Legal Translation Services
Everything you need to know about legal translation services! You'll find comprehensive info on legal document translation and related services our company provides on this page.
For important legal documents
International business and other cross-border activities are proliferating enormously. The possibilities - leveraged by technology - seem limited only by imagination.
But enterprises operating globally come with a big challenge. They're founded on legal documents accepted by the national and local legal authorities of the countries they operate in. And if problems arise, such as disputes between partners of different nationalities, additional legal documents must be prepared and translated into one or even several different languages. The accuracy and appropriateness of the language used - and the degree to which it dovetails with the target country's legal language and system - can mean the difference between international collaborations that run smoothly and those that hit potentially disastrous roadblocks.
Each country's legal authorities - whether they be courts, registry offices, ministries, or executive agencies and departments - operate under their own widely varying and time-honored laws, rules, and procedures that aren't flexible or forgiving of errors. They're either followed, or they're not - and running afoul of them can lead to serious setbacks for a business trying to establish itself, create a partnership, or resolve a problem. And this "right or wrong" standard definitely applies to the quality of document translation.
In the US, the Federal Rule of Evidence No. 604 says, for instance, that if a witness requires an interpreter, the interpreter must be qualified and take an oath to do a true translation. On the other hand, state courts usually compile a list of trusted resources when it comes to translation and interpretation. The New York Court System is one of the states that implement frequent examinations to prospective translators. Only the translators who pass this multiple-exam process are added to the list of "translators approved by the New York Court System."
Examples of cross-border activities requiring Legal Translations
These are some of the common international ventures that require translated legal documents:
- Starting a business
- Creating partnerships between companies
- Contracts of sale and purchase of products and services
- Hiring foreign professionals
- Relocating employees across borders
- Initiating or responding to lawsuits filed in foreign courts
- Filing cases in international courts based in New York and the UK
- Translating evidence collected for cases
- Finalizing international business deals
- Buying land and regulating land use
- Applying for business activities in other countries
- Constructing production facilities and other buildings infrastructure in foreign countries
Real-Life Examples In Which Legal Document Translations Play A Key Role
- A U.S. law firm defending a U.S. aircraft manufacturer against claims for the wrongful death of U.S. and non-U.S. citizens related to an aircraft crashing outside the U.S. Both the non-U.S. and U.S. citizens could hire U.S. law firms to conduct their cases. Depending on the crash site, there could be any number of languages used in witness statements, accident investigations, medical documents, etc. - all of which, including material from non-U.S. plaintiffs - would need English translations customized for the American legal/court system.
- A contract between parties for business in a foreign country would need to be translated into that country's language. A party to the contract who didn't speak the language would need to ensure she understood all the language, its legal ramifications in the target country, and that provisions she negotiated were translated accurately. Dealing with a contract dispute is a terrible time to learn you had a faulty understanding of its language or ramifications when you signed it.
- A startup company in the U.S. setting up a subsidiary in Mexico would need to have its by-laws translated into Spanish so local attorneys could submit both the translated versions along with the apostille to the registration authorities. Other documents may need translation, such as contracts between the US HQ and local parties and personal documents for the US management team relocating to Mexico.
Hidden Costs of "Cheap" Legal Translations
Your venture's long-term success overseas is founded on legal documents that have been translated accurately and comply with the norms of a country's legal system and culture. Even "small" errors like typos can lead to misinterpretation and call the credibility of you and your company into question. And it gets worse from there - misspellings, poor or flat-out wrong word choices, clumsy or unintelligible text passages, and wording that shows seeming disregard for a country's language or legal system norms.
In a civil dispute where the facts take center stage, a translator's terminology can place facts in a softer or harsher light from a judge's perspective with potentially significant impacts on the case. Highly-skilled legal translators use their sophisticated knowledge and understanding to assess the range of possible translations' risks and rewards to identify the one best suited for the context. Expert-level translation skills take years, if not decades, to hone, and even with that, it takes time to craft legal translations carefully. That’s why high-quality translations will never be possible at a "lowest bid" level.
Risks brought by poor-quality legal translation
- Another party challenges an issue in a translated document - and only then do you realize your translated document is of poor quality. A judge orders a new, better translation you have to pay for - often along with rush fees.
