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Legal translations are amongst the toughest types of translations out there.

By legal translations, we mean purchase contracts, distribution agreements, lawsuits, notarial deeds, birth certificates, etc.


For this type of translation, the translator not only needs to know how to translate from one language to another, but also how to translate from one legal system to another. It’s really important to have a strong command of both languages, but you also need to know both legal systems well to be able to correctly understand and convey meaning.

The legal terminology is based on the specific national legislation of each country. The history of each country has a direct impact on its laws. That means that it’s sometimes a challenge to precisely translate documents from one language to another, because there are expressions that might not have an exact equivalent in the target language, and a literal translation might not make sense.

As Edgardo Rotman (Librarian of International Law in the Faculty of Law of the University Miami, where he also teaches international legal investigations, international law, penitentiary law and post-conviction aid and comparative penal law) put it: “Although legal translation requires precision and accuracy, it will be necessary to use abstracts, with meanings that result from different, changing cultural and social contexts. These contexts create a certain level of ambiguity. That increases when the cultures and legal systems are very different from one another. ”


The level of knowledge required means that it’s very important that legal translations are done by lawyers or specialists in law that are native speakers of the target language.

They need to be translators that are capable of understanding and communicating all the technicalities that appear in the original text to ensure that there are no legal misunderstandings.

As part of our translation process for this kind of document, in most language combinations we work with lawyer-linguists who do a final revision of each text before it’s delivered to the client. The Lawyer Coordinator of the legal department at Original BUFF SA, E. Prió commented that “I really value the accuracy of the legal translations that we send to LocalizationLab, and the fact that they are translated or reviewed by a lawyer”.

When it comes to this kind of translation, a balance has to be achieved between accuracy and speed. Precise legal translations need to be delivered within the shortest time frames possible. M. Rodriguez, from the firm Rodríguez & Ferrer Abogados y Asesores Asociados, highlights that “what I most value when it comes to these legal translations is the speed with which they are completed.”

2012 NewTimes points out that “if there are contracts that need to be signed, the most important thing is speed and price. On the other hand, the accuracy of your legal translations is also important.”

Therefore, when it comes to legal translations the biggest challenge is managing to ensure that they are true to the original and correct, whilst also turning them around as quickly as possible.
If you need help with or more information about any kind of legal translation, here at LocalizationLab, we’d be delighted to help you.

Written by LocalizationLab