legal translation services

The Lawyer And Certified Translations

(Last Updated On: October 24, 2022)

Legal Document Translation  

When you need legal document translations, you may be tempted to go to Google Translate or another online translator.

Don’t do it! For accuracy and reliability, nothing beats certified translations from an attorney or a lawyer.

However, in the legal world, the process of hiring and using these professionals comes with both advantages and disadvantages, some of which may not be clear at first glance.

This article will walk you through the pros and cons of using lawyers and certified translators so that you can make an informed decision about your next translation project.

What is a certified translation?

A certified translation is a written translation that has been certified or stamped by a government agency, notary public, or other official translators.

A person who practices the work of translating text from one language to another can be called a translator or interpreter, depending on the type of text and whether interpretation (spoken translation) is involved.

There are two types of official translators: professional translators and auxiliary translators.

The translator should have formal requirements such as experience and certification, education requirements like degrees or professional licenses, and application fees which may vary depending on the agency or company you’re applying to work for.

This is may involve offering services such as legal document translations (e.g., death certificates), birth certificates, official documents, etc., as well as other types of document translations like agreements, contracts, etc.

legal translation certification

The Challenges of Certified Translation

Often, legal texts can be complicated and therefore difficult to translate. This is due to the linguistic complexity that arises from their translation across different cultural contexts.

Accuracy is essential to translation because in certain cases, a certified translation’s quality can be used as evidence in a court of law.

There are many challenges when translating legal texts and it is paramount for translators to master not only the source language but also the target language in order to provide accurate translations with intent, meaning, structure and tone retained.

A lack of knowledge in the field may result in unintentionally negative consequences for a translator or client. For this reason, we recommend hiring qualified professional legal translators who have studied law.

translate legal documents

Who Is a Legal Translator?

Legal translators are not just translators but people who have had legal experience (that have studied law and are called lawyers and attorneys) and have gone through the process of certification.

Foreign language legal documents do not translate literally, so a translator may miss subtle meanings. That is why people who are certified and have studied law are required to handle these types of legal translations.

They have seen them before and can understand them better than someone without a legal background.

Although not all attorneys offer translation services, it is important to find an attorney who speaks the language you need to be translated.

Be sure to get this information in advance because many certified translators charge per page of a document, and the cost can become exorbitant if your documents are lengthy.

Attorneys also handle the notarization process for foreign-language documents, which can save you money if you don’t have access to a translator or a notary public.

When hiring an attorney, make sure that they have experience in the area that you need help with. Always check their reviews and ask around before signing any contract.

Advantages of Working with Lawyers for Certified Translations

Translation agencies and translation services will always provide a large range of translations for the client, but what about certified translations? A lawyer can be of great help when it comes to certified translations.

  • Legal translation services are more accustomed to working with translators, who are experts in their fields.
  • They will often have an office that you can use as a meeting place and give you the privacy that translators need to produce accurate work.
  • Lawyers work with government officials on international dealings, so they are often well-informed when it comes to dealing with foreign countries.
  • Working with a lawyer will guarantee that all documents are legible in both languages by having them translated by certified translators who follow strict guidelines and who specialize in meeting the needs of clients.
  • These legal translations will not just translate words; they will take care of cultural references as well. In other words, these certified translators know how to deal with complex texts like contracts. With this type of support, your documents will never look any different than they did before being translated from one language into another.
translation of legal documents
translation services for legal documents

Disadvantages of Hiring an Attorney For Certified Translations

1. Higher Price

The other disadvantage is the added legal fees for hiring an attorney for certified official translations.

One thing to consider about lawyers is that their job is to do everything for you, and for the most part this includes consulting with qualified translators.

Lawyers may have translators on staff or may even provide these services as a secondary aspect of their business (such as LegalZoom).

But one thing to be mindful of with this approach is that when it comes to specialized matters such as patent work, it’s always better if your lawyer can recommend a certified translator who specializes in the field.

So while it might not be easy to find certified translators through classifieds like on Craigslist, there are other avenues that you can explore including certification by translators themselves.

2. Poor Communication

When hiring an attorney to translate your document, you are at risk of miscommunication due to the high potential for them to misinterpret what you’re trying to say.

Communication is key when it comes to translation and having an expert who is also fluent in your native language can make all the difference.


What counts as a certified translation?

A certified translation is a document that has been checked and proofread by a qualified translator. It ensures that the meaning of the text being translated is true to the original text in both languages.

What professions can certify documents?

Professionals who can certify documents are public notaries, legal translators, and notary publics.

What makes a good legal translator?

A good legal translator must have a strong understanding of the law, good written and oral communication skills, be highly organized, and have a keen eye for detail.

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