Your Leading Partner for Legal Translations



Globalisation has led to a growing need for professional translation services, especially within the legal industry. Translating legal documents is a complex task, requiring a variety of skills to ensure that official documents are accurately translated according to the rules and regulations of each country.

The Different Types of Legal Translation

From certified, sworn and notarised translations, to legalisation and apostille certification, there are a variety of different types of legal translations. These need to be provided by an accredited agency or translator, ensuring their accuracy so that they hold up in court and offer you the same legal protection as the original document. But what’s the difference between all these different types?

Certified Translation

A certified translation is carried out by a certified translator. The document includes the signature, name and seal of the translator, who bears full responsibility for the accuracy of the translation.

Notarised Translation

A notarised translation goes one extra step than a certified translation, and the translator must swear an oath that the translation is accurate and true before a notary. The notary is authorised by the government to approve legal formalities, and while they cannot vouch for the quality of the translation, they will validate the identity of the translator.

Sworn Translation

For a sworn translation, the translator takes an oath before a court and is authorised to translate official documents. However, in some countries, certified and sworn translations have the same official status due to a lack of regulation.

Legalisation and Apostille Certification

Like notarized translation, legalisation and apostille services certify the translator’s identity. These services require both the original document and its translation, and guarantees that your translation will be recognised as an official, legal document. Which service you need will depend on the country where the translation is going to be used.

If you want your legal documents accurately translated and legally binding, the best way is to use a professional translation agency that understands all the required steps. This will give you a fast, high-quality translation that holds up in a court of law.

At Intertranslations, we can translate legal documents in multiple language pairs. For more details, explore our website and discover the wide range of language combinations and services we offer, or contact our team today.

Whether they are companies or individuals, everyone may need to translate legal documents at some point. Legal documents issued by companies and individuals are diverse and varied such as patents or business agreements. They can play an important role in the life of companies. They may need to be translated at some point.

Each legal document has a more or less sensitive character depending on the information it contains. In addition to all this, there is the value that it has for the company and its role in the smooth running of the company. These two elements make a legal document a valuable document for a company. It is not uncommon for a company with one or more international activities to need legal documents translated into several languages.

If your company finds itself in this situation, you should know that this translation can be done internally or externally. If the translation is done internally, your company may not have professional translators. A translation with errors may be made.

We recommend that you entrust your translation projects to translation agencies for professional legal translation. Entrusting your documents to experts ensures a high-quality translation. Besides, your company can focus on other more important projects. One of the advantages of hiring a professional translator is the mastery of foreign languages. This may seem obvious, but having a thorough knowledge of languages ensures a good translation and also accurate throughout the text.

Depending on the language combination needed, you must choose the right translator. Our translator must preferably be a native speaker of the target language to facilitate the translation process. This ensures that the documents will respect the tone and meaning of the original while being accurately translated and error-free.

Quality and accuracy are especially important when a legal text needs to be translated. If an error is found in your translation, it can cause complications for the project involving the translated text. A bad translation can therefore threaten the proper balance of your business.

Moreover, due to its complexity, legal translation is a tedious task. Legal documents contain legal terminology. Therefore, the translator must be able to master the different specific legal terms but also know the different legal systems involved in the translation. The mastery of these two elements allows the specialist to save time in his translation.

Another advantage of using the services of translation professionals is that they are specialized in legal matters. Moreover, they know the types of documents that make up this field as well as their specificities.

The combination of in-depth knowledge of the field, the languages, and the nature of the document will allow you to obtain an accurate translation. The use of legal translation services providers is a significant advantage.

Also, for some of your official documents, a certification might be needed. Fortunately, some professionals can provide you with a certified translation. Certified or sworn translators can help you solve this matter and speed up the process.

Legal translation is a complicated procedure. As well as excellent language skills and a mastery of legal concepts, the translator must also have a deep understanding of the legal systems of each country. With cultural differences influencing documents like contracts and agreements, they must also understand the cultures involved and how they impact each country’s legal system.

A minor mistake or misunderstanding can have serious consequences, which is why it’s best to trust a professional with your legal translation. So, what are the main difficulties that come with translating legal documents?

Challenge No. 1: Legal systems vary from country to country

Different cultures and legal systems mean that documents will vary from one country to another. Each legal system has its own unique requirements and terminology, and the fact that multiple countries speak the same language complicates this even further. Mastering a language does not mean a translator will have a thorough understanding of all the legal systems of countries where that language is spoken.

For instance, English is recognised as the official language in over 50 countries, and it would be a challenge for an English-speaking translator to know all the intricate details of them all. This means you will need to find a legal translator specilising in both your target language and the country where the translation will be used, and this can become a time-consuming task.

