Translating Legal Documents: 5 Documents You May Not Think Of

  |  May 16, 2018

When it comes to translating legal documents, these documents are important.

It’s no secret that legal documentation can be difficult to read. Contracts, patents, articles of incorporation, and other legal documents are designed to be absolute and thorough, which often makes them dense and confusing to readers with no legal training.

There are so many intricacies to legal documents that it can be difficult to read them in your native tongue, let alone another language.

While it might seem like every legal transaction requires a mountain of boring paperwork, that paperwork is there for a reason. In many cases, it protects your business interests and those of your clients, as purchasers of your goods or services.

As confounding as these documents might be, they’re designed to be referenced when expectations are broken.

Translating legal documents is a complex, and one that’s especially important to leave up to experts. One misstep in your legal document translation could leave you without the ability to defend yourself and your business in court.

Let’s take a look at why translating legal documents is important—and why it should be handled by a professional document translator.

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Translating Legal Documents Isn’t Easy

One of the most challenging aspects of running a business is understanding the legal transactions. This is, without a doubt, one of the most complex forms of translation and should never be left up to anyone other than a professional.

But why is legal document translation so difficult?

That’s a great question, and to answer that, we’ll need to look at the legal system of the different countries in question. Legal issues and documentation are almost always complex no matter the language. When translating, it’s especially important that an expert is hired for the legal document translation task.

Consider the various intricacies of foreign governments and multiple countries’ regulations that pertain to your legal topic. When you break it down even further into specific states and regions that have different rules within a single country, it becomes even more complex.

When misuse of a single term might alter the meaning, the task of legal document translation is often daunting. With so much riding on the outcome, it should only be handled by the experts.

Wondering what legal documents should be translated, or how translating them can help your business? Keep reading!

What Legal Documents Should Be Translated?

There are many documents necessary for running a business, and having a go-to team of legal experts to answer your questions is absolutely vital to keep your business safe and operating within the law for each region in which you have a presence.

You know that all your contracts should be translated by an expert. But what other documents should you be concerned about?

Financial Reports

All legal documentation regarding your business’ financials should be translated by a professional. All documents that show details about your company’s financials need to be accurate and accessible by the right people. To accomplish this, if you’re working with an international office or with employees and investors who speak different languages, the documents must be translated so everyone can access the same material.

Licenses and Certificates

Your business has likely secured authorization to operate outside of your home country. The licenses to build your office building or certificates that state your purpose in a foreign country are an absolute must for document translation. These legal documents are imperative to maintaining your status as a reputable and international business.

Work Documentation and Educational Transcripts

While transcripts are not necessarily defined as legal documentation, the educational visas that require their proof are. Additionally, work documents that can serve as proof of employment should be translated in the event that there is a question from either country in question.

If your organization employs students on a student visa or employees on a work visa, make sure that all the appropriate documentation is translated and readily available.

Immigration Documents

If your business has moved overseas and you’re hoping to relocate permanently, there are many legal documents that come into play. Before you enter any country with the hope of legal relocation, make sure you have taken the necessary legal precautions. That means having a translation expert review your immigration documentation, and ensuring it is translated beforehand to minimize any delay or issue with the process.

Corporate Documents

Your business might have more than one location, but do they all have the same employee handbook? Corporate documents that contain important instructions, privacy policies, employee benefits, and terms and conditions should absolutely be translated by an expert. Internal transparency regarding the legal documentation that affects your employees encourages compliance in addition to growth and camaraderie.

How Translating Legal Documents Can Help Your Business

Your business invariably has legal documentation, and if you’re hoping to expand into international markets, it’s vital that your documentation be translated by an expert. The expert team of translators at ILS can work with you to ensure that your documents retain integrity and confidentiality throughout the translation process.

It’s important to remember that this aspect of your business’ translation should never be done by an in-house hire or anyone who isn’t a language expert and well-versed in legal terminology.

And keep in mind that simply translating the text is no guarantee that your documents meet all local requirements or are enforceable under local law everywhere that you do business. Always seek legal counsel who has knowledge of the requirements for the locale in question.

The most important aspect of translating legal documents is for an expert to make a few key assessments of the documentation.

He or she will pay close attention to the purpose of the document, what the next steps for the business are, the customized features of the document, the main points of the document, any relevant deadlines or timelines, and where the contract is upheld.

Legal documents can be frustrating and confusing to read through, unless you’re a lawyer—and sometimes even then! Your business’ success depends on the quality of your translations, and that your translator is familiar with the languages involves as well as the legal meaning of your documentation.

While it might seem obvious that your external legal documentation needs to be translated, don’t forget about your internal documents. Find out how the expert legal translation team at ILS can help your business thrive! Contact International Language Services to ensure that your legal documents are translated accurately every time.