Translating Legal Documents: The Process

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When is Legal Document Translation Required?

Legal document translation is required when official documents issued in one language require use in another. This will call for high-level, certified, legal and official translation services.


The most common need for translating foreign documents arises from people requiring overseas use of personal legal documents: for example immigration purposes, family law, birth and death certificates, injury law or even business and employment law.


If you think you need professional translation, please get in touch and we can discuss with you your options.


The Types of Document Translation Services


As already established, legal document translation services may need to be certified, legal and official. Yet, these categories can be further broken down depending on the level of legalisation required.


Certified Document Translation


Being the least formal option, certified translations are most commonly associated with legal documents required for use by non-government bodies. This type of translation can be carried out and certified for organisations such as schools, universities and insurance providers.


Also referred to as official translation, certified services cover the translation of documents such as marriage certificates, academic qualifications, household bills, power of attorney, contracts, official reports and transcripts, e.g. school and medical reports.


Sworn Document Translation


As the name suggests, a sworn translation calls for the translator to swear an oath in front of a Public Notary. This oath confirms that they did indeed complete the certified translation themselves.


Notarised Document Translation


Required by more formal government and legal bodies, notarised translation is more complex than certified and sworn translation services. The process of notarisation involves the translator themselves attending a Public Notary and declaring in writing and in oath that their document translation “is a true and honest translation.”


Once this is established, the notary will approve the translator’s identity and qualifications before providing the translation with a certified ‘notarised’ stamp.


You may need notarised document translation when you are establishing a new company or if you require the use of immigration or emigration application documents.


Legalisation or Apostille Document Translation


Similar to notarised document translation, legalisation or apostille services will involve the use of an original document alongside its translation.


To achieve an apostille certification stamp, the original document and translation itself will need to be processed by the Foreign Office and Commonwealth Office. Here, an additional document will be issued to act as confirmation that the notary was indeed in a position to give a document notarisation in the first place.


Although this process can be quite lengthy, this additional document means that “the authenticity of the document should not be contested.”


Such a high level of document translation and approval is most commonly required for those papers used internationally in regards to overseas marriage, adoption, visa and job applications.


Although we have given examples of when to use the above translations, it is vital that when translating a legal document you check what level or wording, certification and authentication is used when requesting any translation service. If you are in any doubt, get in touch, where one of our team will be able to guide you to your best option.


Why is Document Translation so important?


With 40% of our clients coming from the legal sector, we know just how important detailed document translation is; the slightest error in language, messaging or format can have serious consequences.


A certified translator can offer both businesses and individuals expert translation services to keep your message intact whilst using the correct local terminology and dialect to allow their processing. It is this level of localisation that can make all the difference by allowing for easier, more human communication and contact.


Contact Kwintessential


As an ISO:17100 accredited translation agency, all Kwintessential work is inspected and cross-checked according to international standards. Alongside this, we also operate our own stringent Quality Management Systems.


Our certified translations are used nationwide for legal, business and individual purposes. To find out how our document and language translation services can help you, please contact us today.



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