Legal Translation Errors Can Change Your Life

Globalization and an exponential rise in international business agreements have resulted in an increased demand for translations services. As more and more MOU’s are being signed between different countries, the need for legal translation has become necessary. Such economic integration between various countries, which speak different languages and follow different legal systems calls for special legal translation services. Legal translations are demanding and complicated. A thorough knowledge of the language is not enough. Legal translations require an understanding of the legal terminology of both the source country as well as the target country.

The process of legal translation:

Translation of documents is complex, difficult and requires specific skills. Even a small mistake can have huge consequences and may result in financial loss and the reversal of business agreements. Translators who do legal translation are equipped with an extensive working knowledge of the legal systems, terminology and statutory requirements of each country. Sometimes translators work in tandem with their counterpart and reach perfect legal translations. Additionally, they need to be specialists in different branches of law such as:

Corporate law

Patents law

International law


Insurance law

Company law etc.

There are many kinds of documents which need translation including patents, business contracts, and transactions, financial records, MOU’s as well as birth certificates and even application letters.

Successful legal translation:

A successful translation needs to pass the most stringent tests, and there are many dos and don’ts. Listed hereunder are various points that go into making a perfect translation.

Accuracy: Word selection and syntax should be accurate. Also, the structure of the document should remain the same. Sometimes the source language cannot be directly translated into similar words of the target language. Then the translation should comply with the legal parlance of the target language.

Legal laws and terms: Knowledge of laws of both the target and source is a must. A professional legal translator will decode and translate according to the relevant laws using correct legal terminology and phraseology. Some languages like Spanish are spoken in several different countries so a translator should be aware of what the contract is about and where it will be used. Familiarities with legal laws, culture and sociological variations all have a bearing on the translation of documents.

Confidentiality terms: Security is a concern, and translation services should provide a nondisclosure clause to safeguard the interests of the companies involved.

Time-bound: It is on strict timelines and pressing schedules, so the translation services are obliged to make deliveries in time. Sometimes a late delivery will make the document null and void.

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