4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

December 9, 2020

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Legal translation is the translation of documents that facilitate the regulation of legal relationships. It entails translating legal documents necessary for bringing different kinds of international relations into practice, and translating legal texts to exchange experience and information among legal professionals of different countries.

This kind of translation is known to be one of the most difficult ones, and the reason behind this is that the translator needs to have robust language skills and also an excellent knowledge in international standards, several legislations, and law.

‘Legalese’, the formal and technical language of legal documents, is a kind of language within a language, for this reason, legal translators have to be fluent in four languages: The original language in the document, the destination language and the technical legal language for each one of them.

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Legal translation comes with its requirements and depends on the language that it has to be translated into, and the kind of document itself. There are many types of legal translation, these are four of the most commonly requested types of legal translation, highlighted as follows:

1. Contract Translations

Contract Translation happen when you are expected to provide a translated document for some legal tramits, such as a work contract, and the original document is not written in the required language. Almost every country will require this translated documents to be certified in some way to authenticate their linguistic accuracy. This is known as Certified Translation.

Most of the certified translations are done by professional agencies with certified teams that are capable to attest the precision and quality of their legal translations. This is necessary for every legal document, so that there is no discrepancy due to different meanings or ambiguous terms in the translated document, and, if there is, the translation company can be blamed.

All of the translations provided by TranslateDay are Certified Translations, signed by Professional Document Translators. We also provide Notarized Translations, but this have different requirements, query us for further information.

4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

2. Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions apply to consumers, organizations, and businesses. The consumers that are dealing with the brand need to have access to all the terms and conditions related to the services, general business policies and products.

It is also important to have the opportunity to inform customers about their obligations when they register for any services, give their consent, and purchase the products to handle their data. These will serve as the legal backup should any customer decide to take a legal step against the brand. Therefore, it is important to ensure that everything is accurately translated.

4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

3. Intellectual Property Translations

Intellectual Property Translations come into play when designing your technology or products. There are several kinds of intellectual property translations that are suitable for an international brand. The most known intellectual property documents are patents.

Patent documents are basically a declaration that is granted by the state for exclusive right on the product. Patent rights are mostly taken for exclusive rights on any invention or assignment. These inventions are mostly done for proving any solution to a product or a process. 

The purpose of having intellectual property rights is to make sure that people don’t copy your brand and products freely. It also enables you to have the legal backing to take decisive action against any party that copies your products illegitimately. As you can see, these documents are way too important to mess up during translation.

4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

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Legal Market Research has gained importance due to the fact that every market has its personalized regulations for both foreign and local businesses.

As a brand, you’re expected to know the countries that you are targeting and whether you want to operate within the country or sell as a foreign business. Regardless of the path chosen, key business decisions have to be compliant with these regulations and this includes the finance, documentation, refund policies, marketing campaigns, product safety, and more.

You will need legal support in every target market coupled with relevant information that will have to be translated for individuals and departments. From the advertising instructions for the marketing departments to the instructions laid down for the sales teams, everyone must have access to the essential legal information translated into their language.

4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

Product Manual Translation Service

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The translation of legal documents covers different areas such as international law, criminal, tax, commercial, civil, administrative, constitutional, and other kinds of legal relationships. Some of the most common types of legal translations also include:

  1. Transcripts from court and witness
  2. Confidentiality agreements
  3. Formal Complaints
  4. Legal Statements
  5. Legal disclaimers
  6. Licenses
  7. Wills & trusts
  8. Litigation documentation
  9. Arbitration translation
  10. Depositions
  11. Policies

The caveat with these documents is that any discrepancies or errors can result in a legal crisis. This can include minor inadequacy or innocent typing errors that can impact people’s liberties and raise important legal problems. It is very important for law firms to verify that their results are both true and accurate with the original translation.

For this purpose, the translation of the legal documents must have a certain qualification. The legal translations are performed by experienced translators that have had substantial work experience.


4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

Now that we know about the 4 main types of Legal Translation lets look at the 3 Main Problems you will encounter whether you are a translator or a client while dealing with Legal Translation:

Problem #1: Special Requirements

Legal translation poses special requirements for the use of style and language – accurate use of style ensures logical structure, preciseness in formulations, and the genuineness of the content. It requires a legally trained person to comprehend the legal documents being translated. It is important that legal translators understand the legal implications of what is being translated.