At Intertranslations, we have a wide pool of vetted translators, revisers and subject matter experts. When finding your translator, we choose specialists with a legal background who are native speakers of your target language. With a mastery of the source language and an in-depth knowledge of both legal systems involved, we can assure that you will receive the highest quality translation.

Challenge No. 2: Laws evolve

Another challenge that legal translators face is keeping up with the constant evolution of laws and legal systems. As new laws or norms appear, some change or disappear, and what was legal one month can become illegal the next. It is important to stay up to date and fully informed by regularly checking government websites and other official resources.

At Intertranslations, our expert legal translators have at least 5 years of experience in the legal services industry, and only translate into their mother tongue. This ensures the validity, accuracy and integrity of your translated document.

Challenge No. 3: Finding the right type of certification

Do you need a certified, sworn, or notarized translation? Does it need to be legalised or apostille certified? Choosing the right type of legal translation can get confusing, and it all depends on the country and type of document.

In some countries, certified and sworn translations are given the same official status due to a lack of regulation. Some documents will need to be legalised, while an apostille certification is mandatory in others. Sometimes, there is no need for either of these and a simple certified translation will suffice.

The type of certification your document needs can usually be found on the government website.

At Intertranslations we are ISO 17100:2015 certified. We only employ professional native translators who specialise in the legal sector, and we also have a wide network of subject specialists who check our translations to make sure they are as legally binding as the originals. The process we use for selecting our subcontractors is strict, detailed, and available upon request.

  • – Our specialists are available to guide you through our translation process, step by step.
  • – We offer several types of translations:
    • Certified translations accepted for use in the following countries:
      Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
    • Legal translations accepted for use in Greece
    • Notarised translations
    • Apostille translations

Challenge No. 4: Accuracy is key for high-quality translations

Legal speak is like another language of its own, which means it can be quite difficult to understand even for a native speaker. To complicate matters even further, some words can have multiple meanings, and finding the right one depends entirely on the context in which it is used.

In order to find the right target-language equivalent, professional translators have multiple resources at their disposal. These can range from specialist legal dictionaries and online databases like the Interactive Technology for Europe (IATE), to computer-assisted translation, translation memory software and glossaries created specifically for your project.

Finding the most accurate translation of legal terminology is crucial. Even the slightest mistranslation can have serious consequences, including lawsuits and financial loss. There are also examples throughout history of just how serious this can be—one of the most famous being a mistranslation that led to the Italo-Abyssinian War of 1889–1896 between Italy and Ethiopia.

Professional Legal Translations

Legal translation is one of the most complex and challenging types of translation. It demands an exacting knowledge of different fields, made even more challenging by the constant evolution of laws. In order to give yourself the legal protection you need, make sure to choose the right translation agency for your documents.

During the last 25 years, we have translated more than 2.5 million pages of legal documents in over 100 language combinations. With an in-depth understanding of both the source and target legal systems, our team of legal specialists will make sure your translation is as legally binding as the original.

ISO 17100:2015 and ISO 9001 certified, we follow the highest industry standards for accuracy and quality. We also sign legally binding non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), giving our clients total confidentiality.

At Intertranslations, we provide accurate and professional legal translations you can rely on.

Legal translation deals with the language and documents used in legal settings, such as business agreements, contracts, litigation, patents, transactions, or even intellectual and industrial property. This area of translation is highly complex, requiring in-depth knowledge of both the languages involved, as well as an intricate understanding of legal terminology and different legal systems.

Globalization and international trade have led to more cross-cultural interaction than ever before. Legal translation plays a vital role in the communication between different countries, and due to the complex nature of legal documents, many companies are turning to professional translation providers.

Accuracy is Everything

An inaccurate translation of a contract will not give the legal protection you need. Any mistakes, however minor, could lead to abandonment or rejection of legal proceedings, invalidation of commercial transactions, and irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. A translated legal document needs to be 100% accurate, and there is no room for error.

A single word in the source language could have multiple meanings in the target language depending on the context. Choosing the right equivalent for your translation requires expertise, which is why the agencies must work with subject matter experts who master the subtleties of both the source and target languages.

Tools for High-Quality Translations

The multiple meanings of legal terminology and the sheer complexity of the legal industry can be a challenge. However, translation companies have a wide range of physical and digital tools available that help ensure they choose the correct term for your documents.

From legal dictionaries and online databases to computer-assisted translations tools, translation agencies also create translation memories and glossaries specifically for your project. Translation memories are a particularly powerful tool, and by saving previously translated words and sentences, we can ensure consistency across your documents while helping speed up the translation process.

