Legal translation is an important part of our work. We are specialist legal translators, and work with assignments which vary significantly in size and complexity. Legal translation is quite different to other areas of translation. It is all about extracting the literal meaning of the source text. This can often be to the exclusion of readability. This is quite different to a marketing text, for instance. With marketing we aim to give the best rendering of the concept or idea in the target language.
Types of legal translation work we undertake include:
Translating court documents
We translate a wide variety of court documents including witness statements and other evidence.
Recorded evidence such as police interviews
Where evidence is on audio, we first need to transcribe it, unless you have a transcribed copy. The challenge for our legal translators with this type of text, is to correctly render the original. For example, how do we treat grammatical mistakes?
In many areas of translation it is our explicit job to correct grammatical errors in the source text. However, with this type of text we have to faithfully render the original testimony. So if the recording includes things like repetition, stuttering, or poor grammar, we will reflect this in the translation.
You may need us to produce a bilingual copy of a contract. We can produce this clause by clause, with the two languages side by side. The job of the translator is to faithfully reflect the original. A translation can be extremely helpful in understanding a contract written in another language. However, it is always important to remember that legal systems vary. Legal concepts are not identical country to country. A translation is not a substitute for specialist legal advice.
Official Document Translations:
These include documents such as:
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- exam certificates
- bank statements
- insurance forms
We can stamp and sign translations on our headed paper, or swear them in front of notary. Please note that requirements for “certified translation” vary country to country, and between official bodies within individual countries. It is therefore really important to ascertain any specific requirements.
Our translations our accepted in many jurisdictions. However we don’t want you to have to pay twice because of some missing requirement.
Please note that when we translate a certificate of any kind, we are not authenticating it. We are simply providing an accurate translation of your text. It is extremely important that we receive the full document. Make sure you include any stamps or seals. Also include all footers and any writing on the back. An incomplete document may void the translation. This could result in the official receiving body rejecting the original document.
We will mark any illegible text as such, also we cannot change the wording in any way. This means that we won’t correct even an obvious typo, (Smiht for Smith for example). We have to reflect the typo on the translation. We may add a translator’s note as explanation.
Your foreign language certificate may include a name which transliterates with several possible spellings. Please give us your preferred spelling when you order, if this is the case.
Translating business legal documents
Our legal translators work with business documents such as:
- articles and memorandum of association
- business contracts
- terms and conditions of business
- website legal notices
We will translate the source text which you supply. We take responsibility for correct and accurate translation of the source document. However, you can’t normally rely on a translation for legal purposes in another country. In case of dispute, the original text will have legal force.
For example, imagine we translate your English terms and conditions of business for use on a website. If you have prepared them using UK law, a translation is really a “concession” to your reader. You, or they are unlikely to be able to be rely on it in an overseas court. This is a complex area of law, requiring specialist legal advice.
Patents are a specific highly specialist area of translation. Our translators need both technical knowledge and specialist legal terminology. Depending on the complexity of the patent, we may need to use translators with more than one specialism. Costs may be higher than for standard translations. Receiving the correct brief for a patent translation is also really important. For example, is the translation supporting an application? Or are you opposing an application? This may affect how we undertake the work. If supporting an application, our brief is likely to be to produce a very high quality representation of the original. On the other hand, tell us if you are opposing the application. You may want us to expose every possible minor error or ambiguity of the source text.
Translation of brand names, trademarks, and copywrited material:
The normal convention is that we don’t normally translate brand names. Some brands have official translations in certain languages. You should supply these as part of a glossary of terminology if required.
The general rule with trademarks is that we will follow the source text. If the source text includes a marked trademark, we won’t translate it within the target language text. This can cause problems if the trademark is descriptive. This is because a reader of the target language won’t necessarily understand the description. One option is for us to include the trademarked phrase, and to provide a translation in brackets alongside.
If you order a translation which includes a brand name, trademark or copywrited material, you undertake that they have the right to use the material. You also bear the legal responsibility for its use, in accordance with our terms and conditions of business.
Legal translators Better Languages:
This is a brief overview and introduction to a complex subject. Talk to our legal translators, or more information can be found on our legal translation page. Legal translation assignments vary significantly in scope and scale. Therefore you won’t find online quote forms on our site. This is simply because translation needs vary significantly from one job to another. We are happy to discuss your legal translation needs, so please give us a call on 0115 9788980, or use our contact form to get in touch.