Top tips for solicitors looking for legal translation and interpreter services

Top tips for solicitors looking for legal translation and interpreter services

Choosing the right legal translation and interpreter service provider for your firm can be challenging. You know how important it is to get it right because even the slightest error can have a huge impact for your clients, but how do you compare providers? Legal translation is a very specialist area of the translation sector, but not all providers have the same level of expertise, experience, qualifications, certifications, and commitment to client care.

This article looks at some of the key questions and what to look for when choosing a legal translation provider.

Do the translators and interpreters have the legal expertise to do the job to the highest level?

First, it is not enough to use any general translation service or interpreter - they must have a technical understanding of the law and relevant practice area. Legal translators and interpreters should have a background in law and the relevant qualifications to ensure an accurate translation. 

Legal translators and interpreters must not only understand the meaning of the words they are translating, but to give a nuanced translation or to interpret accurately, they must understand the meaning of the law behind those words. Essentially, service providers must know the legal effect of the translation project in the target language. When looking for a service provider, ask about the qualifications and experience of the translators or interpreters who will be involved in your project.

Does the provider use innovative technology?

You may also wish to ask the provider how they use technology in their business. Legal translators and interpreters should be able to use modern technology to provide the most accurate translations with a fast turnaround and be able to manage client projects seamlessly. Translation technology can streamline the process and ensure consistency across document bundles or ongoing cases. You should ask the provider how they use automation in their business and also how linguists work with the technology to provide their translation services. When used correctly alongside expert language services, automation can save you time and money, whilst ensuring the highest level of accuracy. 

Who will manage the project?

Skilled project management is a critical part of any legal translation project, and you must be sure that all of your translations will be handled with sensitivity and care. The best legal translation providers have extensive processes in place to ensure that all work meets quality requirements and is carried out to the highest standard. To this end, you may wish to ask whether the provider is ISO 17100 certified. ISO 17100 certification is a set of standards that enforce standardised quality processes and practices for translation services. 

When a provider has ISO 17100 certification, this means that the processes they use have been approved and rigorously checked by an official third party to  meet  best practice, industry standards, and the law, and that they are committed to meeting any additional requirements you have of them.  Find out more about the importance of ISO 17100 certification when choosing a translation service here. 

Data protection and confidentiality

Understandably, you may have concerns about outsourcing work on sensitive documents to a third party. Legal documents must be treated with the utmost care, and that they and related information are adequately protected. You should ask any potential provider what systems they have in place to ensure that your documents and information are kept safe. 

Any reputable legal translation provider will have robust security and confidentiality policies as well as cyber security tools and data protection systems. To meet ISO 17100 certification requirements, legal translation providers must use a fully traceable system which enables clients’ files to be backed up and retrieved safely whilst ensuring confidentiality and safety. 

Does the provider offer certification of translations?

The translation sector is unregulated in many countries including the UK, so clients may find it difficult to trust that a translation is of the highest quality and accuracy. In theory, any translator can claim that their translations are of the highest quality and that their processes are comprehensive and professional - but how can you be sure? You should ask any provider whether they are members of any professional associations and whether they provide certified translations. Government departments and the courts require evidence that any translation is a faithful and truthful translation of a legal document, and as such, certification of the translation is essential.

Contact IMD Translation

If you are looking for legal translation or interpreter services, we would be delighted to discuss our expertise, experience, qualifications, processes and certifications with you. To discuss a project or requirement with our team, get in touch today.