- Court or agency penalties and fines
- Judges and other legal professionals viewing you and your case negatively
- Increased costs for attorneys and other professionals
- Document sections being dismissed by judges (such as one complaint in a lawsuit), weakening the case.
- Delays in proceeding with or finalizing needed action - resulting in possible lost opportunities
- Loss of confidence by partners, courts, and agencies that could stack the deck against you
- Interpretation of contract wording that disfavors you
- Mischaracterization of facts
- Loss of reputation, compromising your business's success
When It Goes Wrong…
A major infrastructure building company recently made us their go-to translator after purchasing botched translations of contracts and other legal documents from vendors outside the US. Despite promises that the translations would be high-quality, they turned out to be so poor they were unusable. When the client brought them to us, we had to re-do them all from scratch.
Paying for two sets of translations was the least of the company's problems. The delays the missing translation documents caused were serious enough to compromise the company's ability to bid for a large project and even risked the jobs of the employees who hired the translation company.
The Quality of Our Translations Speaks For Itself
Our experience, standards, and credentials mean you can trust The Translation Company for impeccable-quality translations of your legal documents.
- The Translation Company is accredited by the American Translation Association - one of the translation industry's most respected and recognized credentials.
- Every TTC translator is certified in translation by a qualified institution (university or translation association). Many are also officially approved by the court systems of specific jurisdictions.
- All TTC legal translators meet our rigorous standards:
- Native speaker of the target language and extensive linguistic training and background in the source language
- Grounded in the legal systems and terminology of the source and target language countries. For example, the source country may use the Civil Law system, and the target country may use the profoundly Common Law System, and a principle in one may have no analog in the other. Our translators' wealth of experience in law study and practice means they can bridge gaps like this accurately and effectively.
- Each translator must be a native speaker of the target language and have extensive formal education and/or professional experience in the law.
- Tested for proficiency in: Knowledge of legal terminology, proper writing style and tone, and law basics; Fluency in source and target languages, including reading comprehension and writing proficiency; Excellent performance as reported by clients and translation industry representatives
Each translation job is assigned a project manager to oversee it from start to finish - ensuring all quality standards are met:
- Translated documents are reviewed and approved by a certified legal translator and linguistics expert who is a native speaker of the target language and has trained extensively to handle complex jobs.
- All certified translations include a statement of accuracy and faithfulness to the original document.
- Quality control by the translator and TTC as per ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 standards
- TTC guarantees acceptance of its translations in any U.S. court
Some of the law specialties that we cover
We have access to legal experts in many specialty areas of law, such as:
For a wide variety of documents
Hundreds of legal documents translated by our document every month, such as:
Added Levels of Legal Value for your Translated Legal Documents
A legal professional can guide you on whether you might need additional quality assurance measures for your translated documents, including certified translations, notarization, county clerk verification, and apostille verification.
Certified Translations. For documents likely to be used in court, TTC can provide a certification that a translation is faithful to the original and was prepared by professional translators under a professional translation company's auspices. If subpoenaed, a TTC rep will also appear in court to provide a sworn attestation of the certification.
Notarization. Sometimes attorneys feel that notarization of TTC's certification adds another element of trust to reassure a court. Notarization is also required for an apostille, required for translated documents to be accepted in some countries.
County Clerk. County clerks verify the signatures of notary publics who signed and confirmed the authenticity of TTC's statements. The country clerk will sign along with the notary public’s signature and attach their seal to the document.
Apostille. Apostille is a protocol needed for a document to be considered “nationalized” in the target country. In the U.S., the State Department issues apostilles for translated documents that have been certified and notarized. Learn more about apostilles here.
TTC can handle the entire process for any of these extra steps for your legal translation project.
Types of Clients Served
In all, our client base represents the entire gamut of entities involved in legal proceedings: law firms, government agencies, courts of law, and corporations from all over the world.
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Whether you need a legal Spanish translation or any of our 200+ languages translated, we guarantee the acceptance of our translated documents in any US court. Services provided for all main languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, etc. Check our more than 200 languages available.