Legal translation is a specific branch of translation which can take time and patience. One little mistake could lead to an innocent man being jailed or a criminal getting away with a crime. We have put together some tips to help towards this process and things that you need to consider.


1. Be clear about what actually needs translating.

This can save you time and money! Legal documents are extensive and there are, very often, pages that don’t need translating. Information such as signature pages, address information, cover pages and handwritten notes may not need translating therefore be clear on which sections need translating and what doesn’t.

2. Have a clear understanding of the Law.

You need to have a clear understanding of the legal system for the target country because most countries across the world have their own particular laws and language. Legal documents translated for the need of a court will need to use the exact legal terminology for that country. This is a must for successful legal translations. This is technically your translators job but it is always useful to have some local awareness, knowledge is power!

3.Confirm a glossary of keywords.

Defining a glossary of keywords is a very important part of the translation process because the law is full of important words and phrases which carry a very specific legal meaning. Making sure that the translation is correct is extremely important. When a legal term in English has more than one foreign language equal, you may want to appoint the language term you prefer so that it is constantly used throughout the translation. Doing this at the start of the project will help reduce the risk of mistakes further down the line.

4. Security is important.

How will your documents be handled? Legal documents are usually extremely confidential and need translators who understand this and give guarantees to their trustworthiness. Security is very important. You can minimise risk by agreeing with your translator how to store and transfer documents.

5. Be clear about the languages being used.

Make sure all parties are clear on which languages will be being used. Laws usually apply to a whole country but often there is a number of languages spoken within it and in some cases, like Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese, the differences are quite significant and potentially of critical importance in a legal content. Understanding these variations is very important. Translating a document into Spanish for Spain? Make sure your translator is aware of this and understands the difference between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish.

Legal translations are too important to leave to a machine or inexperienced translator. ITL has 40 years experience with many of our regular clients specialising in law. If you would like to find out more information or get a FREE quote then get in touch!


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