Best Practices for the Translation of Official and Legal Documents


When it comes to legal document translation, there is no margin for error when you are dealing with a pressing legal matter and deadlines. At Latitude Prime, we have many years of experience providing translation services for the legal industry. We also specialize in a variety of technical and specialized legal fields, including real estate, patents & intellectual property (IP), criminal, immigration, employment & labor, contracts, and much more.

Working within the legal system is already a challenging endeavor without the added challenge posed by the parties involved speaking different languages, not to mention different legal systems. This is where professional, certified legal translation services are a must. Regardless of whether you need to work with an overseas partner to negotiate a business deal or as an individual needing to appear at an immigration hearing, our legal document translation services and professional legal project management team will be with you every step of the way.

What Kinds of Documents Require Legal Document Translation?

Certain types of documents of an official or legal nature sometimes require specialized legal translation services. These can include court transcripts, contracts & leases, confidentiality agreements, international regulations and laws pertaining to your business interests, witness statements, wills and testaments, government or corporate proposals, subpoenas and/or summons, Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) documentation, immigration documents (e.g., birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.), notarized documents, and many more. Some documents may be needed for internal use only or may be needed for submission to a court. When needed, we can also provide certified legal translations.

Practical Tips for the Translation of Official and Legal Documents

  • Make sure that your legal translation provider specializes in the type of legal translations you require, and if translating into a foreign language from English, that they are familiar with the legal terminology in the target language as well.
  • Ensure the original documentation is organized and clearly structured and that each document to be translated is prepared in a similar manner. If there are any acronyms or internal business-related jargon, make sure to pass that along to your translation provider.
  • When translating legal documents from a language that does not utilize the Latin alphabet, that you provide the standard spelling of any individuals named in the document(s), if available. For example, the name “Chen Mingde” in Chinese characters can also be accurately rendered as “Ch’en Ming-te.” If you need to translate a Chinese client’s birth certificate, make sure to let your translation provider know which spelling appears on your client’s official English documents.
  • Ensure that legal document translation services are accurate by using a translation provider with a well-defined, multi-step quality control process, preferably certified by an international quality standards organization, such as ISO and/or ASTM. When it comes to legal translations, there is no room for even the smallest mistake.
  • Whenever possible, ensure that you allow enough time to translate accurately, particularly for larger documents, inasmuch is possible and feasible given any deadlines in your case. While “rush” (expedited) translation services are available, they are usually more expensive.

Our highly-professional and experienced team of legal translators and project management staff regularly works with law enforcement, legal support services, law firms, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and more as we provide legal document translation services in a wide variety of technical legal specialties and sub-specialties..

For more information about the legal document translation capabilities and services we offer, give us a call today at 888.341.9080 or send us an email at

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