5 Tips for Successful Legal Translation

If you are expanding into a new market, you may need to translate your organisation’s legal documents or policies into the local language. Legal documents may include:

  • Litigation documents
  • Contracts and agreements
  • Patents
  • Certificates
  • Client or court emails
  • Compliance policies and procedures
  • Rules and regulations
  • Terms and conditions

Legal or policy translation is a specialised discipline that requires a strong grasp of language pairs, as well as an in-depth understanding of legal terminology. Poorly translated rules and regulations can hurt your company’s corporate branding and affect your market expansion plans. The mistranslation of these documents may cause legal or financial problems. To ensure translation success, here are 5 tips on how to manage your translations.

lagal translation
  1. Objective of translation

Before starting on the translation, be clear who the translated document is for. Clear communication with your language service provider, including details on when and how the translation will be used, will help ensure that the translated document is accurate and relevant to your needs.

If the translated documents are to be used at official business meetings or in court, you may require a certified legal translator who has a clear understanding of the law. For Document of Compliance or company policies meant for internal or customer use whereby basic translation is sufficient to briefly convey key do’s and don’ts, then you may not require a certified legal expert.

  1. Understand the legal system 

To ensure that a document holds up in court, a legal translator must recognise if the document is a contract, an administrative certificate, a judicial decision or statute, and apply the right translation techniques accordingly.

Understanding the target country’s legal system is often overlooked. However, such knowledge is critical in legal translation, especially if the documents are used in litigation. Each country’s legal system includes culturally-dependent concepts that are reflected in the legal language used in contracts and agreements. As law is a state-dependent subject, legal documents that are translated for court must correctly interpret the legal terminology employed in that country.

legal system

3. Glossary and style guide

To ensure consistency across your documents, it is useful to put together a translation glossary and style guide. A glossary helps the translator accurately translate company names, product names or legal terminology, while a style guide describes the desired voice or tone of the translated copy. Without these guides, texts may be translated in different ways across different languages and this may mean more resources being spent on revising translated documents. Besides reducing the length of time required, these guides can reduce the scope of error and potentially reduce translation costs.

4. Editing and proofreading

Translating legal documents is a tedious process and there are usually strict translation deadlines. As legal policies and contracts are usually lengthy documents, consider engaging a certified language services provider who has the expertise in legal translation and who is able to put together a dedicated pool of legal translators to meet your deadlines. Besides the translation itself, you may also request for editing and proof-reading services to maintain consistency across all documents. For best results, factor in sufficient review time to ensure translation quality and accuracy.


5. A certified language partner

If you wish to outsource the translation process, look for a certified language services partner who can provide a complete range of language solutions. Besides translation expertise, you will need proof-readers and project managers who can deftly manage the legal translation process for you. Ensure that your language partner has familiarity with the area of practice that applies to your work. For your reference, translation fees usually take the following into consideration:

  • Language pairs
  • Objective of document
  • Length of text to be translated
  • Presence of technical terms
  • Timeline

At elionetwork, our translators are law-trained and certified, and have educational and professional backgrounds in the legal field. As a certified legal translation company, we provide a 2-step quality assurance process that ensures that all legal translations are checked twice before they are delivered to you. This ensures that the translations you receive are true and accurate representations of the source content.

A certified language partner

To find out more about the process and requirements of legal translation, reach out to us as early as possible so that we can build a custom workflow for your project. elionetwork’s certified translation services will provide the highest level of quality and performance in translation, as well as an exemplary degree of accuracy.