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Understanding the various types of Legal Translations

There are many reasons why someone would need to look for legal translation services, but regardless of why you would need them, finding a linguist with a solid grasp of  the legal language and terminology is essential. A good legal translator will not only be well-versed in the nuances of the two languages between which any documents need to be translated, but also require a comprehensive understanding of the legal sector.

Using an automated translation system simply won’t do when it comes to this sort of work, with translation algorithms unlikely to be able to comprehend complex legal terms, let alone translate them correctly. And there is arguably no circumstance more important than a legal setting for a high level of accuracy to be maintained. Therefore, it’s essential to find a professional legal translator who knows exactly how to put across key concepts and arguments in another language.

The importance of legal language

Whether written or spoken, all legal processes revolve around words. As a result, getting your point across clearly, and in detail, is crucial to ensure there is no ambiguity or confusion over the terms of a contract or court case. However, with so much detail to pack into each document, they can become hard enough to understand in one language, dense with so-called legalese.

As a result, translating all of this information, including terms which are unique to the legal profession, needs to be done in a way which can be easily comprehended by international legal organisations. The most effective way to do this is to enlist the help of a professional legal translator who understands the language of the law as well as the language of the land.

Types of legal translations

Each form of legal translation has its own requirements, depending on the language it needs to be translated into, and the type of document itself. Here are the four most commonly requested forms of legal translation.

Certified translations

In the event that you need to provide a translated document for legal purposes, such as a patent or contract, many countries will require that they are certified in order to prove their linguistic accuracy. Global Voices’ certified translations are carried out in-house, with our accredited team able to attest to the quality and precision of our legal translations.


A notarised translation differs from its certified counterpart by being more focused on guaranteeing that procedures have been appropriately followed. A notary will sign off on a translated text, but not necessarily understand its contents, which is why all of our notarised translations come with an additional certificate of accuracy alongside the certificate of notarisation.


Apostille translation simply means that a document has been authorised to be used for international purposes. The apostille itself, which often needs to be translated itself, acts as an assurance of the quality of the translation.

Patent filings

To file a patent abroad takes a number of steps, and requires many different legal translations to meet all the administrative requirements of its target country. Our patent filing service takes care of all of these steps on your behalf.

How to consult a legal translation professional

To be sure that you’re getting the best legal translation services, you should always ensure that your agency is ISO-certified, As for the translators, you should enquire about their legal credentials, and ask your translation agency to guarantee that they assign you a translator with the specific experience and knowledge you need for your documentation.

If you’re looking to discuss which types of legal translation is right for your needs, get in touch with the team at Global Voices today.

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