Legal translation is the translation of texts within the field of law. As the law is a culture-dependent subject field, legal translation is not necessarily linguistically transparent. In-transparency in translation can be avoided somewhat by the use of Latin legal terminology, where possible.
The term legal translation refers to the translation of any text used within the legal system. As documents used for legal purposes are generally required to be submitted in the official language of a relevant jurisdiction the term can encompass a wide variety of texts including, but not limited to, witness statements, legal rulings and precedents, filed patents, transcripts, official reports, financial documents and identity documentation. A wide variety of other sources of information can also be subject to legal translation depending on their contextualized relationship to legal proceedings. For example, the Will and testament of an expatriate may be subject to translation into the language of the jurisdiction in which they have died in order for a probate lawyer to begin the process of executing the instructions contained therein. Generally, legal translation services are only undertaken by those with specialist knowledge as mistranslations, especially of contracts, can carry significant financial and legal consequences.
The means of regulating legal translators vary from country to country. In many countries, specific degrees are offered in Legal and Business Translation.
Though documents can be translated by a friend or relative, or notarized by someone with a notary seal, it is generally accepted that any legal documents must be certified in order to be accepted as true and unquestionable. This means that birth certificates from an issuing hospital or a social security card need to be translated by someone, either an individual or an agency that is certified in accurately translating documents from the particular original language to the second or even third language.
Start by collecting all of the documents needed for translation. Attach any special requirements, such as duplicate copies, stamped certifications, or special notices that should be adhered to while the translation is taking place.