by Maria Rotger


Legal Documents Translation

SIGNEWORDS legal documents translation service helps to bridge the language barriers that inevitably arise between professionals from different parts of the world.

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Legal documents translation service

One of the most prominent SIGNEWORDS subject areas is legal document translation.

When a field as technical and complicated as law enters the international arena, the need to incorporate legal translations appears.

We find ourselves before a legal document translation or a specialized legal language translation.

In this article, we will clear up some common misconceptions regarding these different types of legal translations, and we will check out how professional translation services can help you in various situations, especially if you own an international business or a lawyer with clients from other countries.

Legal document translation services breakdown

Check out the following terms:

  • legal
  • certified
  • notarized
  • sworn
  • legalized

They are sometimes used interchangeably when referring to a legal translation type, but doing so can lead to serious miscommunication because they are certainly not the same.

Referring to official translations, you need one or the other depending on the following considerations:

  • type of document you need to translate
  • purpose of the document
  • requirements of the organization you’re submitting that document to

The term «legal translation» indicates that a particular report is of a legal or judicial nature.

This fact does not imply that the translated document has any certification that makes it «official» for governmental purposes.

It does, however, mean that a qualified translator with knowledge and qualifications in the legal field has translated the document.

Many legal translators are bar lawyers or other professionals in the sector who use their expertise to dive into the field of legal translation.

Legal documents translation or how to translate technical legal language

Since legal translation involves highly professional writing, the specialized translator must be thoroughly familiar with legal terminology in both the source and target languages to ensure that the resulting legal translation is accurate and compliant with legal requirements.

This type of translation is the one you will seek when you need to have a legal document translated for personal or professional informational purposes.

For instance, your legal translator might have to translate documents, such as your real estate and house insurance documentation, to ensure that you understand the conditions.

In this case, an additional certification is not necessary because, after translating the documents, you don’t have to submit them to a particular entity.

Academic translations

Legal translations or sworn translations

Sometimes, however, an organization will require that we take additional steps to submit an official translation, either:

  • sworn,
  • notarized,
  • certified
  • o legalized

A signed certificate accompanies a sworn translation, confirming the credentials for the sworn translator and declaring that the document’s content is complete and accurate.

Documents that sometimes require a sworn translator are:

  • court transcripts
  • birth, marriage, and decease certificates
  • educational documentation
  • certain immigration documents

However, this decision depends on the office receiving that legal documentation.

Notarized translations can be completed by a professional translator

  1. That professional native translator must sign the translation before a notary, thus confirming that that translation is accurate and complete. The notary verifies that person’s identity.
  2. Therefore, notarized translations don’t make any statement regarding the translator’s credentials.
  3. After translating educational documents, such as transcripts and diplomas, sometimes it’s required that a notary certifies the professional translation.

In some cases, those documents need to be legalized or apostilled

This need appears especially when we’ll use them abroad.

For example, validating a university title in a foreign country might require a legalized translation of your diploma.

The foreign ministry or legalization office in your country will stamp the professional translation when the specialized translator signs the translation before a public official, thus legalizing the translated document.

Gastronomic translation

Only credentialed translators can complete sworn translations

Depending on the country’s requirements, these professional translators must first complete a specific university degree or pass a government-regulated exam before being sworn in.

These translators can stamp their professional translations, proving their credentials as sworn translators.

For example, patents or certain documents required to incorporate a company sometimes need this type of sworn translation.

Make sure to verify the type of legal translation required when hiring a professional translation company.

No matter what a specific situation calls for, a translation team like SIGNEWORDS can provide the legal translation you need.

What types of documents require legal translation?

For the non-professionals in this area, sometimes the word «legal» immediately brings images of lawyers with suits and briefcases dramatically appearing before a judge in court.

And certainly, this sort of work environment indeed relies heavily on legal translation.

A lawyer may have a client who is in the process of receiving an inheritance from a recently deceased uncle who had his will written in a foreign language, for example, and they may need to translate it to complete the judicial process for the inheritance.

Another lawyer may also be handling a criminal court case in which one of the witnesses needs to testify in a foreign language, requiring that they translate the transcribed conversation.

Or a law firm might be mediating a legal dispute between two multinational companies that have had previous agreements drafted in various languages, making it necessary for that documentation to be translated by a team of translators like SIGNEWORDS.

Translate administrative documentation

But this is only one part of the big picture.

Drama aside, the legal world also implies the need to translate administrative documents that we all need in our routines, even if we have absolutely no involvement in a court case.

Let’s say you are an English teacher planning on moving to Spain for work.

Of course, you might need to translate to Spanish several documents, to register them in various government offices administratively:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • personal ID
  • passport, etc.
  • Also, you might need to legalize (apostille) and translate a university degree to have it validated in Spain and be able to find work.
  • Moreover, to find housing, you might have to translate a bank reference letter to prove your current financial standing.
  • Once you decide to buy a house, you might also choose to translate real estate documentation and also translate your home insurance so that you can fully understand the conditions you agree to without having to struggle with legal terminology in a foreign language.

To fulfill a legal translation with a seasoned translator—we've got you covered.