Business Translation Center

How to source the perfect legal translator

by OFER TIROSH 06/02/2018

If your company has legal documents to translate, it’s essential to use a respected, professional legal translation service. Legal translation requires a range of skills that general translation does not, so it’s important to ensure that your translator has the correct expertise. As such, below are some pointers on what to look out for in the perfect legal translator. 

Linguistic talent

Clearly, all translators need to be good with languages. However, legal translators have to take that linguistic talent to the next level. Their professional translation work involves words and phrases that most people would struggle with in just their native language. Good legal translators must navigate these terms with ease and be able to produce their equivalent in the target language, which is no simple feat. 


The best legal translators hold a range of qualifications. Some of the most common are bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in languages and law. These provide a strong foundation for a successful legal translation career. Legal translation professionals from other countries should hold corresponding qualifications. This is an area of work that requires extensive skill and the qualifications that legal translators obtain reflect that. 


As in so many professions, delivering the work successfully is about more than just academic qualifications and enthusiasm. If your business translation needs include legal documents, be sure to seek out a translator who can show evidence of his/her experience. Client testimonials can be very helpful in this respect, so be sure to do some digging online and check out what others have to say about the legal translator or translation service that you plan to use. 

Use a translation agency

Using a translation agency has a number of advantages when it comes to legal translation. Agencies maintain networks of professional translators based around the world, meaning that it is often faster and easier to access the perfect legal translator via such a service – our translation company, for example, has a network of more than 5,000 linguists. An agency with a network of this size should be able to cover a range of language pairings, as well as providing legal translation expertise, with relative ease. 

Consider a test translation

Some translators object to undertaking a test translation, as it’s essentially unpaid work that detracts from the time they can spend billing their clients. Others see it as a valid means of proving their credentials to a potential new client. From a company’s perspective, a test translation can be a good way to judge an individual’s legal translation skills. If your business plans to go down the test translation route, ensure you have the means in place to judge how good the translated copy is – otherwise the process can waste time on both sides!  

A word of warning

No article on legal translation for businesses would be complete without a word of warning about machine translation. Using a computer to translate your legal documents might seem like a cost effective option, but the quality of machine translation is not sufficient for legal translation. Always opt for professional human translation instead!   

For further information on legal translation services, please contact the Tomedes team