Who Can Translate Legal Documents? 5 Factors to Consider

translate legal documents

In the world of translation, legal texts are among the hardest and most difficult to translate.

And for good reason. There are many technicalities involved with legal translation.

Which brings us to an important question: Who can translate legal documents?

The person – or persons – or even team, you entrust to translate a legal document should be qualified for the task.

In this short article, we’ll be talking about when you need legal translation and who can translate legal documents.

When do you need legal translation services?

You may be surprised to learn that there are many areas and fields that require legal translation. In addition, there are various types of documents that would need to have legal jargon and translation.

Let’s look at fields or areas where translating legal documents may be required. These are just a few of them:

–       Courts (especially arbitration courts)

–       Police stations

–       Emigration and visa-issuing offices

–       HR companies that help job seekers find work abroad

–       Ministries, government agencies, and other official bodies

–       Companies that hire foreigners

Now let’s look at the most common types of documents that require legal translation:

–       Contracts (the most common area for legal translation)

–       Certificates (birth/death/marriage)

–       Power of attorney

–       Court orders

–       Partnerships, agreements (loans/services/procurement and supply)

–       Arbitration agreements, legal settlements

–       Company prospectus (for bourse listings) though it combines legal translation and financial translation

–       Home contracts, house deeds, sale documents

–       Affidavits

–       Legal notices

–       Court forms (family/criminal/civil…other)

–       Intellectual property rights and contracts

What is a certified translation?

Knowing about the different types and areas where the legal translation is needed brings us to a commonly referred to the aspect which is certified translation.

Here’s TranslationPartner’s definition of what a certified translation is:

It’s “a translation done by a professional translator. However, it’s not just any professional translator. The translator involved in a certified translation is one who is verified and attested by a notary.

In addition, a certified translation can be done by a translation company or agency. In this case, the certification is a document that confirms the accuracy of the translated document.

Who can translate legal documents?

Now that you know when you may need to hire a legal translator and for what, let’s look at who’d be a qualified legal translator.

Translating legal texts requires a certain set of skills. Here’s an overview of those skills:

Excellent researcher

Research skills are among the most important skills a translator should have. Legal translation is no exception.

Knowledge of the legal system

Despite the different legal documents and texts, a translator should have a working knowledge of the legal system in the target country and language.

This is especially important for court translators, who need to translate legal texts involving laws, regulations, and court orders.

Unbiased integrity

While translation generally requires a high degree of unbiasedness, legal translation specifically requires that the translator maintain their distance from the text.

A legal translator should never impose or involve their thoughts, feelings, or beliefs in a legal text.

Familiarity with legal jargon

One of the biggest challenges of legal translation is jargon and phrasing. It’s one of the reasons many translators don’t continue working in the legal translation field.

So working with a translator who’s familiar with legal jargon in both the source and target languages is a highly valued skill.

It’s a skill you should look for when you consider who should be translating your legal documents.

Legal translation experience

Everyone starts somewhere. It’s the same for legal translation. However, unless you want to train a new translator in the legal field, you should always hire a legal translator with several years of experience.

The years of experience can mean expertise in certain areas of legal writing and translation, and familiarity with legal jargon, among other benefits.

Why work with a legal translation agency

As you can see, finding and hiring someone qualified to translate legal texts isn’t easy. While there are many freelances and in-house legal translators, finding a legal translator can be a daunting task.

However, many companies want to translate legal documents but don’t need to hire a full-time legal translator.

Moreover, legal translation often overlaps with other branches of translation like business translation, financial translation, and medical translation.

Finding translators and reviewers whose skills overlap in all of these areas is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

So what can companies do? They can turn to translation agencies like TranslationPartner which provide various types of translation.

Translation companies already have a well-vetted team of in-house and freelance translators that they work with.

They also have an international team of legal translators who aid them in translation and reviewing for various types of translation including legal.

Agencies, like TranslationPartner, offer legal translation services for companies and individuals.

TranslationPartner also offers certified legal document translation services so that businesses can present them to the relevant government bodies.

For example, if you’re looking for Arabic legal translation services, an agency like TranslationPartner can help you. They already have a vetted team of legal translators who combine experience, Modern Standard Arabic, and legal jargon to produce professional legal translations.


Generally, there are many factors that affect translation costs. However, legal translation is considerably expensive because of the effort and skills required.

That’s why the cost of translating legal documents is considerably higher than in other fields like media or general or even business translation.

Working with a legal translation agency like TranslationPartner helps you save the time and effort needed to vet legal translators and get your documents ready faster.

Still, wondering where to get your legal documents translated? Get in touch with TranslationPartner today!