Small Business Brief

Attorneys & Legal

7 Super Helpful Legal Document Translation Tips

Legal documents tend to have very complicated language. If one is not familiar with the very specific terminology of the law, it can be hard to read important contracts, agreements, and other such legal documents. 

However, failing to properly understand the ins and outs of these documents could be a huge liability. There’s nothing more binding than signing legal paperwork, and it is essential that you take the time to understand what you are signing. This problem only becomes more difficult when the paperwork is in a different language than your own. 

That’s why legal document translation is such an important resource. Whether you’re tackling it yourself or looking for help, read on. We’ll walk you through the important facts you need to know. 

1. Allow Enough Time

People sometimes think translation is a quick process. Often, it’s anything but. When planning for a legal document to be translated, it is essential you leave enough time for a good job to be done.

Often, a translator will need two or even three times the amount the initial writer needed in order to translate a document. Legal language is very precise, intended to cover all sorts of loopholes and provide exact clarity.

Ensuring this clarity remains through translation is a very difficult task. The last thing you want to do is rush a translator and receive a document that isn’t as clear as it should be. 

Some languages even have words in a different order than other languages. This can take an extra amount of time to properly translate. 

2. Avoid Machine Technology

When it comes to legal document translation, computers have not yet overcome mankind. Machine translation IS a rapidly expanding field, but the results have simply not been consistent enough. 

If you’ve tried to use a free online translator like Google Language you probably have a sense of how poor the results can be. When you have a machine do your translations, you have no sense of knowing how accurate the results will be.

It’s much better to work with a human translator, who can double and triple-check their own work for you. 

3. Be Aware Of Dialects

Many languages have a number of different dialects. These dialects might have entirely different character sets depending on what language you are translating into. 

It is absolutely essential you ensure you are translating not only into the right language, but the proper dialect. Failure to do so can create a legal document with a different meaning than you intend, or one that is total gibberish to the reader. 

The audience does matter in language. A professional translator can help ensure you are using the right dialect for your intended audience. This can help ensure clarity and keep you professional in the eyes of the other party.

Legal Document Translation

There are a lot of elements to keep in mind when approaching legal document translation. The above are just some of the most important. 

Need more help with legal documents? Check out our small business page for more advice.