Settling a dispute outside of the courtroom in a way that’s fair and satisfying for both parties can be a challenge — and that’s when both parties speak the same language. Add in a language divide, and things can get very complicated.

Language barriers introduce new challenges in the road to conflict resolution. You need to address these issues carefully with the help of a global language agency like LingArch Translation if you expect to resolve your conflict successfully.

When it comes to multilingual global disputes, LingArch certified legal translation services make sure both parties are understood.

Why is Legal Translation Important in Arbitration?

Arbitration involves submitting a dispute between two parties to one or more arbitrators. These arbitrators review contracts, patents, and other legal documents before making a binding decision regarding the dispute.

If an arbitrator can’t read the language of these documents, a legal translation company must transpose written evidence into the operating language of the tribunal. This company may also interpret and transcribe a witness who gives evidence in another language.

Legal document translation services may be required, even in dual language or bilingual arbitration. More than one language adds layers to global disputes, further highlighting the need for certified translation services.

After all, the quality and benefits of certified legal document translation is paramount to an arbitrator’s understanding of the dispute. Certified language translation services authenticate these translations, ensuring the transposed work is a faithful representation of the original.

What Can Happen with a Bad Translation?

If caught early, an error simply costs time and money. While these inefficiencies could be damaging, they at least give the offending party a chance to withdraw and correct any errors or typos.

Lingering errors, on the other hand, have broader implications for the settlement.

Depending on the nature of these errors, they could significantly hamper the arbitrator’s ability to weigh the evidence and settle the dispute. They could even unfairly skew the proceedings towards one outcome.

Perhaps the most infamous example of badly translated text in arbitration law is the Occidental Petroleum Corporation vs Ecuador case, one of the largest state-investor disputes in history.

In this case, the tribunal ruled against Ecuador. However, a poor Spanish to English legal translation services made the resolution go from bad to worse for the South American country.

Spanish to English translation errors caused the tribunal to increase the damages Ecuador had to pay by 40%, costing more than $1.77 billion.

Although this Spanish to English translation issue was eventually acknowledged — and the award reduced to $1 billion — these errors resulted in costly annulment proceedings.

Considerations When Translating for International Arbitration

With the right legal translation company on the case, you can avoid expensive delays and errors.

Here are some things you should consider carefully before partnering with a legal translation services provider.

Language Proficiency

Selecting the right translator is a crucial way to prevent errors. Here at LingArch, our translators are native speakers of more than 120 languages. We select teams and project managers to ensure they’re fluent in the specific dialect you need.

Why do we specify dialects? To return to Spanish to English translation as an example, Mexico alone has 350 dialects. In Spain, there are 10, and Ecuador has three main dialects. These Spanish dialects can result in a broad range of linguistic differences, and your legal translator must account for them to be successful.

You also need to consider their proficiency in the written language used in important documents.

Let’s turn to Chinese to English translation as another example. Traditional Chinese may be more popular in Hong Kong, while mainland China relies on simplified Chinese. Simplified and traditional Chinese differ greatly, which can cause problems if the wrong translator is assigned to the job.

Choosing a legal translator who’s proficient and experienced in your specific dialect and written language will decrease the chances of creating an error. Their understanding of the dialect must go beyond words, especially if you need legal translation services to interpret and transcribe statements and testimonies.

legal translator looking at laptopCredit: Kampus Production via Pexels

Legal Experience

Fluency in a language may not be enough to help in global dispute resolution. Legal language (or legalese) is very different from the common language spoken everyday, so your translator needs to have legal experience.

Here at LingArch, our legal translators have a degree in the field of legal translation and at least eight years of experience in translating legal documents. We also routinely test our translators to ensure they generate accurate work.

More still, we choose our legal translators by location. Choosing a legal translator with extensive knowledge and the required training in the local legal systems at play is crucial. They can accommodate the differences in how each location deals with civil law.


Further specialisation beyond arbitration law may be helpful. As a global translation company, we’ve worked with various practices that need legal translation services. As a result, we employ legal translators experienced in handling disputes within the following industries.

Evidence Discovery

In some dispute resolution cases, you may need to include a legal translation company at the discovery phase. While physical evidence makes up a large part of these documents, electronic data is becoming more popular.

You may have to go through emails, videos, and slide decks as part of this discovery phase, in addition to typical paper documents and testimonials.

Some cases won’t require you to translate everything. But in those situations where you need to go through every possible file with a fine-toothed comb, our machine translation services may help you go through this data quickly on a budget. We employ sophisticated machine translation software to help sift through data faster than a human translator.


In some arbitration cases, certified services may be a procedural requirement.  Certified translation services provide a higher level of standards. It assures the legal translator has the appropriate qualifications, and it ensures their translations meet regulatory requirements.

In some cases, official document translation services may also provide notarised legal translations where necessary.

Speed vs Accuracy

Although speed should be a priority, it should never sacrifice quality.

At LingArch, we increase the number of legal translators put on your project rather than put pressure on a small team of linguists to offer fast translation services. In many cases, we can cut down on our time by 50% without sacrificing accuracy.

Let LingArch Help You Arrive at the Right Settlement

When it comes to global disputes, language is at the centre of any resolution, and you can’t get very far if a translation error leads to misinterpretation of evidence.

Don’t let minor errors twist this language against a fair settlement.

If your industry isn’t listed above, please reach out to us today. LingArch has extensive experience working on a wide array of arbitration matters related to the ICSID, ICC, LCIA, SIAC, and SCC. Together, we’ll ensure your document translation, interpretation, and transcription is accurate.