When it comes to translating a document, you have two choices: You may go to a self-proclaimed talented freelancer or you may approach a reputable company that follows industry standards. Costs of working with a freelancer may be less, but the risks are proportionally higher. A sad experience of Coors illustrated this, when their ‘Turn it loose’ slogan ended up as ‘Suffer from Diarrhea’. Talk about being lost in translation!
However, when it comes to legal documents, there is only one smart choice, and that is working with certified and experienced translators. Since law is very much dependent on the culture of the land and on the particular subject that is dealt with by the document, inaccurate or wrong translation may have dire consequences. That is why businesses invariably turn to reputable translation companies that work with certified and experienced translators.
Legal translation services may be required by any business or individual, though they are most commonly required by law offices and courts, especially for court proceedings on an international level. So, when lawyers deal with foreign documents, legal translation services are a must. What’s more, if the translated document is to be legally valid in another country, it has to be translated and certified by a « sworn translator ».
A sworn translator is a person who has been certified by his or her country’s government with the power to execute a sworn translation. This is different from a certified translation. In the latter case, the translator is highly competent and is a member of an association or club (like the American Translators Association in the US). While this offers a guarantee of the quality of work, it is not legally binding. The document may be well translated, but it will not have any legal validity. A legal translation service will provide you with a translated document that bears the seal of a local civil court which identifies the translator as being a sworn translator. Any translation that is produced by a sworn translator may be deemed as being a legal document when it bears the official seal and signature. Every page of such a document will be signed and sealed in this manner.
Most businesses documents need legal translation services only for certain documents that require legal validity in a foreign language. For instance, a translated birth certificate, degree certificate, patent certificate, proof of identity, official documents or a company’s articles of association require legal translation services when they are rendered into a foreign language. Only then will such documents be accepted as being legally valid in the foreign country.
As businesses grow, the demand for corporate documents to be legally translated is on the rise. Sworn translations may be more expensive but it is the very nature of accuracy and legal validity that make them costly. And smart businesses are happy to shell out the extra price. Better safe than sorry, especially for legal documents.