Things You Should Know About Legal Document Translation

Legal document translation is a very intense job. You cannot afford to work with a freelance translator for such complex work. That’s because a translated legal document has to go through the grind of proofing, re-checking and perfecting and standing up in a court of law, and these are factors that many freelancers cannot deliver. So, while you may be able to hire a freelancer at a lower cost, there’s no guarantee that he will deliver perfect output.

Translating legal documents is a very tough job. Every nation drafts its law based on its culture and other local factors. Translating legal documents needs mastery of the language and the lingo. Working with a general translation service or a non-legal translator will get you inaccurate output, which could damage your business and your reputation. This is why you must work with a service that specializes in legal translation, hires native translators who understand law, and above all, hires professionals who are certified and experienced.

You may think that translated legal documents are required only in courts and that the numbers required may not be significant. However, you must know that the world is fast becoming a smaller place and companies are setting up offices around the world. People are migrating, marrying into different cultures, and setting up families in different parts of the world. Invariably, legal problems crop up in a business’s and individual’s life and that is why legal translation assumes tremendous significance.

You must note that if you want your translated document to be valid in a foreign land, then it must be certified by a “sworn translator.” A sworn translator is a professional who has been empowered by his country to execute a sworn translated document and such documents are legally valid in the translator’s country. Note that this differs from a certified translation – a certified translation refers to a document that is translated by an accredited professional. A certified document may not be legally valid in a foreign land. Legal translation services can provide output that carries the local court’s seal. Every page is sealed and signed by the sworn translator to make up a legally-binding document.

There are many documents that must be legally valid in a foreign land – for example, birth certificate, identity proof, patent certificate, corporate legal documents, etc.

So, if you want a legally-binding document, go with “sworn translation,” and if not, work with a translator who knows the language, culture, law and the lingo. In either case, work with a legal document translation service that is reputed and experienced.

James K. Huntley is a blogger and legal aid who specializes in document coordination.