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Can Your Law Firm Benefit from Certified Translation Services?



Can Your Law Firm Benefit from Certified Translation Services?

Can Your Law Firm Benefit from Certified Translation Services?

The last couple of decades have brought a significant increase in the demands placed on legal departments by multilingual communities and global businesses. Small businesses, in particular, due to globalisation, are reaching out to international audiences more frequently, resulting in a rapidly growing number of cases for legal teams to handle on an everyday basis.

And these cases often require fully certified translation services.

Today, law firms & legal professionals depend on language translation agencies and accredited translators to deliver accurate and high-quality content quickly. These professionals are expected to have a deep understanding of legal terms and current legislation to ensure precision in their work.

As a result, a growing number of law firms around the world and global organisations within the legal sector see significant benefits of working closely with professional agencies which specilise in certified translations. However, choosing the best provider can be a difficult task.

What are certified translation services?

The term ‘certified translation’ services is often used interchangeably with sworn, notarised or legalised translations. Although, in theory, these are all officially legalised translations, they differ slightly in the actual procedures required to complete the certification process.

In order to explain these subtle differences to our readers, we reached out to translation experts from TS24, who specialise in providing certified translation services in the United Kingdom. We asked what the main differences are between these different types of official document certifications and learnt that: “A standard certified translation is usually accompanied with a statement of truth signed and dated by the translator or a representative of an accredited translation agency, such as TS24, and as a rule of thumb these are generally sufficient enough for the majority of official procedures in the UK & abroad.”

“Notarised translations, on the other hand, may be required when the translation must additionally be signed by a solicitor or a public notary.”

  • Certified translations

A standard certified translation comes with a statement of truth signed by the translator or a representative of the translation agency. Generally speaking, it is sufficient for the majority of professional and legal applications.

  • Notarized translations

A notarised translation is similar to the standard certification. However, the certification process additionally involves a solicitor, notary public (UK) or a lawyer signing the translated documents and certifying the translator’s credentials in person.

  • Apostilled translations

In order to obtain an apostille translation, translators have to follow an Apostille procedure. Apostille certificates are only required for countries that abide by The Hague Convention.

Who can provide certified translations?

Generally, when it comes to obtaining official and certified translations, your law firm has two options – working with freelance translators or working directly with translation agencies. Each of these approaches has its own benefits and drawbacks, and deciding which would work best for you will depend on a number of factors individual to you.

For example, working with certified freelance translators tends to be somewhat cheaper than partnering with official agencies, however, the turnaround times for obtaining the translation may be longer. Additionally, if your company requires certified translations in a number of different languages at once, finding individual freelance linguists can be highly time-consuming. Translation agencies, in contrast, are able to cover any language and deliver your translated documents swiftly.

Another significant benefit of partnering with translation companies is the fact that they are usually able to provide all certification types – from a standard certification, notarisation, sworn statement of truth and an apostille. In many cases, freelance translators may unfortunately not be able to provide these certifications.

What about interpreting?

Certified translation and interpretation are very often confused, however, there is a very significant difference between these two services.

To put it simply – certified translations deal with the written word (e.g. documents, papers, certificates etc.), whilst interpretation is a service which covers the spoken word (meetings, conferences, court hearings etc.)

Again, interpreting services for legal cases or court hearings are very common, and similarly to written translations, your firm can work with either freelancers or translation agencies.

What do certified translations cover?

Whether you’re a business owner or work for a law firm, certified translations can be a truly great asset (which is often legally required) in your day-to-day life.

There are multiple cases where the translation of foreign documents into English and vice-versa might be necessary. Below are some of the areas language translation services can assist law firms and professional companies with:

  • Legal documents
  • Copyright, patent and trademark
  • Professional contracts for overseas transactions
  • Financial papers
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Corporate documents
  • Court documents
  • Official Certificates
  • E-discovery for litigation claims

What about machine translations?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the recent developments in Artificial Intelligence directly improved the linguistic accuracy of machine translations. In fact, there are now great benefits of combining machine translations & human post-editing for translating documents within the legal sector. Still, machine translations aren’t as popular as you might expect them to be.

Law is a field which requires definite accuracy and reliability, so the idea of using machine translations can be met with derision by legal professionals. Nonetheless, combining AI translations with human post-editing services can be very advantageous.

For example, in many court cases, urgent documents need to be translated as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for firms to need 20,000+ words translated into another language within a matter of hours. Although this could potentially be problematic based solely on human translators, combining AI & human proofreaders/post-editors will allow for large amounts of documents to be accurately converted swiftly.

Additionally, due to the fact that confidentiality and privacy are critical aspects of the legal sector, you must be really careful about which machine translations you intend to use, if any. Google and Microsoft run translation software. However, any documents uploaded to their cloud aren’t confidential. Translation agencies, on the other hand, can sign non-disclosure agreements, which bring an extra level of security to your translations.


As you can see, certified translations are a critical part of the legal system, and so more and more law firms tend to partner with companies providing this service.

In the future, it’s expected that AI-driven machines will do professional translations and then post-edited by humans with an in-depth knowledge of your sector or audience, nonetheless, due to security concerns and expertise, it will remain in the realm of professional providers.

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