When Do Law Firms Need Translation Services for Legal Documents?

When Do Law Firms Need Translation Services for Legal Documents?
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


In the legal field, precise and accurate communication is important. This is why every law firm requires a partner that can provide accurate and reliable translation services. A slight error in a transcript can be detrimental not only to the law firm but also to those who trust its team for legal representation.

A legal translation partner can help a law firm in several areas. Let us briefly look at six of these areas.

1. Translating E-Discovery Foreign Language Documents

Electronic discovery, or e-discovery, involves reviewing electronic documents that may qualify as evidence in a case. Every law firm goes through the discovery process when preparing evidence.

As an attorney, you should be ready to take action on any foreign language documents during the e-discovery phase. You’ll need a reliable, experienced document translation services partner who can translate and categorize such documents for review. The professional translator will save you time, ensuring that you compile your evidence accurately. 

2. During Mergers and Acquisitions

Global law firms looking to expand their services are often involved in mergers and acquisitions. Some of the M&As may be of companies operating overseas in non-English speaking countries. It is only prudent for law firms expanding to overseas territories to have accurately-translated contracts to avoid lawsuits or any legal issues.

Moreover, other legal documents that have to be exchanged in such partnerships need to be accurately translated to avoid misinterpretation.

3. Translating Foreign Language Documents to Be Provided in Court

Court proceedings in the US Federal Courts are carried out in English to ensure that those present understand what is happening. Moreover, all documents that are in a foreign language, which have to be submitted in court as evidence should be translated into English. Otherwise, they won’t be acceptable in court. 

Sometimes, attorneys handle foreign-language documents that have to be submitted in court as evidence. Therefore, law firms need to have a professional translation company on standby that they can rely on for accurate and state-certified translated documents.

4. Translation of Testimonies

When the official testimony of a witness who doesn’t speak English has to be recorded, a native translator should be called in to bridge the language gap.

Having a translator who is a native speaker of the material foreign language is important. The professional will not only understand what the witness is saying but has full knowledge of the nuances of the language which are important in providing an accurate translation of the message.

5. Compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

The FCPA is an international act that protects law firms and other businesses from international bribery. The Act requires that law firms have evidence of compliance practices bot at their head offices and foreign offices.

The foreign locations should have documentation of the firm's business practices in an applicable language. Adhering to this requirement is meant to ensure that the branches follow similar practices as their main branch, preventing bribery scandals across the firm locations.

A professional translation company can accurately translate a law firm’s practices in different languages to prevent misinterpretation.

6. Localization of Legal Documents

Legal document translation not only involves the translation of legal documents but also other content such as website articles. Law firms that serve clients in multiple locations, including non-English speaking jurisdictions, should get their content accurately translated and localized.

Localization refers to the accurate translating of website content to adapt to the language and cultural nuances of a non-English speaking audience. Localization prevents the website content from seeming awkward to potential overseas clients.

Hiring a skilled and experienced legal translator to work for your law firm can save you lots of trouble. The above six instances are a few examples of why you need to have such a partner on your speed dial.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California based company that has been providing accurate and affordable transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed success at GMR for almost ten years now and has helped the company grow. Within two years of Beth managing GMR Transcription, it had doubled in sales and was named one of the OC Business Journal’s fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she likes spending time with her husband and two kids.