Aspects to consider when translating legal documents

Translating legal documents – Aspects to consider

The spectrum of understanding professional translation services among the general public is extremely wide. From believing that translation is nothing more than simply replacing words with words in another language to deeming the procedure extremely complicated and perhaps even daunting. Today however, translation agencies, such as ours, have streamlined their processes and developed bespoke software in order to make the translation process as easy and straightforward as possible for the end user.

Nonetheless, when translating your documents or choosing the language supplier, there are still several different factors which you must consider before actually going ahead with converting your content and which can directly affect the quality and suitability of the translated document. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the factors, which can influence the quality of a translation when working with legal documents.


Aspects to remember when translating legal documents:

  • Linguist is a native speaker of the target language
  • They understand your particular business sector
  • They have knowledge of the legal sector
  • The translator can fully understand the legal jargon
  • They recognize judiciary differences between countries
  • The translation agency is officially registered

What to remember when translating legal document


Native speakers

Making sure that your legal documents are translated by a native speaker of the target language is generally strongly recommended. Although this doesn’t apply solely and specifically to legal documents, but rather any type of content, typically a native speaker will be able to translate your documents more accurately and ensure that the language used sounds naturally for the target audience.

Additionally, in many cases, cultural factors can also play an important part when translating legal documents. Customs, political situation or even religion can all affect reliability of a translation. By working with an agency which is able to provide translation by a native speaker of your target language, you ensure that all of these factors will also be carefully considered and involved in the process of translating your legal materials.

Sector knowledge

A reliable translation consists of much more than simply replacing words with their equivalents in another language. As previously mentioned, culture, for example, is something that must also be considered to ensure that the translated documents are suitable for the target market or audience.

Another aspect worth paying close attention to when choosing a translations supplier, especially if you’re working on behalf of a law firm or a business, is whether the linguists involved in converting your documents fully understand your specific business sector or the sector of a client you represent.

In many cases, businesses from different sectors use terminology specific to them, which may not be easily understood by linguists without previous experience or knowledge within the particular area, and as a result, the outcome of a translation may not be completely accurate. Consequently, when choosing a supplier for translating your legal documents, make sure that the linguists converting your materials fully understand your specific corporate sector.

Understanding the legal jargon

Similarly to any other business sector, also the legal has specific language, jargon and terminology used exclusively within it. Although this ‘lingo’ is easily and widely understood by people within the sector itself, it may be difficult to grasp by people who do not have the first-hand experience. When translating your legal documents, ensure that the person working on your material is fully aware of the legal jargon and can translate it accurately into the target language.

Legal understanding

Legal knowledge and understanding of the sector are key aspects to look for in a linguist when translating documents intended for official use e.g. in the court of law, home office etc.

It’s important to keep in mind that different countries may have different legal systems. A great example of this could be the different levels of courts. Is the High Country in the United Kingdom on the same judiciary level as it is in the U.S or should it be substituted by an appropriate replacement in the documents?  A professional legal translator needs to be fully aware of these differences and translate your documents accordingly.

Official certification

In order to be fully recognized by official bodies, such as courts of law, legal documents must be certified. As a result, only authorized providers can offer this service. When choosing a translation agency to work with, regardless of whether you’re a private customer or approaching the supplier on behalf of an organization, make sure that your chosen translation agency is an accredited member of an authoritative association, such as the ATC. This guarantees that your translated legal documents will be suitable for an official use and widely recognized and accepted.

As you can see, translating legal documents is a complex process, which involves paying a very close attention to several factors, many of which can directly influence the quality and reliability of your documents or materials. Fortunately however, professional translation agencies today have streamlined their process in order to provide a straightforward solution to the end users.

If you require a professional legal translation, you can simply get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your particular requirements.