts, letters of intent, or shareholder agreements. Invariably, these agreements will take different formats, feature variations of contractual terms, and undergo various stages of internal review before being stored on a platform or server.

One internal department may use DocuSign to manage e-signatures, for example, while another may favor Adobe Acrobat Sign. Likewise, one business unit may store signed agreements in Salesforce; others may use Dropbox, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google Drive. 

National offices and subsidiaries may have amended specific clauses, terms, or indemnities to reflect local law or practices; others may be reusing translations of agreements that have not been checked or standardized across the business.

Although each of these variations is easily surmountable in isolation, as a whole, the complexity can take considerable time and effort to unpick. Meanwhile, the number of contracts and agreements continues to grow as new suppliers, licensees, shareholders, and employees come on board, or existing business terms and purchase agreements are renegotiated and renewed. 

Why Translation Management is Part of Contract Management

A similar picture applies when it comes to managing contract translations and localization. Where national offices or individual departments use different vendors or rely on local employees, the likelihood of inconsistency, omissions, oversights, or errors grows—even more so when you consider the tight deadlines that are often at play. 

While two different translations of the same contract clause by two translators may be both “correct” in terms of language and legal meaning, having multiple versions of the same text makes little sense from a business, operational, and legal perspective. In other words, when it comes to contract translation, consistency can be as important for a business as accuracy. Indeed, they are often two sides of the same coin. 

That is why BIG IP & Legal employs translation memories and translation glossaries for client contract translation work. Not only does this avoid the same clause being translated in multiple ways by different translators, but it also saves clients time and money. Crucially, it also makes it easier to track and implement changes quicker and more effectively, as the update simply needs to be made to the translation memory to apply it across all future contracts.

This approach applies across our legal translation services, including Lawlinguists, our premium translation service for mission-critical contracts, and complex legal content. This unique offering provides clients with access to the language and legal skills of our global network of qualified lawyers via our translation technologies and is supported by our complementary contract and legal translation services.

By centralizing their contract translation needs in this way, clients not only benefit from greater accuracy in the translation process. They also gain greater oversight and control of their existing agreements by recording agreed terms and conditions, standardizing legal terminology, and managing version control and storage protocols via one single vendor and one common system.

Indeed, by using our intelligent contract management system, clients can incorporate translation into their contract management processes to more effectively track, protect, and accelerate their businesses. For example, by proactively managing compliance, risk, and contract creation, optimizing transparency, and employing automation and standardized templates to streamline the entire contract lifecycle, from intake to drafting, redlining, approving, signing, reporting, translating, renegotiating, and renewing. 

Get in touch with us today at request@big-ip.com to discuss how we could support you in your contract translation and management needs.

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