What is Legal Translation – A Complete Guide

Glenn Abrigana

Professional Translator

illustration of legal document

Although we may not realize it, legal documents are everywhere in our daily lives, ranging from birth certificates and marriage certificates to driver’s licenses and contracts. Both individuals and companies can be likely to encounter legal documents at some point down the road.

When legal documents need to be written or read in another language, though, a legal translation is necessary.

Creating a legal translation takes precision and expertise, and it’s important to trust professionals who will give each individual document the time and effort it needs.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what a legal translation is and some of the basic steps you’ll want to follow to translate a legal document. Then, we’ll talk more about some of the instances that might require a legal translation. Finally, we’ll show you how Languex’s legal document translation services can help save you trouble, money, and time.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Legal translation involves converting the content of a legal document from its original language to another language, and it’s typically performed by qualified legal translators who must be knowledgeable about both the legal systems of the original and target countries.
  2. Lots of contexts might prompt the need for a legal translation, including moving to another country, business needs, government proceedings, and international justice.
  3. Legal translators must have fluency in both the original and target languages of the legal translation, experience working with legal document translations, attention to detail, high professional standards, and the proper training and certification.
  4. Common types of legal documents that may require translation include immigration documents or USCIS documents, business documents such as contracts and financial statements, and court documents such as briefs and court transcripts.
  5. Two main types of official legal document translations are certified translations and notarized translations, with the latter involving the signature and seal of a Notary Public in addition to the certification.
  6. Languex’s legal document translation services provide expert legal translation professionals and rapid turnaround times, and all certified legal translations include a free ink-signed and sealed certified translation certificate per USCIS requirements.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is legal document translation?
  2. Who needs a translation of a legal document?
  3. A brief overview of common legal documents
  4. Types of official legal document translations
  5. How can I translate my legal documents?
  6. More things to know: Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Final thoughts

What is Legal Translation?

Legal translation involves converting the content of a legal document from its original language to another language. This task is typically performed by qualified legal translators.

Documents that require a legal translation usually use specific legal terminology and often contain sensitive information. Even a minor error in translation could result in severe legal implications. As a result, legal translators must be knowledgeable about both the legal systems of the original and target countries.

That’s why we at Languex only trust the best, most professional translators who are rigorously vetted for their skills and accuracy. You can count on our experienced team to deliver high-quality results for your legal translation in a matter of 24 hours.

Legal Translation use cases

Lots of contexts might prompt the need for a legal translation, including:

  • Moving to another country: this might warrant translations of things like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and diplomas.
  • Business needs: multinational corporations and law firms may require the translation of contracts, patents, and other legal documents to conduct business or litigation proceedings in foreign countries.
  • Government proceedings: agencies may need to translate legal documents such as treaties, laws, and regulations for diplomatic or legal purposes.
  • International justice: people involved in cross-border legal disputes may need to translate legal documents such as court orders or judgments.

Overall, anyone who needs to navigate legal matters involving multiple languages or jurisdictions may need the services of a legal document translator.

What skills to look for to find the best legal translator?

Because legal translations require precision and a high degree of professional experience, you should only trust translators who have the right skills to get the job done.

Things a qualified legal translator should have include:

  • Fluency in both the original and target languages of the legal translation
  • Experience working with legal document translations
  • Attention to detail
  • High professional standards
  • The proper training and certification

Languex has the expert legal translation professionals and rapid turnaround times you’ll need to get accurate translations promptly. Tens of thousands of customers agree that we are the leading source for certified legal translation services. Our error-free translations are just $24.50/page (a page is 250 words or less).

We can also send hard copies via two-day priority mail. Need a rush order? No problem – Languex can accommodate needs like these and more.

All our certified legal translations include a free ink-signed and sealed certified translation certificate complement per USCIS requirements. Select our two-day delivery service to get the original copy of the ink-signed, stamped, certified translation. We can also send digital copies to your email at no extra cost.

Brief Overview of Common Legal Documents

You might encounter legal documents if you are moving to a new place, requesting certain services, or trying to implement changes to your personal information, among other examples.

Below are popular needs that might warrant a legal translation:

Immigration documents or USCIS documents

Things related to immigration services might require translating legal documents include:

Business documents

Some common types of corporate or business legal documents include:

  • Contracts
  • Financial statements
  • Patents
  • Copyrights
  • Terms of service

Court documents

Examples of legal translations that may be used in court proceedings include:

  • Briefs
  • Litigation paperwork
  • Court transcripts
  • Testimonies

Types of Official Legal Translation

There are a few important terms you might encounter if you need a translation of a legal document. Below are the main two that you should know.

What is a certified legal translation?

