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What is a Legal Translation?


A country’s legal system requires the translation of certain documents for legal purposes. In the United States, for example, documents written in other languages should have translations in English, if people are required to submit the documents for legal transactions, such as business deals, immigration or court proceedings.

In some countries, especially those in Europe, only court-certified legal translators are allowed to do legal translations. In the United Kingdom and the United States, the requirements are not so strict. A professional translator who has exposure and experience in law and legal systems can handle legal translations. Some federal agencies in the U.S. require the submission of certified translations, meaning a person must submit a certificate of accuracy along with the translation of the document.

Legal translation

A legal translation is not only applicable to the legal system. It is required by the civil system as well. If you’re in business, you may need legal translations for your contracts, business proposals, financial and bank statements, trademark and patent filings, business licenses, confidentiality agreements or letters of credit.

Moreover, you may be requested to have your birth certificate, marriage license, passport, driver’s license, insurance policies, and other personal papers translated.

There are several instances when you need translation services for your legal documents. If you are from another country and your documents are written in a language different from your destination country, it is best to inquire if you need a legal translation.

Legal translation services

Most types of legal relationships may need legal translation services. It encompasses administrative, commercial, civil, tax, constitutional, international and criminal law. The most critical requirements for legal translation services are the correctness of the style and structure of the document, the precise use of the target language, specific terminology applicable to the subject matter and the expertise of the translator in the legal language.

In the delivery of legal translation services, the translator should see to it that the legal translation’s purpose is observed. The legal translation may be needed to complete a notarial certification, for official documentation or for information.

Legal translation services demand that the translations should be accurate and error-free. An error in the translation will have legal consequences, which could result in property or financial damages, breakdown of business negotiations, cancellation of contracts or extended legal battle.

Hundreds of documents are considered as legal documents. Since you will be notified by the concerned organization or government agency about the documents that need legal translation, we’re going to give you some tips on how to find the right legal translation services provider.

  • Ensure that the legal translator is a subject matter expert and a native speaker of the target language.
  • The translator should have long experience in legal translation.
  • The translator must have extensive knowledge of the legal language and different legal systems.
  • The translator should be able to meet deadlines.
  • The translator should be up to date on the developments and changes in various legal systems
  • The translator should be an expert in the rules of grammar and syntax of the language pair.

Translation of legal documents

When you need legal translation, it is important to find a translator or a translation agency that has expertise in the service. Keep in mind that legal translation needs a subject matter expert, who not only has experience in law and legal systems but also has knowledge of the legal language and terminology and excellent command of the source and target languages.

The translation of legal documents is demanding and has its own set of complexities. Aside from knowledge of legal terminology, there are legal clichés that have specific meanings. The legal translator should be an expert in selecting the correct linguistic structure that the content demands.

Certified legal translation

Government agencies and court systems often require certified legal translation. Certified legal translation renders a document valid. When an agency requests you to submit a certified legal translation of a document, you should order the translation of the particular document and request the translator or the translation agency doing the translation to have the translation certified.

The certification or the Certificate of Accuracy consists of a brief statement with the full name of the translator, who states that he or she translated the document from the source language to the target language. The translator also certifies his or her competency in the language pair. The certificate bears the signature of the translator or translation agency representative and the date of creation of the certification. Some government agencies likewise require notarization of the certificate of accuracy.

Translation of legal documents does not have room for any ambiguity. Ensure that you are getting legal translation with a high level of accuracy by getting in touch with us at eTranslation Services. You can reach us at (800) 882-6058 or send us an email at [email protected].

Image Copyright: Blogtrepreneur [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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