Respecting Deadlines and Privacy

At Intertranslations, we make sure to respect your deadlines. If your translation is urgent, we can accelerate the translation process by creating customized teams of linguists dedicated to project.

When trusting an agency or translator with sensitive legal documents, make sure the services include data privacy guidelines. At Intertranslations, we are GDPR compliant and will also prepare Non-Disclosure Agreements so you can rest assured that all your documents will remain totally confidential.

Certified, Sworn, Notarized or Apostilled

Depending on the type of document and the target audience, you might need a specific type of translation that will be compliant with the requirements of the market, the country, and the authority to which it is addressed.

We can provide several types of legal translations:

  • Certified translations.
  • Sworn translations.
  • Notarized translations.
  • Legalized translations.
  • Apostilled translations.

The type of translation you need will vary, so make sure to check with the local government requirements to help save time.

Working with a translation company reduces the risks of lawsuits and financial loss. By choosing a professional agency with experience, you can get accurate and reliable translations.

Legal translation deals with the language and documents used in legal settings. Translating legal documents is complex, involving not just different languages and cultures, but also different legal systems. In order to ensure that your translation is accurate and legally binding, the best option is to hire a translation agency.

When it comes to legal translation, there is no room for error. So, how can you make sure you get the best translation possible?

1. Entrust a specialist translation agency with your translation project

Experience is key to a successful legal translation. The company you choose for your legal translation should have a pool of specialists experienced in both the source and target languages, as well as a detailed understanding of legal matters, systems and terminology. This will help minimise the risk of translation mistakes or delays.

Intertranslations has the following quality credentials:

  • ISO 17100:2015 for Translation Services
  • ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management Systems (QMS)

2. Make sure to protect your data

Your legal document will likely be subject to strict privacy guidelines. It is therefore important to know the position of the agency in terms of their data privacy and security, so you know exactly how your files will be stored and transferred to avoid any risks.

Intertranslations has the following data privacy and security credentials:

  • ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS)
  • Cyber Essentials certified
  • Fully GDPR compliant

3. Use technology to ensure consistency and efficiency

Translation agencies should use appropriate technology to ensure consistent use of terminology throughout your documents, while also providing fast and cost-effective results.

At Intertranslations we combine technology with human expertise. This means we can meet strict deadlines with still producing translations that comply with the highest quality standards.

Using specialist software, we will also create translation memories of previously translated texts. By comparing any new text against this translation memory, we can make sure you never pay for the same translation twice and give you the best possible rates.

4. Decide exactly what needs translating

Before sending any document to a translation agency, make sure to only select the documents or parts that need translating. In some cases, only a small part of the document actually needs translating, in which case you must clearly identify this and specify those details. This way, you can save time and money while still getting exactly what you need.

5. Give the translation agency as much information as possible about your project

Giving us as much information as you can will make sure everyone is on the same page, avoiding any unpleasant surprises. The most important information we need for a legal translation is the target language, target language country and background information on why the translation is required. We also need to know whether you need a certified, sworn, or notarized translation, and if it requires legalisation or apostille certification.

The final translation can also be presented as a monolingual document separate from the source text, or as a bilingual document, with both the translation and source texts presented side by side. Make sure to let your agency know which format you need.

  • Target Language and Country
    Both the target language and country will have an impact on your translation, so elaborate and give as much information as you can. As an example, if the target language is Spanish, then the translation will differ depending on whether the document will be used in Spain or Uruguay.
    By specifying the country, we can find a qualified native speaker who has detailed knowledge of the target legal system. We can also make sure to localise the text by choosing the correct idiomatic expressions and terminology.

  • Certification, Sworn or Notarised?
    There are several different types of legal translations with varying levels of certification. In short, legal translations will need to be validated by the translator to ensure they hold up in court. The type of certification will depend entirely on the target language country and how the document is going to be used. Some countries require an apostille, while the administration of others will accept a certified or sworn translation.

6. Translation also involves formatting

In order to maintain the integrity of your original document’s formatting, the translation agency you choose should also provide Desktop Publishing (DTP) services. At Intertranslations, we offer our clients Multilingual Desktop Publishing in a wide range of languages for almost any type of document.

Using an in-house team of expert graphic designers, we will extract the text from your source files and replace this with the translation. With an eye for detail, we will then make sure everything is in the right place, giving you a fully-formatted and high-quality translation ready for use.

Our DTP team can work with a range of document formats across both Windows and Apple MacOS, including Microsoft Office Suite, Open Office, InDesign, FrameMaker, Illustrator, Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat.

Get a free quote