Unless you’re perfectly fluent in multiple languages, your practice should outsource legal translations to a professional agency. A professional translation company makes sure the right person is on the job — regardless of your industry, the document, or the languages involved.
A professional legal translator can quickly convert sensitive text from one language to the next. And for an added layer of insurance, the top legal translation services certify their translators’ work.
This accreditation is a form of quality control for high-risk legal documents, court reports, and other critical data. But why is this quality assurance so important, and what do certified translation services entail?
Find out below.
What is a Certified Translation of a Document?
A certified document is more involved than a basic translation, the likes of which you would receive from a freelancer or colleague who is fluent in the target language.
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Unlike amateur translations, certified work comes with a signed statement that verifies its accuracy while also assuring it follows a certain protocol.
According to the American Translators Association, certified translation services must come with the following four assurances:
- The translator’s name and signature, dated
- Proof the translator in question has the appropriate qualifications
- A sworn statement that declares the work is complete and accurate
- Administrative details identifying the document and the language translated
Why is Certification Necessary?
Besides giving you peace of mind about the quality of work, it may be mandatory. Many governments, judicial systems, and international tribunals require certified document services as a procedural rule.
Why? Because the letter of the law needs to be exact. Minor variations can have a tremendous impact on civil disputes or criminal cases, so it’s crucial the industry minimizes errors where it can.
Requiring certified translation services is one way to do that, as it provides a higher standard of quality. It makes it impossible for untrained or inexperienced legal translators to submit work.
Certified companies declare their work is accurate by putting their professional reputations on the line. More still, only official document translation services can make these declarations.
Are There Any Other Failsafes to Ensure Accuracy?
Besides doing your due diligence to evaluate a company and ensure they offer certified services, you’ll want to check that a translation company offers the appropriate accreditations for your field.
When it comes to the legal industry, a company should offer these valid accreditations:
- ISO 9001:2008 — Only those companies that demonstrate they consistently meet statutory and regulatory requirements earn this.
- EN 15038:2006 — This important quality standard is specific for the translation industry, and it ensures a company meets current market standards.
What Legal Documents Require Certified Services?
In many cases, you’ll be aware when certified work is a requirement of the law. However, when in doubt, enlisting the certified services of a legal translator is a good idea for the following documents:
- Client-facing communications
- Patent paperwork
- Testimonials, interviews, and statements
- Court reporting
- Contracts and agreements
- Immigration files
- And more
When you need extra assurance that a translation is flawless and faithful to the original document, choose a certified translation company. Only these qualified agencies can deliver what you need.