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5 Things to Know About Legal Document Translation

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Accuracy is always important when it comes to translating documents. Anybody having any sort of translation, localization, or interpreting work done rightly expects the work to be done correctly an delivered on time. Still, there situations where accuracy is even pressing. One of these involves the translation of legal documents.

This is because a gross mistake in translation of a legal document can have devastating ramifications. If someone doesn’t know how to translate legal documents, they can cost a client both time and money. They may even leave them in real legal trouble. It’s not just important to understand, ‘how does translation work?’, translation customers must understand the process of legal document certification translation. To gain a better understanding, check out these 5 things you should know about legal translations.

  1. You Must Find a Legal Translation Expert

Be warned that there are a lot of translation services that will happily accept legal translation work. The problem is that many simply don’t have access to the expertise required to complete these jobs successfully. Worse, many use tricky policies to absolve themselves of any responsibility should your translation be inaccurate. This is why it is absolutely imperative that you research any company you decide to use, and verify that they only allow highly qualified translation specialists with specific experience in legal translations.

  1. It’s Important to Understand The Two Basic Types of Legal Translation

The vast majority of legal translations are done in one of two ways. With a standard legal translation, a translator with legal expertise not only translates your document. They ensure that it is as legally accurate in the target language as it is in the source language. These are translators who understand legal terminology, and are able to provide valid certification.

In other cases, translations are legally verified. This is when your legal document is translated. Then, it is passed on to a legal expert for verification. This may be an attorney, or someone who is the equivalent of a paralegal or legal aide.

Know what you want, and be sure to verify the exact service you’ll be receiving. If you really want to ensure accuracy, you can request that legal expert works on your translation, and have it verified by a lawyer.

  1. The Legal Translation Will Only be as Accurate as Your Source File

As with any translation, it’s not the job of the translator to fix inaccuracies. Instead, they’re task is to ensure that the target document is an accurate copy of the source document, written in the requested language. It would be absolutely unethical and potentially illegal for your translator to make any changes. This is true even if they see something that they know is likely a mistake.

To get the best possible results, review your source documents thoroughly. Be vigilant about finding any potential mistakes. Then, fix those errors before sending them to your translator. The last thing you want is to have them translate whole documents that are incorrect in some way. You’ll be responsible for those inaccuracies, and have to pay to have them fixed.

  1. Not All Legal Translation is The Same

Chances are, you wouldn’t handle the same lawyer to take care of an immigration case, a divorce, and an intellectual property matter. You probably shouldn’t rely on the same translation professional to handle every legal translation either. While some documents can be handled by most legal translation pros, there are some that really do need a specialist.

  1. Think Locally

Imagine you have a patent document that you need to translate into Spanish. Well, before you go any further, you have to know which region. Remember that while languages apply to many different countries, laws do not. The law is very specific to each country, and sometimes to areas within that country. Keep in mind that a translator who understands the law in Spain may not be qualified to do a translation in Colombia.

Final Thoughts

Don’t risk the accuracy of your legal documents. Take care to find the experts you need to do the job right. You will save both money and headache in the long run.