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6 Legal Documents That Need Translation

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Legal documents are difficult enough to understand in your native language, to say nothing of trying to translate them into another language altogether.  Rife with detailed legalese, translating them into and out of English is no easy task.

Most of the time, quality translations require certified professionals who are legal experts as well as experienced translators. They must have an in-depth understanding of the law in order to ensure that your documents are translated accurately.

But there are about as many types of legal documents as there are known languages on the planet, if not more.  Here is a selection of the most important documents to translate.

Immigration Documents

It's absolutely vital that individuals who are immigrating into the United States have a full and complete understanding of the documents that are required to do so. On the flip side, it is important that the government is fully aware of who is immigrating into the country.

If an immigrant is not an English speaker, it's important that he or she understands what is needed to complete the immigration and naturalization process as well as what his or her rights are during the waiting period.

Having all of the necessary documents properly translated beforehand will minimize any delays or issues with the immigration process.

Financial Records 

The goal for financial record translation is to maintain the accuracy of the facts and figures while ensuring that the individuals handling the documents can understand them.

Financial document translation usually requires a certification from the translation agency that states that the translation is accurate and that the financial figures have not been changed.

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Licenses and Certificates

From marriage licenses to birth certificates, there are a wide variety of personal documents that need translating if you are planning to spend a significant amount of time outside the country of origin for those documents.

Laws vary from country to country, so it is of the utmost importance that some research be done ahead of time to ensure that all of the necessary documents will be available when needed. 

Patents

If your business deals with the patenting of products, ideas, or information, it is essential that you have an English copy.  A legal translator is essential for making sure that your patents meet the legal requirements of all the countries involved.

Litigation Support

It can be confusing to keep up with the nuances and details of a developing case, particularly in a foreign language. Translators can offer summaries of litigation in order to provide a clear understanding of what happened in the courtroom or mediation sessions.

Educational Transcripts

While transcripts are not necessarily legal documents, a number of people travel to different countries to study abroad, and therefore, their transcripts are what allows them to legally be in the country where they are studying.

Similar to financial documents, educational transcripts must be certified to ensure that the accurate information is reflected in the translation — no changed grades, and no extra courses or false accomplishments. 

What You Need to Know About Legal Document Translation

Legal documents are confusing, and it is vital that the translator be familiar with the documents he or she is translating so that you have the clearest understanding possible. Enlist the services of an agency that specializes in legal translation early in the process to minimize stress and maximize your understanding of all legal proceedings.

Images by Pixabay, and Bill Branson via Wikimedia Commons

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About Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications. Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

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Meet the Authors

Brian Gruters

In addition to writing blogs for us, Brian Gruters manages translation projects for corporate clients. He started with Language Translation in 2015.

Brian brings several years of experience as a Spanish to English translator to his work. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

As a writer, Brian is mostly interested in language, science, and environmental conservation issues. He writes for various publications, as well as his blog, briangruters.com.

Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist originally from Troy, Michigan. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications.

Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Chris Maroulakos

Chris Maroulakos has worked at Language Translation since 2007, and he is currently the director of operations. He has been a blogger and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear since 2008, and he also worked as a blogger and associate editor for NBC San Diego's SoundDiego music blog.

Chris holds certifications in SDL Trados Studio for Translators (Advanced Level), SDL Trados Studio for Project Managers, and SDL MultiTerm for Translators and Project Managers. He is Inbound Certified by HubSpot and also has certifications in Localization and Localization Project Management from California State University Chico, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Localization Institute.

He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Communications and with minors in Italian and International Studies.