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An Expensive Divorce: Consolidating Translated Legal Information for Public Access

A lawyer in the city recently engaged us to translate a divorce consent order. He represented the wife and the translated documents were to be served to the husband in CHINA. Some clauses from the Family Law Act 1975 were quoted in the consent order, and therefore the lawyer has asked us to translate those sections of the Act too. Further to that, we were also asked to translate a brochure from the Federal Circuit Court named Marriage Families & Separation. It focuses on explaining the non-court and court processes, dispute resolution and parenting plan, as well as some contact numbers if the parties need assistance. The total translation bill added up to over AUD2000. We proceeded with the translation of the brochure.

On the one hand, I admire the fairness our lawyer has demonstrated to the other party who presumably knows very little about Australian laws, and appreciate his due diligence. On the other hand, I sweat for the wife as to how expensive it is to get a divorce and a parenting order.

Afterwards I did a bit of research on what sort of translated materials are available on line. I did find a translated Chinese brochure on the Victoria Legal Aid website on Separation and Divorce. It has been written in a question and answer format from an individual’s angel, with the emphasis on answering the issues a person needs to deal with before and after separation, such as children, person safety, visa, property etc. Had the lawyer been aware of that, would we have saved the client some money?

Looking back, it will be a service to the community to consolidate translations of legal information on different topics that have already been translated into different languages to avoid doubling up work and to reduce cost. As long as the translations are done by accredited translators, it will by and large be safe for courts and law firms to refer their clients to such a data base, in my view. Therefore we have taken upon us to collect Chinese translations our translators have done over the years and set up a library of legal information in Chinese. Visit our Legal Information Chinese Translation Library now.


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