Legal Translations and ISO 20771:2020 Certification

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Over the last few decades, the growth of multilingual communities and global businesses has significantly increased the demands placed on legal departments. As more private ventures reach out to international audiences, caseloads begin to pile up.

Law firms now rely on language service providers and expert legal interpreters to deliver high-quality and accurate content with short turnaround times. But as well as speed, they also expect precision and accuracy which requires a thorough understanding of current legislation and legal terminology.

In an unregulated industry like translation, it is essential for any provider of legal translation services to be approved by a higher authority. This is where internationally recognised certification bodies come into the picture, with experts in the field serving as lead auditors.

What is the difference between legal and authorised legal translation?

Legal translation is a subfield of translation that involves content used in legal settings. This typically refers to the translation of contracts, agreements, legal acts, financial statements, powers of attorney, court decisions and registration documents. 

In some countries and regions, authorised legal translation refers to specialised translation performed by officially certified legal translators. These expert linguists are also known as court-appointed translators, sworn translators or court-authorised legal translators.

Being certified means that any translations they provide are officially recognised documents which can be used in court. This typically covers any certificates, personal documents, and court and administrative documents that require notarisation and signature by a licensed legal translator. The certified translator will provide either a personal signature, electronic signature or official seal to confirm the translation is true and accurate to the original.

What is ISO 20771:2020 certification? 

An international standard for legal translation, ISO 20771:2020 specifies the requirements for the competencies and qualifications of legal translators, reviewers and revisers. It also details the best translation practices, from core processes, resources and confidentiality to professional development requirements, training and other aspects of legal translation services. All of this has a direct impact on the quality and delivery of legal translation services.

Meeting all ISO 20771:2020 certification requirements helps legal translators ensure that the quality of their legal translation services meets client and regulatory specifications.

It is important to note that the use of machine translation output, even with post-editing, is beyond the scope of this certification. Reference to machine translation resources by legal translators does not constitute use of raw machine translation and post-editing. Interpretation services are also not covered.

ISO 20771 certified legal document translation services

Legal translation is one of the most complex of all translation fields. Laws vary from culture to culture, and so legal translation requires extensive knowledge of both the source and target cultures. There is also no room for error, as a single mistranslation could have catastrophic consequences.

ISO 20771 certification demonstrates a translation agency’s ability to deliver quality legal translations that meet the requirements of their customers and relevant authorities. It also reassures clients that their confidentiality will be protected, and that the translator meets continued professional development requirements for up-to-date knowledge in the field.

Legal translation services at Intertranslations

Legal translation is a highly specialised field, and the potential consequences of translation errors could be disastrous. We understand that legal translation requires expert skills and knowledge, as well as stringent quality management processes to ensure accuracy.

That is why Intertranslations are here to support you with all your legal translations. Our expert team is well-versed in both the source and target legal systems involved with your documents, working in over 350 different language pairs. We are approved contractors for the European Parliament and European Commission and can deliver certified translations to suit your requirements.

We have also received numerous quality and data security certifications from international organisations. Our team of legal translators, reviewers, and revisers were also recently certified to ISO 20771:2020 standards, demonstrating the exceptional quality of our legal translation services. This international standard was developed specifically for individual legal translators and defines the best practices for delivering professional legal translation services.

If you require professional legal translation services, then please reach out to our team to learn more about how we can help.

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