How Legal Interpretations Could Kill You in Court

Although words may only be written, but the consequences are much alive.

Legal Interpretation is a field of interpreting the words of any legal documents, and usually, it would be brought up when there are two or more meanings drawn from the same sentence. Most of the time it happened unintentionally, and often all of the parties will attempt to resolve the dispute by deliberation to reach consensus. But, when it is done intentionally, that’s what I like to call “Lie without lying” or “Double-speak”. As William Lutz described it in his book titled “Double-Speak”, he wrote “is [a] language designed to evade responsibility, make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, basically it’s [a] language designed to mislead while pretending not to.”

Before we continue, I would like to clear out that words itself doesn’t carry any weight whatsoever, but the way it is structured turns it to a guide of “social reality”. We don’t actually live in the objective world (nobody does). But, we live in a world of perceptions created by the medium of languages that perceive our reality in society. Did I catch you getting confused for a moment there? What I’m basically saying is that the fact we know is what we percept of it. It is not about what I speak or write that actually matters, it’s what you perceive that matters.

Theoretically, there are at least four types of double-speaking: Euphemism, Jargon, Gobbledygook or Bureaucratese, and Inflated Words. Euphemism is a softer version of words to hide the right ugly message that it is delivering. Examples are “Used Goods” are now labeled “Pre-Loved”, “Poor People” are labeled “Economically Disadvantage”, “Slums” are labeled “Subsidiary Housing Downtown” et cetera. Keep in mind that double-speaking does not directly mean deceitfulness, or may I say “a smoother truth”, it all depends on how you intend to use it in the first place.

Then, there’s the Jargon, which uses a specific term in a particular field where the public is usually not really familiar. This created the illusion of smartness or just downright tried to confuse the audience. For example, is “Due to the iatrogenic pressure externally, he suffers peripheral edema and a wound that exudates serosanguineous fluid.”, long term for “he fell, got a swell and a scrape that lets out blood.”

The third is the Gobbledygook, which is basically throwing around a bunch of words to confuse and overwhelm the audience. An easy example is “A device created from organic and inorganic substances that are processed inorganically and used to store, view, edit and transfer data in multiple forms that such in a manner has been used for thousands of year and recently ported to another material.”, and the short version is: a book.

Last is Inflated Words, this is doublespeak where the language is designed to make the simple seem complicated or give an air of importance to relatively usual, day-to-day words. Let’s say, “Further information will be sent and forwarded to, following the requested communication lines. This agenda will be delivered thoroughly in the next daylight as to not interfere with personal inquiries.” Which is plainly, “You’ll get the update tomorrow via anything you like so that we won’t disturb you tonight.”

With all these challenges ahead of you, it is very understandable that you are a bit worried. What if I have been double-spoke on a future agreement? What if I made it by mistake and that the court ruled it to be an act of deceit and unfair play? What if I got scammed and I lose my whole business? Well, that’s where legal interpretation comes in and lessen your worries. If your partner is actually a scammer and tries to take advantage of “playful” words, your legal interpreter can “play” it and do their best to help you.

They will also help you create foundations for your company and make sure that there will be no loopholes or whatsoever that could someday ruin your day in the future, just like insurance. They will also help you create documents with the right words, crosscheck it for you, and talk it out with you from time to time. There are also services for translating legal documents (which are not easy, and I don’t personally recommend doing it on your own) when you want to get that bang of the buck internationally.

Since you’ve reached the end of the article, check out our website if you need support on your business such as legal, marketing, branding, social media management, and many more. Our program (Apiary Business Solution) provides you with a curated list of partners in various fields to help grow your business.

Written by: Hans Joseph Benito (Business Development of Apiary Coworking Space)