Legal translation, Types, Importance and some Characteristics

As with any translation, legal translation consists of transforming documents from one source language into a different target language.

As with any translation, legal translation consists of transforming documents from one source language into a different target language. However, this sort of translation has several characteristics. At the confluence of three research areas, legal translation is situated. Legal theory, language theory, and translation theory—are fundamentally indeterminate, mainly because they rely on natural language (Joseph 1995: 14). 

The law itself is quite an unstable discipline. It relies on abstract and changing notions that are incredibly different depending on the country or region where those laws are applied. Legal discourse is constantly changing. Depending on the language used to communicate it and even the reader, its meaning can change (Harvey, M. 2002). 

Regulations are interdisciplinary, as they manage most areas of human movement. Legal translators must have a profound knowledge of concepts and terminology related to law. And also, the area in which it is being applied.

What is legal translation? 

According to Wikipedia, the translation of language used in legal contexts and for legal reasons is known as legal translation. The term “legal translation” may also imply a certain kind of translation exclusively used in the legal field, but this is not necessarily the case. The following is an example of various legal documents that can be translated:

  • Contracts
  • Court and witness transcripts
  • Depositions
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Wills and trusts
  • Complaints
  • Policies
  • Legal Statements
  • Licenses
  • Litigation documentation
  • Arbitration translation
  • Legal disclaimers

In some ways, “Legalese” is so distinct from other languages. Only someone with legal training could comprehend it. Legal translators experience the same situation. Because a word-for-word translation may not correctly capture the original’s meaning, they must be familiar with the country’s legal system. Legal translators must be aware of the legal aspects of the translated material.

The importance of legal translation 

When a person contracts with a translator or a translation company to complete a legal translation process. It is essential to be able to rely on a solid result. If the translation requires improvement, there may be legal consequences. A poorly translated document may directly impact the individual’s rights.

Law offices should rest assured that the outcome is exact and consistent with the original. The interpretation group must be familiar with the business and legitimate acts of the country. Just exact data can create the best outcome. Therefore, it is always advisable to work with translators to translate into their mother language.

Legal translation is often helpful when previously translated information needs to be updated. Two document versions, one with track changes and the other clean, are frequently sent to clients by legal translators. The clients can then compare it to the original translation and observe what has changed.

Legal Formatting 

Formatting a document for translation requires accurately recreating the appearance of a source document. And this also requires duplicating other aspects, such as adding borders, text over photographs, and watermarks. Many countries have various approaches to arranging their legal documents. The formatting of a document is maintained during translation. However, they must adjust the formatting if there are variations in the languages or nations.

Characteristics of legal translation 

According to Malcolm Harvey’s research from 2002, legal translation has four key features.

1.The nature of legal discourse

Legal documents can be divided into

  • Prescriptive texts
  • descriptive texts
  • hybrid texts, which contain both functions

The objective text makes legitimate impacts. The purpose of a document is determined by the communication circumstances rather than by the nature of the document itself.

2.A system-bound discipline

The law combines many systems that have developed independently and are typically limited by national and linguistic borders (Groffier 1990: 314). Legal translators must come up with culturally specific alternatives for terms, especially those that pertain to concepts, procedures, institutions, and personnel. However, there is a significant increase in European and international law, leading some people to believe that the law will progressively become more standardized.


According to experts in legal translation, it is “…achieving an equal impact on the target reader, which may justify extensive alterations to the source text to follow the aesthetic standards of the target legal culture.” (Sparer 1979: 78-90, Covacs 1982: 95) I In this way, the translator performs the roles of a bilingual typist and a text generator. According to Sarcevic, Fidelity must be shown to the unified intent of one instrument rather than to the original text. For instance, the message that the legislature or negotiators meant to convey.

4.Ambiguity and interpretation

Because politics, ethics, and metaphysics exist inside rhetoric, the language of the law is based on natural language. And this leads to a great deal of ambiguity, making it difficult to understand the legal text.

What are the Different Types of Translation Services?

Legal translation services are a type of professional translation that involves the conversion of legal documents and information into another language. It is an important field as it helps to ensure that the original document’s content, meaning, and intent are accurately conveyed across multiple languages.

When it comes to legal translations, there are various types of services that you can choose. Each of these services has a different purpose and will vary in cost, speed, and accuracy. Some of the most common types of legal translation services include:

Interpretation service: This service entails interpreting for individuals who do not speak the same language. The interpreter may provide interpretation for either spoken or written communication.

Legalized service: A legalized translation must be done by certified translators to be accepted by courts and government agencies. It must also follow strict formatting requirements.

Certified service: A certified translator must be trained in both official languages they are translating between. They also need certification by their country’s governmental agency to validate their credentials before they can work with legal documents.

Simultaneous translation service: Simultaneous interpreters translate orally. At the same time, someone else speaks so that no time is lost when switching speakers during presentations and conferences. They often use two-way radios, headphones, telephone conference call facilities, video conferencing systems, and many other devices. And this makes them very efficient at conveying messages over long distances during international events such as conventions or trade shows.

What skills does a legal translator need? 

According to Robert Breuer, a translator and revisionist, producing a quality translation require diligence. The translation must correctly and idiomatically convey the original’s meaning. You must maintain the same language level and tone throughout the process. A legal translation shouldn’t contain any grammar errors.

Translators must refrain from “interpreting” ambiguities to generate a superior legal translation. According to Breuer, a legal translator should have the following abilities: 

  • Diligence 
  • Professionalism 
  • Qualification in technical matters 
  • Knowledge of the law and legal translation
  • Adequate proficiency in both the source language and the targeted language
  • Research skills 

Express Network of Certified Legal Translators

In conclusion, we offer certified translation services in Dubai in more than 60 languages and any nation. We hire the most professional translators in the world. Our linguists ensure that translations are accurate and don’t contain any mistakes. We also ensure that the source is accurate and matched with the translated document.

Express offers certified translation services Dubai in more than 60 different languages with quick turnaround times and competitive costs. You can contact us for a free quote!

Our translation services include the following: 

To find out more information about our certified translation services, give us a call, or send us an email.