Obtaining accurate translations of business documents is important no matter what industry you’re in, but it may be especially crucial in the legal field – where a poorly translated idea or miscommunication could have serious consequences for all parties involved. That’s why it’s so essential to secure the services of an experienced legal translator; one who not only understands specialized legal terminology, but also has some familiarity with the legal systems of the countries involved.

International legal translators should have experience with a variety of documents, including patent and trademark documentation, marriage and birth certificates, legal contracts and agreements, court documentation, immigration paperwork, and more. Linguists with a background in this field will attest to the fact that it requires not only an understanding of legal jargon and excellent translation skills (native speakers are always a plus), but also a strong sense of ethics and an appreciation of the importance of the work – as well as the consequences that can result if it’s poorly done.

If You’re a Translator…

All this may sound daunting if you’re just starting out as a professional translator with aspirations of expanding your skills into the international legal arena. But you can reach your goal if you’re willing to take the time and gain the experience necessary to achieve it. Begin by focusing on building your reputation as an excellent linguist. Not all of your clients may be in the legal field, but over time – as you gain more experience in general – you can market your services to law firms or other companies closely related to the legal profession. Keep your focus on law. Learn the terminology. Build a clientele of lawyers. Once you’ve accomplished that, further narrow your focus to legal firms that specialize in international law. After you’ve established yourself with these clients, you will have the experience and skills to enter the highly competitive field of international legal translation.

If You Need a Translator…

Trying to locate a translator with all the abilities and traits you require – including exceptional translation skills, expertise in the international legal field, and a strong ethical code – may sound challenging. And, truth to tell, it is! That’s why hiring a professional linguist through a reputable translation company is the best choice for most organizations and agencies in the legal field. A good translation company can ensure that you are matched with the right translator for you – one that has excellent references, a solid background in the legal field, outstanding translation capabilities, and a strong work ethic.

Agencies that employ the services of international legal translators are almost as varied as the types of documents that need translation: from individual law firms to the United Nations to the European Court of Justice to the War Crimes Tribunals of The Hague. But as varied as these entities may be, they all share one thing in common: they require the services of only very highly skilled and dedicated professional linguists.