9 Tips for Translating Legal Documents

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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Are you looking for some free tips for translating a legal document that is in another language? Translating from one language to another is not a cosy affair. Yes, of course, you can always find assistance on Google, which will provide an easy translation. But, seriously you are not depending on that kind of a translation. If you are doubtful, just try it and see for yourself; we bet that the results are not what you were expecting.

No one wants to mess up with something as important as a legal document. A small error and you do not know where you are heading to. Also check some of the things you need to know about how to assess translation quality.  

If the translation goes wrong, you will have to pay a huge price for it – which demands a lot of time, money and effort, while it can sometimes give rise to other legal issues for the people involved in it. 

Let us stay away from risks when working on legal document translations. So, how can you ensure that your document is free from all kinds of errors and is appropriate?

Why not hire a legal document translation service provider. It might sound to be an expensive affair, but it is recommended because it is highly trustworthy and worth your money.

Here is why you should be hiring a legal document translation service:


1. Beware of Machine Translation Software

Machine translation can lead to errors. Of course, computers can be used for translations as many have been programmed to provide translation services. But, we cannot depend on the machine translated documents as there can be major errors.

Though, you might pick Google for translation as it is being updated to provide a great and impeccable user experience, but still we cannot trust how far the translations would be accurate. You may also consider some rising Neural Machine Translation tools but there are still evolving.

So, it is a good idea to get human assistance as they have a clear idea about both the languages and can do the job perfectly well rather than a machine.

Often clients ask for an interpreter when they need a translator, and vice versa. So it is important to know how interpreter and translators are different, and what their roles are.

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2. Vocabularies and Terminologies are Important

You may use Google translate if you are unsure about a word or term in a language that is new to you. But, do not take the risk with your legal documents. Legal documents are complicated and there are many unfamiliar and technical vocabulary that it might be finding about for the first time. This is when the game gets dirty and the translation doesn’t happen accurately. Also, on the basis of the region, the translation might change the meaning entirely.

So, to sum up, another tip for translating legal document is: Do not risk using Google translate for your legal documents.

tips for translating legal documents

3. Intermediaries or Amateurs can be Harmful

You might find someone who has heard of a few words or phrases in a specific language to which the document has to be translated. But, less knowledge is as good as no knowledge at all. This person might be good at speaking the language and can easily communicate with a native speaker, but it might not be advisable to seek their assistance to get the translation of your document done.

Providing feedback on their work is always a good thing. Positive feedback is always great to receive, however dealing with translation feedback can be a bit difficult. 

They need to be familiar with all kinds of legal terminologies and vocabularies that go in the document, which is not easy for a non-experienced person to handle. Please take a note that reading and speaking are different. Someone who can speak the language well need not be able to be an expert at reading it.

Any translation,be it your passport, adoption documents, marriage certificate or birth certificate translation, here it is advisable that you hire a professional translator to translate your document.

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4. Follow Court Specific Rules

Not all courts accept documents that are not certified or authenticated by a professional. So, again, you cannot have documents that are not translated by a professional expert as the legal matters are not something that you should be taking lightly; but handle it with care.

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5. Prevent Malpractice

No one in their worst dreams wants to be sued up for malpractice as you are aware of the fact that malpractice lawsuits are highly expensive.

Apart from the money and time that you would have to invest, it is also not good for your reputation. If anything goes wrong with your translation, undoubtedly, there are all chances that you will be prosecuted.

Why take risks when you can easily hire a legal translator and get the job done neatly.

Translators connect two languages, two different cultures, and two very different people. This job is still very important and prevalent on a large scale. Here is the list of benefits of being a translator

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6. Ensure Credibility to your Document

Imagine your court case is happening in the presence of a jury, the quality of your legal document would determine whether it would make or break your case. The simple logic behind this is that anything that is credible always finds a way to the jury’s mind.

A document that has been translated by an expert is, of course, more credible than any page that you got translated using Google or someone who claims to speak that language. Also, this would be helpful in fixing errors if the language from which it is being translated is not appropriately written.

Translation must be highly accurate and true, and this can only be guaranteed if a Certified Translation Badge is provided alongside with the document, proving that the translation was made by Officially Certified Translators.

For example, here at TranslateDay we provide only Certified Translations: Documents issued by a Professional Translation Agency that provides a certificate of accuracy and completion along with the translated documents, certifying that all detailed statement is true, accurate and complete and the person who translated the document is fluent in the language that the document was translated to.

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7. Mantain clear Organization

The original document should be clearly scripted and well-organized. It should also ensure that the similar structure and style is followed through the translated document.

It is always an excellent idea to seek assistance or recommendations from the lawyers based in the target’s region or location. They can provide you with valuable advices to support the stances, including witness testimonies and government-related documents.

9. Check Country Rules and Terminology

It is imperative that you keep in mind your own country’s rules and terminologies. Specially those related to the ones that are mentioned across the document.

Another important tip is to research and find out more on where the document would be applied. Try to understand where the document will be used and how. This will help you to furnish it in line with the actual needs.

Follow the target country’s writing style when translating. This will help you avoid any kind of confusion for the reader. Any error could actually be fatal. The reverse process or redo could cost you more of your time and money.

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Translation of legal documents is not an easy process, but a daunting one. The last tip for translating legal documents that we can give you is recommend you to always seek for expert help.

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