Problems Faced by Legal Translators

Last Updated On: March 16, 2018

inGeneral, Translation Tips

Legal Translators

Legal document translation is part of the professional document translation industry. The translators involved are not only experienced but provide accurate and meaningful translations.

In this era of globalisation with both the movement of goods and people from country to country taking place more frequently than ever before there is a whole plethora of legal documents that need to be translated to accompany the people and products.

Legal documents used by individuals:

  • Job application letters
  • Birth certificates
  • Degree and diploma certificates
  • Employment references
  • Criminal check documentation.

Legal documents for companies include:

  • Financial statements
  • Business contracts
  • Deposition records.

The legal document translator needs to have a good understanding of the types of terminology commonly used when translating legal documents like these.


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It takes more than bilingualism to be a good translator when it comes to legal document translations. Just one slip up with a legal document translation and a company could end up in court or a hopeful immigrant could be turned down for a job in a better country than his or her own.

Legal translations are often required to match specific deadlines whether it’s a court hearing or an immigration requirement, missing a deadline could seriously affect the person concerned. Confidentiality is another important requirement when an important legal document is in the hands of a translator.

Lawyers, when having to deal with international legal situations have to be able to depend on accurate translations which basically mean the legal document translator should have an excellent grasp in the legal field of both the source language and the language that needs a translation.

3 Legal Document Translator Requirements:

A legal translator needs three areas of competency which are typically a thorough understanding of the target language’s writing style, familiarity with the necessary legal terminology, and a reasonable knowledge of the country’s legal system.

Added to these requirements is the translator’s understanding of where the translation will be used. This will have an effect on the syntax, register, terminology and phraseology off the final text.

A good legal document translation requires a lot of dedication and that means the translator should have a good academic background followed up by a number of years of translation practice.

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