Is it Crucial to Translate Legal Documents?

Last Updated On: June 19, 2017

inTranslation Tips

Translate Legal DocumentsThe simple answer to this question is that it is absolutely crucial to translate any legal documents that you need to send to colleagues or clients elsewhere, assuming of course that the recipients are not native English speakers.

Most businesses that regularly work with overseas clients or with sections of their own business that are based in another country regularly use certified translation services that are equipped with the resources to translate what can be quite complex and delicate legal documents. Most certified translation services of this type in Australia will be NAATI accredited (NAATI is the official Australian translation and interpretation accreditation authority) and should be able to demonstrate that they have the required legal background to cope adequately with the documents to be translated.


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    A common misconception amongst businesses in the English speaking world that are expanding overseas for the first time is that legal language is uniform and that English is used for legal documents world-wide. This is certainly not the case and in fact, most countries operate their own legal system and have quite different laws with their own unique terminology, although many countries do share similarities as well.

    Choosing not to translate legal documents is going to at least slow transactions down because the task will then basically be taken up by the recipients of the documents. In some situations a failure to use appropriate translation services in Australia or elsewhere will result in missed business opportunities or a failure to secure vital agreements and contracts.

    In contrast, a wise choice of legal document translation services will be highly appreciated by the lawyers or other clientele you are dealing with overseas. You will certainly need to be careful about who does the translation and not leave it to bilingual members of your own staff or generalist translation service providers. The translation must be done by human translators even if they use sophisticated translation software to speed up part of the documents they are require to translate. Only a few translation service providers are really equipped with the legal knowledge of both the original legal context as well as the target context, language and cultural differences.

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