Overview of legal translation 


The demand for legal translation services has increased over the years for a number of reasons. Business entities have adopted the approach to go global and focus on expansion in order to maximize their revenue streams as well as serve their clients by providing excellent client support services.  Whether its market entry or acquisition of any local venture, there is a mounting need to translate legal documents into the local language of the host country.

 For instance, any company looking to operate in the Middle East has to translate company registration and set up documents in both English and Arabic. Similarly, if any organization is involved in a global dispute which involves a number of legal documents to be translated and filed in local courts, there will be significant requirements to translate those legal documents in an accurate manner.

For all these reasons, it is crucial to hire a professional translation agency that has experience and right expertise to translate legal documents. It’s their key responsibility to include only those linguists that are native speakers of the target language and have extensive experience translating legal documents. 

Qualifications required for providing legal translation services

As mentioned above, legal translations play a crucial rule in whatever capacity they are used. Whether you are using these translations in court proceedings or if these are used during any deal/transaction, it is essential that the translations are completed by someone with legal background and with significant experience in the field of translating legal documents. 

Below are some of the key qualifications required for providing legal translation services:

  • Must be native speaker of the target language
  • Must be able to provide proof of educational background and experience through a college degree.
  • Must be able to document legal translation experience as the area of specialization. 
  • Must demonstrate understanding of current target country laws and regulations followed within that jurisdiction. 

As a standard practice, translators aiming to specialize in providing legal translation services have to develop understanding about the legal system of the source and target languages. With this understanding, legal translators are able to understand source documents clearly without any misinterpretation. Without any understanding of the relevant legal system, it is most likely that the translator won’t be able to fully understand the context of a document and is likely to make errors in the translation. 

That being said, experienced legal translators tend to develop and maintain a dictionary of legal terminologies in both source and target language so that they continue polishing their skills throughout their career. 

Apart from knowledge and understanding of the legal system, the most important element for a legal translator is experience and that mainly comes from years of practice working on a variety of translation related projects.

Like any other profession, practice is enormously required and with legal translators, this is something that they have to constantly carry out throughout their professional career. Not only this assists them in producing decent quality but also help them translate documents on quick turnaround basis which is a common requirement. 

Type of training required to become a legal translator

Type of training required to become a legal translator

There is no specific qualification that is required to become a legal translator however there are various routes that can be taken in order to specialize in legal translations. The first and foremost is to be fluent in at least two languages and have a deep understanding of both languages including grammar and legal terminologies. 

In some countries, legal translators have to be certified or sworn translators. This applies to some of the European and Middle Eastern countries where legal translators have to take an oath in the courts in order to swear to certify their translations. For instance, in the UAE, any legal documents filed in the UAE courts have to be in Arabic and should be translated by a UAE Ministry of Justice (MOJ) certified translator

To conclude, becoming a legal translator requires thorough understanding of the legal system of the source and target language. Although there is no shortcut to success, the best way to master the tricks of the trade is to practice translating a variety of different types of legal documents so that skills can be improved over time. 

Providing legal translation services can be lucrative as some of the most experienced legal translators are often tied up working on huge legal matters that require translation of large number of documents. At the same time, the job can be equally stressful as majority of the times documents are required to be translated on extremely tight deadlines. 

In case you are looking for a reliable provider of legal translation services, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements.