When it comes to the world of translation, things are pretty straightforward until you have governments and legal systems get involved. Once you have to work within the legal system and across national borders, there are a whole new series of checks and balances involved to create an “official” and legally recognized translation.
While The Spanish Group operates all over the globe, and the process for a legal translation can change dramatically between different nations, this article will focus on legal translation in the United States and what you will need to get one for yourself.
What is a “Legal Translation”?
Simply put, a “legal translation” is any translation dealing with documents that pertain to official governmental organizations or are otherwise related to the legal system of the country in question.
In the United States, a legal translation can be a translation made explicitly for a legal setting, such as court or witness transcripts, or one that relates to your official status, such as a divorce or birth certificate. The latter case is also commonly referred to as an official translation.
In other countries, a legal translation or official translation may mean something slightly different and may have different requirements. For example, suppose you want to translate legal documents from Spanish into English in Spain. In that case, an official translation must be stamped by a certified official translator approved by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The United States is less strict about who actually performs the translation, though they still require total accuracy.
It is important that when you need a translation for a document that is related to governmental statuses or otherwise deals with the legal system, you use trained and approved translators who are very familiar with the languages and countries in question.
Why Do Your Documents Need to Be Legally Translated?
Official documents need to be translated appropriately by a trained translator for several reasons. We will briefly cover the primary reasons here.
USA Courts May Require Legally Translated and Certified Documents
Simply put, most of the time, if a court is going to legally recognize a document, that document needs to be translated into the appropriate language and certified. While anyone can theoretically certify a translation, you want to be sure that you are using a professional service when certified translations for a legal setting. You want experts familiar with the standard procedure and to understand what the court looks for in this type of paperwork.
Inaccuracy Can Lead to Rejection
Why do want to rely on professionals? Because even the slightest mistake in an official setting can be disastrous for you.
The most obvious pitfall of any cheap or poorly executed translation is the errors that it will contain. Even the most accomplished translators may make mistakes, but in a legal setting, even the slightest mistake can lead to severe problems, such as delays or even denial of your paperwork. This is why professional agencies like ours that perform legal translations have a stringent system where your document is checked and re-checked by editors and other translators before being sent back to you.
Legal Translations Are More Accurate Than AI or Human Translation
It is worth mentioning here that you will want to rely on trained humans for these translations rather than any artificial services starting to pop up. While AI is great for fast conversations or less official forms of translation, this technology is simply many years away from being a viable part of the legal setting. Even with popular and well-understood languages, you can expect at least a 5-10% inaccuracy rate for AI (and poor formatting). So, for the foreseeable future, you want human translators for your legal translations.
Standard Documents That Require Legal Translation in the USA
In the United States, it will generally be either a certified or a notarized translation that is required. At The Spanish Group, we have helped thousands and thousands of people successfully navigate these processes.
The following are examples of documents that will require certified or notarized translations.
➢ Immigration Documents
Every day, many people need help to get documents ready for USCIS. In the Americas alone, thousands of people each week need a professional Spanish translator to help them convert documents for the US legal system and USCIS. Applications for residency or getting a visa will require you to submit papers with English translations attached. These documents will often include birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, and many more.
➢ Court Documents and Related Transcripts
Certified translations are always required for official legal paperwork and documentation used in trials or hearings. Litigation papers, court transcripts, witness statements, deposition records, and more will all fall under this umbrella.
➢ Financial Records, Business Records, Driving and Import/Export Licenses
Many corporations with international offices or who are actively expanding will have to get several documents translated each year. These are financial reports and statements, business contracts, patent filings, legal disclaimers, terms of service, and more.
➢ Life, Death, and Birth Certificates
Also, any documents that have to deal with your current health and status. This will include records relating to your marriage or divorce, birth, death, or other relevant paperwork.
Get Accurate and Reliable Legal Translation Services with The Spanish Group
As you can see, there is a wide range of legal documentation that can and will require translation services from a professional in order to successfully compete and prepare for submittal. At The Spanish Group, we specialize in preparing these documents for government agencies within the US (as well as all over the world). We can quickly and accurately translate over ninety different languages depending on your needs.
So, are you ready for The Spanish Group to help you with your next legal translation?