Language in Focus: Legal Translation Services

March 16, 2016 by Alison Tunley

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language in focus: legal translation services


Translation in and of itself is never a straightforward case of taking one word and translating it into its equivalent form in another language. Each type of translation presents its own difficulties, and legal translation is by no means an exception. Here we look at the two main difficulties of legal translation services …


Different legal systems

Each country has its own legal system, made up of different bodies, processes and traditions specific to national culture. This means that ‘direct’ translations of texts about the laws or institutions in England into French are not possible, as there simply aren’t direct equivalents in the French legal system.  So, a legal translator has to be extremely familiar with the legal systems and cultures of both of their languages; some aspects of continental law have no equivalents in UK law and vice versa.


Many of our legal translators have legal backgrounds, and are therefore very knowledgeable of the intricacies of the legal systems. They are skilled in being able to bridge the gaps between the systems using terminology and translation methodologies in their translations; allowing the contract translations to have the same standing, specificities, function, accuracy, and impact as they do in the original language.



If you’ve ever read a meaty legal document you’ll be well aware that it’s hard going and nothing like reading a tabloid on the tube. Sentences can extend over several lines, even pages, leaving you confused and unable to remember what was at the start of the phrase in question. Legal translators need to be able to not only understand the legalese in the language to be translated, but to be fluent and well versed enough in legalese in their native language in order to relay the translation in a fluent and effective way.  As many of our translators have worked as lawyers in previous careers they are more than capable of finding the correct legal terminology and phrasing for a given document.


Considering the legal ramifications of inaccuracies in a translation of a legal document (or in any document/situation for that matter), translators have the added pressure of double and triple checking their chosen terms to ensure they’re spot on.

Additional pressure

Many legal cases are time sensitive, so deadlines are extremely important. The outcome of a case could well hinge on evidence in a translated document or the submission of a translation to the courts. As well as the need for accurate, culturally relevant legal translations services, legal translators also have the ever-shortening deadline to deal with. Ask a lawyer when they need the translation by and they’ll say ‘yesterday’, so the need for speed and efficiency is an additional pressure. Speed should never compromise quality however, and skilled translators are able to manage this balance.


At Rosetta Translation we are legal translation specialists, and have been handling the translation of legal documents for more than 11 years. We work with many high-profile national and international law firms providing them with legal translation services for one off or ongoing cases.  We are well versed in the need for strict confidentiality, accuracy and fast turnaround times. Our testimonials page shares some of the feedback we get from our established clients, many of whom are lawyers.


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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

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Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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