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5 Challenges Faced By Businesses during the Translation of Legal Documents

Legal trnslation

Translating legal documents is a critical job that should only be done by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). This is because a minor error can lead to detrimental outcomes, causing severe legal issues for all parties.

To avoid these, more and more businesses are opting for certified translation services. In fact, legal translation segment is predicted to have the highest compound annual growth rate within the translation industry worldwide, at 2.6% till 2032.

In this blog, you will learn about the common challenges faced when translating legal documents and the best practices to overcome them effectively.

5 Common Legal Translation Challenges

There’s no denying that the field of legal translation comes with several challenges. Therefore, businesses need to hire well-equipped, skilled, and experienced translators who can deliver according to the expected standards. Here are the common issues companies deal with while translating legal documents.

1.     Strict Deadlines

In most cases, businesses require translated legal documents on a time crunch. This is because they are generally needed for particular corporate meetings or courtroom events. If there is any delay, you can suffer serious consequences, so time is of the essence, and pre-planning is required.

2.     Syntax and Punctuation Matter

When writing a legal document, there are specific grammatical structures to consider. They cannot be neglected at any cost, especially when translating it into another language. Legal writing has the following features:

  • Long, complex sentences
  • Semicolons, apostrophes, and commas
  • Passive voice

Syntax and punctuation are quite important components of legal translation and cannot be taken lightly. For example, just omitting one comma can ruin the structure and meaning of a sentence completely. Therefore, it’s necessary to have a linguist, or an expert proofread the document before it is finalized.

3.     Legal Jargon Is Rigid

In legal dealing, exact terms and jargon must be used, making it difficult for a layman, especially one who isn’t fluent in a second language, to translate accurately. Therefore, the translation services for legal documents need to be proficient in the specific terms used for each context.

Professional legal translation services rely on experience, language proficiency, subject matter proficiency, and terminology glossaries to ensure 100% accuracy in the translated document. This reduces the risk of error and the time to translate documents.

4.     Laws Change Frequently

Authorities are constantly changing laws and regulations or updating old ones. Because of this, the laws relevant to your contract or documented a month- or even a week ago- may not be applicable by the time your deadline approaches. Therefore, it’s essential to have access to professional legal translators near by who can adjust to the legal changes in the translated document on time.

5.     Laws Vary For Different Countries

The formatting for legal documents can vary from country to country. For instance, a document in Arabic features a script from the right-hand side, whereas the same document will be written from the left side of the page in English. Considering this, it is critical to work with translation experts who are well-versed in legal translation. These individuals can compile the document properly, ensuring the recipient accepts it.

Legal Document Translation- Best Practices

In a field as complex as legal translation, it is quite common to face many challenges, which can lead to delays, penalties, and incorrect implications. Therefore, to ensure that delivery is timely and the format is correct, here are the best practices you can follow:

Hire Professionals

For the best results, seeking a professional translation company working with bilingual legal translators is best. Here is what to look for in the agency you hire:

  • Native speakers of your target language(s)
  • Specialization in law
  • Quality certifications
  • Proven language expertise

These aspects ensure that the linguist can adequately address the unique aspects of legal languages, like punctuation, style, tone, and other features. For example, if you hire Spanish legal translation services, they will have native, proficient writers who have specialized in law and produce the best translated documents for you.

Moreover, legal translation services must be certified to be legally recognized. You can check the facility’s authenticity by ensuring the organization is registered.


Get the Document Proofread By a Third-Party

Accuracy and precision are crucial in legal documents, as they are legally bound. Even the slightest mistake could have drastic consequences in the courtroom or a corporate meeting. To ensure no errors are present in the final translation, a second linguist should always proofread it.

It is important to remember that mistakes do not necessarily mean a lack of skill on the translator’s part. As they become more familiar with the text during translation, it can be easy to overlook a minor detail. A fresh set of eyes can help identify discrepancies and guarantee a higher-quality result.


Prioritize Confidentiality

Confidentiality is of utmost importance when it comes to legal documents, as they often contain personal or organizational information. To ensure that no data is leaked during the translation process, it is a good idea to implement data security protocols and nondisclosure agreements.


Focus on the Document’s Context

The context of the document needs to be taken into account. This could affect the translation’s style, tone, format, and terminology. To avoid any misunderstandings, it is best to discuss all the project details with the translator before they begin.


Seek Expert Advice When Uncertain

When faced with an unfamiliar term or concept, it is always best to consult a legal expert to ensure accuracy in the translation. As accuracy is of utmost importance in legal translations, seeking a second opinion is the wisest option.


Provide a Structured Source File

The client must provide a clearly structured source file to achieve a quality translation. In some cases, the structure of the source file can be kept similar in form and style, making it easier to follow. An explanatory note should accompany any necessary changes in formatting, and some aspects, like signatures, can just be copied to the target file.



Legal translation is no easy task, as it requires a sound knowledge of the source and target languages,  impeccable translation skills, an understanding of legislation systems, and the ability to meet strict deadlines. A skilled legal translator must know all the particularities of the translation process to provide an accurate end result.

For accurate legal translations in different languages, look no further than LatinoBridge! We offer comprehensive Portuguese and Spanish legal translation services to businesses of all kinds. Contact us today for a quote! 




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