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7 Qualities to look for in a legal translation services provider

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A rapidly growing number of legal firms, large corporations as well as locally based businesses from the SME sector decide to form a partnership and outsource language services from reputable translation agencies. In today’s globalising world, as communities become more multicultural and multilingual, markets grow bigger and distances between countries get smaller. In the era of technology and widely available internet, companies are able to trade with each other, their partners and potential clients without the need to even have a physical presence in the foreign market. In many cases all that’s necessary is digital presence in form of a website and social media channels, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Indeed, as international trading becomes a norm in our everyday lives, both professional and personal, agencies offering professional translation services are in the centre of attention. Law firms and businesses from different sectors decide to approach translation companies in order to form partnerships, which will allow them to trade cross-border and with international clientele with ease.

Choosing the best translation provider can however be a difficult process, especially within the legal environment. There is a number of different factors which directly or indirectly impact the quality of your translation and so before forming a partnership with such company, you should ensure that all steps were taken in order to choose an agency which can guarantee the highest quality of work, and which will be able to help your company grow within a foreign market or acquire foreign clients.

A good translation agency speciating in legal translation services should meet a number of qualities and standards, here are some of them.

  1. Legal translation services in many languages

As large, international law firms often work with clients from a number of different countries and regions of the world, they are required to work with materials and documents in a number of languages. Although multilingual staff is now pretty much a standard in larger firms, such personnel often simply do not have not only the time, but also the legal power to professionally translate and certify legal documents, and so working with translation companies is essential. The number of languages covered can indicate the size of an agency. If a translation company is only able to cover a few languages, it may be very inconvenient for a law firm to work with such agency. On the other hand, some translation providers are able to cover legal translations in over 200 different languages and dialects from every corner of the world.

As you can imagine, working closely with such providers can prove extremely beneficial for firms which work with international clientele or deal with partners overseas. In the UK, there are only few translation agencies which are able to cover more than 200 languages. One of them, a London based TS24, specialises in legal translation services and you can find their legal translations here. Other translation agencies which cover the legal sector and work in a significant number of languages include Language Reach London and LawCity.

  1. Sector expertise

Within any specific business sector, people tend to use jargon and lingo which would be difficult to understand for an ‘outsider’. Consequently, in order to achieve the highest standard of translation work, it is important to work with a provider which specialises in the legal sector. Often, translation agencies work with linguists who have previous experience and knowledge of a particular business sector, whether it’s legal, marketing or technical. Before starting to work with a translation company, make sure that they specialise not only in the legal sector, but also in the specific area of the law your firm focuses on.

  1. Translation samples

One of the best ways of checking the quality of work of a translation agency is asking for them to provide translation samples and then checking the samples internally. A professional company will usually be happy to provide such samples, of course, depending on the size of your project etc.

  1. Turnaround times

Legal sector can be extremely demanding and stressful. Many documents need to be accurately translated within very short periods of time, and so it is important for firms to work with companies which are able to turnaround documents swiftly, without compromising the quality. As a rule of thumb, you should expect around 2,000 words reliably translated within 24 hours.

  1. Officially accredited

A translation agency working with official or legal documents must meet very rigorous criteria. To put simply, not everyone can translate and certify legally recognised documents. Only an officially accredited agency will be able to provide a certification or proof of accuracy. When choosing a provider, look for ISO standards or the ATC (Association of Translation Companies) credentials. Only such agencies will be officially allowed to certify your documents, therefore making them legally recognisable.

  1. Customer service

Working with a translation agency for many law firms happens on daily basis. In many cases, an agency will assign a dedicated account manager to your firm in order to keep consistency throughout the work. Customer service is an important part of the experience.

  1. Native translators

When choosing a translation provider, it is extremely important that they are able to provide translations completed by native speakers of the target language. Often, law, social norms as well as custom vary from country to country and so working with a native speaker will ensure that both, the language itself as well as any local nuances are fully understood and reliably translated.

Choosing the best translation provider for your law firm can be challenging. There are many factors which can influence your decision. From the number of languages covered to ensuring that the company covers translations for your particular law area and are able to provide fast turnaround times. Professional relationship with the account manager dealing with you and the level of customer care they provide is also very important as in many cases you will be dealing with them on the daily basis.

Many agencies specialise in a given business sector, whether it’s marketing, legal, financial or technical area. For law firms and legal professionals, it’s essential to work with a translation agency which has previous experience in translating legal documents. A list of reputable clients who work or have worked with the agency may be a good indication of the company’s quality of work. You will also be able to find out more information about the provider by speaking directly to the account manager or by reading reviews. Third party websites such as Google Reviews are a great source of information about a company and their quality of work.

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