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Legal documents translation

Any translation must be good enough to ensure the meaning of the source language is properly conveyed in the new target language. However all good translators know that the translation of a legal text demands an additional layer of accuracy and precision. Quite simply, a legal document must always be drafted in such a way that it absolutely complies with the law – a requirement which does not change just because the original text is translated into another language.

That’s why, on this page, lingoking would like to share some important information on how to translate your legal documents.


Why do you need legal document translation services?

Because the law applies to both personal and business matters, the need for a legal translation could arise in many different civil-law contexts such as family and immigration law, or the laws governing copyright and employment, as well as the criminal law.

These areas, and many more, often generate a host of official documents, perhaps including contracts, court documents or a witness testimony, which must be translated for many purposes – for the benefit of those who speak a different mother tongue, or to meet the requirements of international trading agreements being two common instances which call for legal translation services.

What particular problems arise with the translation of legal documents?

Whenever a legal document has to be reworded in a different language, the legal translator must be aware that countries with different forms of linguistic expression will invariably have a different legal system too. For the professional translator, that means a detailed and comprehensive knowledge of both legal systems is essential.

For instance, though all official documents must be translated with precision, a legal term in one country’s jurisdiction may be different – or have no exact equivalent – in another, and both translators and interpreters must be aware of the understandings and accepted conventions which apply in such circumstances. In addition, there are often stringent requirements for language professionals to be registered with a relevant accredited body before their translations or interpretative skills are recognised.

What further regulations apply?

Even after the difficulties of a legal translation have been overcome, the process is also subject to a further set of legal rules and regulations. These mostly concern documentary validation, often termed ‘certification’, and many courts and other official bodies will routinely demand a certified translation. Different understandings apply to the certification process, but the following concepts will be regularly encountered:

  • Certified translation: usually describes a translation accompanied by a certificate which guarantees its accuracy.
  • Notarised translation: refers to translations accredited by a notary public, who will be expected to verify the translator’s status and sign a certificate of authenticity attached to the legal translation.
  • Apostille: an apostille is a special form of document authentication whose status is recognised internationally.

Beyond certification itself lie many other considerations which a professional translation agency will take into account, and be happy to explain to clients. In the UK for instance, an interpreter must undergo a DBS (formerly CRB) check designed to protect vulnerable people.

Our legal translation services

What to expect from legal translation services

The best agencies will have five key attributes:

  • Knowledge: A translator or interpreter needs to have a broad knowledge of legal terms and regulations in order to produce high-quality translations. He needs to know about relevant jurisdictions and the rules he needs to follow regarding the translation.
  • Skills of the translator/interpreter: In most cases, a legal translation needs to be carried out by a certified translator or a sworn interpreter. Of course, the translator or interpreter needs to have the necessary language skills to provide the customer with a high-quality legal translation.
  • Services provided by the translation agency: A great customer service, confidential and reliable work, a personal account manager, data security, easy communication, and a fast document turnaround time are important qualities of a good translation agency.
  • Project management skills: Enough capacity and scalability are very important aspects. In general, a customized approach is very important to meet each client’s unique requirements.
  • Additional services provided by the agency like professional interpreting.

Legal translations: How to choose the right translation agency

Choosing the right translation agency can be a difficult task. Feel free to ask as many questions as possible to help you make your decision. A good translation agency should provide a top-quality service, be able to demonstrate consistent high standards, and offer the following features:

  • Is the translation agency well-established? Have they been in business for a number of years?
  • Is the translation agency experienced with the translation of immigration documents?
  • Do the translators have a good knowledge of the legal system in both the source and target countries? Do they have experience with the regulations and guidelines that need to be met?
  • Can the translation company provide you with certified translations if needed?
  • Are the translators members of official organisations such as the American Translators Association (ATA)?
  • Does the translation agency guarantee the privacy of your information throughout the whole translation process?
  • Does the translation agency have a fast turnaround time? Can they send you a certified translation as fast as you need it?
  • Is the translation agency straightforward when it comes to pricing? Will there be any extra costs?
  • Can the translation agency provide any additional services such as an interpreter if needed?

In addition, many legal document translation services will also be able to provide interpreters, and perhaps offer certified translation of other documents like birth certificates or driver's licences.

You should definitely take your time before making a final decision. Make sure to find the immigration documents translation services that suit your needs. Time spent at this stage of decision making is not wasted and is vital for a quick and smooth translation process.

Summary: Translations services for legal documents

Premium legal translation services provide much more than just a legal translator and our company will be happy to guide you through this complex process. So if you require a translation of your birth certificate, or any other important legal document, entrust the task to a professional translation agency with a proven reputation, such as lingoking, who will always provide you with the best service.

We can provide you with an accurate and fast translation while at the same time always protecting your privacy. Get in touch with us if you require a translation of your legal documents and find out how we can help you!

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