Here's how to recognize a good legal translation

Here's how to recognize a good legal translation


Do you have an international business? If so, you probably enter into contracts with foreign customers and suppliers on a regular basis. Perhaps you will soon even open a branch across the border. In that case you will also have to deal with employment contracts, rental or purchase agreements, registration documents for the trade register, etc. Chances are you will need translations of these documents at some point. A legal translation agency is easy to find. But how do you know if they can do a good job? In this blog post we give you 4 tips to recognize a successful legal translation.

We believe you have a right to an error-free legal translation

At Scriptware Translations, we work for your legal translation exclusively with translators with a background in this very specific field. After all, you cannot afford mistakes in this type of text. Request a non-binding quote now.

1. The legal translation is handled by a specialized translator

An easy one, of course, but you'd be surprised how many translators with a completely different specialty like to take the occasional side trip and venture into legal translation. Not a good idea, because legal translation is a profession in itself. Are you ordering the translation from a freelancer? Then check in advance whether he or she specializes in legal translation. Are you hiring a translation agency? Then check that a specialist is indeed being used. If necessary, ask for an anonymous resume.

2. The legal translation uses the correct terms

In almost all languages, legal terminology is very specific. A wrongly used term can lead to misunderstanding, misinterpretation or even serious financial consequences. In Dutch private law, for example, the synonymous terms "possession" and "property" to a layman refer to completely different concepts. If you are legally literate and know the target language, go through the translation carefully. Or ask an expert colleague to look at it. If the translation is really crucial, a second opinion (a critical look by another legal translator) is recommended.

3. All the numbers and names are correct

Many legal translations involve money (a purchase price, a salary, subscription fees, etc.). And even if they don't, there are bound to be one or more dates in the text. Of course, it is very important that all of these figures are correct in the translation. A good legal translation agency will do a separate check on this before delivery. The same goes for names of people and companies; these too must be taken one-to-one from the source text and spelled correctly. If all numbers and names are correct, that is often a good indication of quality, especially if there are many.

4. The formatting of the translation approximates that of the source text

Legal translations should broadly follow the formatting of the original. So the same white space between contract clauses, the same indentations, the same italics and bold text. If the source file is a Word document, this is usually not an issue. But many legal translations are based on a scan (in PDF format). The translator must then pay very close attention to whether the layout of the source text is followed. Always check this yourself. Again, if everything matches nicely, you probably have a good legal translation on your hands.

Legal translation agency Scriptware Translations

At Scriptware Translations, we know exactly what requirements a legal translation must meet. From birth certificates to statutes, from general terms and conditions to court rulings - we always use expert legal translators and deliver texts that are useful. Please contact us  for more information or to put us to work right away.

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