Due to this, the exceptional translation of legal documents entails not only an adequate amount of legal expertise but also a very good command of the precise legal language. When translating legal documents, who you hire has long-term consequences. Finding an agency or person who is competent in translating legal terms is essential. The less accurate the information is, the higher the chances of a misunderstanding or legal consequences. We recommend to always work with professionals that translate legal terms in their native languages. 

4 Main Types of Legal Translation and Legal Translation Problems

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Problem #2: Purpose of the Translation

The purpose of the translation must also be considered. Depending on the requirements you may need to notarize a document, a certified document might not be enough. Notarized documents, also known as official translation or stamped translation, are documents signed by a translator in front of a notary public, this documents are at the same time Certified and Notarized.

For certain purposes like Adoption processes, Courts Orders, Judgment order or Property documents, a translated document must be signed in front of a notary, to be completely verified and legalized. For other purposes a certified document might be enough, like for birth certificates for immigration purposes or college or university transcripts.

However, this must not be taken as a universal rule, there are countries where certified document may be enough for certain purposes, while in other countres it needs to be notarized to be useful.   

Check our post on When and how to use Certfied or Notarized Translation if you want to know more on certified legal document translations and notarized legal document translation.


Problem #3: Laws in Different Countries

Another complexity of legal translation has to do with the fact that asides from the style and language that differs, there is a variety in the legal system among the countries as well. This has to do with the formation of the original text by following the rules outlined in the country of origin, so the translator needs to have a component understanding in the laws of both countries.

Besides the specific terms, there are legal phrases that depict a specific legal meaning and the translation of such legal phrases is even more complicated since it requires robust knowledge of the legal system.

Also the common procedures must be taken into account. For the US for example, we do not recommend to notarize documents written in languages other than English. Although it is legally permissible, it may be viewed as a misrepresentation according to translators to the notary.

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Why should I choose a Professional Legal Translation Company over a freelancer or friend?

Having a freelancer or professional friend may know how to translate legal documents for you and they may be acceptable or binding, but do not know nothing on your specific requirements. When working with professional translation agencies, the party requesting the document is normally consulted before starting the translation in order to determine their needs, to ensure the translation will meet your translation requirements.

Professional translation companies will have more than just one set of eyes reviewing the translations. Here at TranslateDay each translation is reviewed twice by two different translators, specialized in the kind of translation you choose. Make sure to read our FAQ to learn more on how we work for you.

Deadlines and delays are also important requisites to be taken into account when hiring legal translation providers. Companies such as Moshies Law are accurate in their proposed timelines and will meet the set requirements. Legal translation businesses like TranslateDay will not risk their reputation with delays in their service and will deliver within one business day, and sometimes even less.

Its essential that translation of this document is precise because it goes a long way before reaching a successful negotiation:

  • It is first requested for Public contracts bidding in foreign countries.
  • After that, the document is needed to reach a negotiation agreements in a foreign language, which take a lot of engagement and multiple rounds.
  • Finally, the document serves to regulate and incorporate companies that have headquarters abroad.

It may take several years of education to translate legal terms and fully comprehend legal translations of foreign jurisdiction legal proceedings and its subject.


This article was written with the help of Yuriy Moshes, CEO of Moshes Law and attorney with broad expertise. He has two bachelor’s degrees. Being an experienced expert, he is considered one of the most in-demand specialists in the personal injury and other kinds of law fields.

TranslateDay is your best partner for USCIS certified translation services online. We only employ the best legal translators and deliver your product 100% Online in a fast turnaround time and cheap prices.

  • $23.00/page

  • Simple Certified Translation Price per Page. No Hidden Fees. A page is defined as: 250 words or fewer (including numbers), one-sided, and letter-size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 dimensions or smaller.

1 Comment. Leave new

Charlie Bavister
February 13, 2021 7:43 pm

Thank you so very much for your article. This is really good information on types of legal translation. It’s great to visit your blog. It really gives me some insight into this subject.

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