Legal Translation Involves the Task of Translating Legal Documents

(Last Updated On: February 16, 2015)

Legal Translation

Legal translation involves the task of translating legal documents and court testimony from one language to another. Types of documents that may need translating include death and birth certificates, marriage licenses and other types of documents. Legal translation is required in cases where court testimony needs to be translated from one language to another.

Translators must have command and knowledge of the source languages and target languages, as well as understand the law and legal systems in the source and target languages. Most countries have strict requirements for those practicing this type of translations, as it require the utmost in precision and accuracy. Translation mistakes can have serious legal and financial consequences.

Legal Translation Services require more of the translator than simply the skill of translating a language. The translator must be aware of the cultural influences along with the legal meanings of the material being translated. This is a challenge, as legal terminology is multifaceted and requires that the translator understand the various legal meanings of the documents being translated.  Words and phrases that may translate well for other purposes may require further attention due to the legal nature and cultural meanings of the words.

Legal Translators will thoroughly review the text to be translated prior to beginning any translation of the documents.  Notes as well as the research necessary to translate the document should be completed properly, before the actual translation begins. The translator should consider the legal as well as the everyday meaning of the text being translated. The actual translation can begin after these preparations have been completed.

An interpreter translates testimony given in court during the court proceeding. An interpreter quickly and correctly translates the source language to the target language where it is recorded by the court reporter. The translator can then refer back to the court record to check the accuracy of the interpretation as well as provide clarity for the translation.

Choosing a career as a legal translator will require that you receive a degree in language education as well as be certified as a legal translator. There are programs specifically designed to train people as legal translators. Legal translators need to have considerable knowledge in both the language they are going to translate as well as the law of the language being translated.  Seasoned translators, those in law firms, and people who work with the court may be able to provide helpful information regarding certain aspects of the legal translation profession.