A certified legal translation accurately conveys the content of the original text, word for word. It also requires a signed statement, known as a “Certificate of Translation Accuracy,” from the translator or translation agency responsible for it.

The purpose of certification is to verify the translation is accurate and complete.

When submitting a foreign-language document to a government or educational institution in the United States, it is typically necessary to provide a certified translation.

Notarized legal translation

A notarized translation falls under the umbrella of certified translations, but it involves one additional piece: the signature and seal of a Notary Public.

The Notary Public’s signature and seal confirm the person who has signed the translation’s certification is the person they say they are. It is important to note that notarization can not certify the quality of the translation itself. Instead, notarization acts as an additional layer of authentication for the legal translation.

How to Translate Legal Documents?

Working with a certified translation service provider like Languex is the best way to get a legal translation without delays or errors. You can get a legal document translated in no time by trusting a professional, certified translation agency like Languex.

Once you have submitted your documents to Languex, you can relax while waiting for your translation to be delivered, either digitally or in person.

Working with Languex is simple and secure, all for a price that won’t hurt your pockets. Our process is efficient:

  1. Step 1: Visit our legal translation page and submit a digital copy of your legal document(s) using Languex’s secure online ordering system.
  2. Step 2: We will assign an experienced project manager and a certified, bilingual translation professional to your documents.
  3. Step 3: Your translation will be complete within 24 hours of ordering. Our thorough quality control process ensures that all instructions have been followed and all requirements are met.
  4. Step 4: You review your legal translation. If you are not satisfied, Languex will offer free revisions as needed.
  5. Step 5: Once you have okayed your translation, Languex will email a final copy to you.

You can trust the team of experts at Languex to produce fast, accurate, and reliable legal translations in over 100 languages. Our job is to make yours easier.

Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Translation

Still want to know more about legal translation services? We’ve got the answers you’re after. Below you’ll find some more details that might come in handy when translating a legal document.

Who can translate legal documents for uscis?

A certified translator or a professional translation agency with experience in legal document translation can translate legal documents for USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Ensure the translator is familiar with USCIS requirements and provides a certificate of accuracy for the translations.

Our team is experienced in legal document translations in over 100 popular languages, so no matter what your needs might be, we are here to help. Click here to translate legal documents for USCIS.

How long does it take Languex to translate a legal document?

Languex translation services can be delivered within just 24 hours of order placement. For larger or more complex orders, we’ll work with you to develop a timeline that makes sense, and that fits your needs.

How much does it cost to translate a legal document?

At Languex, our legal translation services cost just $24.50/page (a page is 250 words or less). We can also offer notarization of any legal document for an additional $19.95.

Our team is experienced in legal document translations in over 100 popular languages, so no matter what your needs might be, we are here to help. Click here to get started.

What is the difference between certified and notarized translation?

A certified translation is a word-for-word translation accompanied by a certificate of accuracy that verifies the translation is complete, accurate, and done by a qualified translator.

A notarized translation, on the other hand, is a type of certified translation, but an official notary must be present and witness the signing of the translation’s statement of accuracy. The notary can then confirm the identity of the translator and give it an official stamp.

A notarized translation does not have to be certified, and vice versa. However, many legal translations need to be certified and notarized.

What is the difference between official translation and certified translation?

The terms “official translation” and “certified translation” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a key difference between the two.

An official translation is one that is completed by a government agency or other authorized institution. Official translations are typically used for legal or government purposes, such as for immigration or citizenship applications.

A certified translation, in contrast, is a translation that has been completed by a professional translator or translation agency and includes a signed statement affirming that the translation is a complete and accurate rendering of the original text.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s important for legal translations to be spot-on in terms of their content, format, and overall purpose. You might need one for any number of personal, financial, or official needs, but it’s always a good idea to trust certified translation professionals like the team at Languex.

Below are some of the key takeaways to remember about legal translation:

  • Legal translations are often needed for materials like business documents, immigration or USCIS paperwork, and court documents.
  • Legal translations usually warrant either certified, notarized, or certified and notarized translations.
  • Different circumstances may require different types of translations, but you’ll need to turn to certified translation professionals for nearly all types of legal translations.
  • Trusting a certified legal translation company like Languex can help you get the documents you need quickly and easily.

Count On Languex For Fast, Accurate Legal Translations

Thousands of five-star customer reviews on Trustpilot show that the Languex difference really is just that – a true, one-of-a-kind difference.

There are lots of translation service providers on the market, but none of them have the expert staff and dedication to only the best quality results that Languex does.

When you work with our team, you can rest assured your legal translations are safe, secure, and in the best hands possible. With tens of thousands of positive customer reviews on Trustpilot, our work speaks for itself.

So, when it comes time to pursue a legal translation, you can count on Languex. Our team is always here and ready to help.

Ready to get started?


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