The complexities of legal translation

Among the different types of content translation, the most difficult is legal translation.

Within language services, there is a huge demand for legal translation services. Why? Because it is something that a simple native speaker cannot do. Besides linguistic expertise, knowledge of the industry is also important. You need professional legal experts who are also multilingual. Without these two factors, you will never be able to get an efficient translation of legal documents.

Like in any other industry, legal content includes industry-specific jargon that only experts can understand. Therefore, to achieve a flawless and smooth translation, professional assistance is required. Before going ahead and finding out what makes a legal translation document good or bad, it is imperative to outline the complexities encountered during the legal translation process.

Here are some of the factors that make legal translation difficult. Looked!

The difference in legal systems

Each sovereign state has its own legal system. The language in which the constitution is written strictly adheres to the legal system of that particular country. Therefore, translating a legal document into another language can be a tall order if you are not aware of the intricacies of their legal system. Because that specific law may be interpreted completely differently in your own home country or may not even exist. For example, continental law does not contain any notion of equity. Each legal rule associated with this concept is different. Therefore, continental law does not have equidistance with the legal systems of other regions.

So the professional translation services you decide to go for must have a thorough concept and understanding of the variability factor of state legal laws. The service must ensure that there are no discrepancies or errors in the post-translation process.

Legal jargon

One of the biggest challenges when translating legal documents is dealing with legal terminologies. These phrases or legal jargon cannot be interpreted, understood, and then translated by ordinary native speakers who do not have enough basic knowledge of the industry. Rather, it is professional lawyers who can understand them. Because they spend a great deal of time reviewing, reading, and drafting legal files, lawyers have the best understanding of legal documents. So you don’t have to worry about lawyers using their own words. Because they are able to translate better than any other non-legal professional.

In addition, many of these legal documents contain sentences of a very complex nature. The reason for this complexity is that the subject of these legal documents is not limited to a single subject. Rather, it is the amalgamation of various niche topics, which can only be understood by legal experts with a robust conceptualization of legal terminologies.


Another complexity that people face in legal translation is the assurance of periodic quality checks. The quality assurance mechanism is not only about the translated legal document, it is more about the entire translation work process of the organization. The translation agency must have an appropriate recruitment mechanism to hire professional legal translators. This may include a thorough background check of legal experts to determine if they have already performed legal translations or not. If this quality is not maintained, the risk of translation errors will increase and this will jeopardize the company’s brand image.

There are many translation agencies that offer legal translations alongside just to attract clients and improve their brand image. However, you should always avoid such agencies which do not have a separate legal department that deals with legal translations. But take advantage of the services of a translation agency that has translators who specialize in translating legal documents.

Style and tone of legal translation

Legal writing is different from other forms of writing mainly due to the fact that the style and tone of the legal document is completely unobtrusive. It can be assumed that legal documents are very formal in nature. Hence the reason why expert legal translators prefer to use an active voice in the grammatical structure of legal translations. This form of writing has certain characteristics that can only be used for legal documents. So what it does is it tends to remove any sort of uncertainty by naming the actor or subject in a sentence. Thus, the reader is clearly in a position to determine who will perform the assigned tasks.

In addition, many translation companies reject the idea of ​​using precise and clear language and prefer to use difficult words in an attempt to impress their clients. This is an absolute mistake. Legal drafting should never be redundant. And the use of adjectives should be kept to a minimum. In addition, legal writing should never be in the past tense, but rather in the present tense. Make sure the legal document conveys the message as if it was written for the current period. Because if you use the past tense, deal with complex and delicate verbal forms


You now have a clear understanding of the complexities that arise in the process of translating legal documents. These complexities will teach you one important thing and that is, you should never go for an agency out of the blue. Be sure to do the background check for the legal translation services provided by this organization. As part of your background check, make sure that legal translators are familiar with the different legal systems. Additionally, make sure your agency is fluent in legal jargon and doesn’t compromise the effectiveness of the legal document by using passive voice and redundant words. Because you have to understand, a small mistake in a legal document can change the whole meaning of the sentence. And its consequences are far worse than a mistake made in any other document. In simple terms; “You can face legal actions such as lawsuits or a subpoena, or even go to jail. So, as a security measure, you can opt for certified translations for legal content. Always be careful and do your homework properly before seeking legal services.

Interesting related article: “The Importance of Translation in Business”