Legal Ways to Translate Documents Online

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Translating Legal Documents Online

Given current globalization, the demand for translators has skyrocketed.  Large enterprises that move into foreign countries employ full-time native translators in those places; small-to-mid-size companies and individuals use freelancers or online writing services for their translation needs; authors and film-makers market their books and films in other countries and need script and text translation, voice-overs, and more. 

Most of these translation needs will require natives of the target language and country, so that phrases, idiomatic expressions, syntax, and cultural appropriateness are all honored.

But what if an organization or individual needs translation of legal documents? This is quite another matter.

There are a host of legal documents that require translation, for both business and personal needs. Here is a list of the most common:

  • Incorporation of companies setting up in foreign countries
  • Contracts between companies, organizations, and individuals
  • Marriage, death, birth, and divorce documents
  • Educational records and transcripts
  • Health and inoculation records
  • Tax documents and other financial records which must be filed with the government of a host country

Obviously, for such importance, anyone in need must find the best document translator possible. And, without doing some research, they could make a huge mistake. Don’t let this be you. There are a host of unqualified and uncertified translators and translation services that cannot provide what you need for legal translations.

How to Find the Right Legal Translator/Translation Service

Again, this will require some research if you are to find the best legal translation service. Here are the things to look for, as you consider either an online freelancer or translation service:

  • Does that individual or service possess the certifications and notarization capabilities, so that a foreign court of law or governmental agency will accept them?
  • Will you get a human translator who is fluent in the source language and is an actual native speaker of the target language?
  • Will you get a translator with a legal background so that they use the right legal terminology in the receiving language? And will you get a translator who has experience in the specific documents you need translated?
  • Does the freelancer or service use machine translation minimally? There may be dictionaries within machines that house the correct translation of legal terminology, but a human must complete the actual translation.
  • Is your document highly complex? If so, does the freelancer have colleagues with whom he can collaborate? Does the service offer a team of translators when that may be required?
  • Is confidentiality guaranteed? Many legal documents contain personal information that you do not want “out there.” And, in the case of businesses, there is proprietary information that must not fall into the hands of anyone else. How does the freelancer or service guarantee this?
  • What is the record of the freelancer or service in meeting deadlines? For this, you may have to access professional translation review sites or ask for references that you can actually check.

You Can’t Afford Mistakes with Legal Translations

Establishing a company, a residency, or even studying abroad means that there will be legal documents to be translated accurately and backed by certification and/or notarization. If there are errors in these translations, the consequences can be disastrous. Contracts could be nullified; incorporations could be denied; residency could be held up; enrollment in schools could be denied or delayed; and in some cases, lawsuits can result. Whatever your need for a legal translation might be, do not trust it to amateurs or services that do not meet all of the above-listed criteria. 

Author Bio:

Barbara Fielder is a researcher and writer on all things related to globalization. She contributes to many blogs and forums on topics from the increasing diversity of subpopulations in countries, immigration, and personal and business needs for language proficiency. When not writing, Fielder is an avid proponent and supporter of all things related to environmental concerns.

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