Legal translation is in a league of its own. If you own or manage a legal translation agency, or have a legal translation section in a large translation agency, the quality of your legal translators is a very important consideration. Here are some criteria you might use to shortlist a suitable certified legal document translator.
Native Language Translators Only
You will probably be trying to find translators for legal document translation who are native speakers of at least one other language. Given that there is a need for legal knowledge as well, or at least familiarity with legal terminology it is less important to select translators who profess to have fluency in several different languages. The ability to translate from English to say German and have a sound knowledge of both legal systems is more important than a translator who claims to understand several different European languages.
Familiarity With The Legal System of Both Countries
At the very minimum, this means being able to prove that the translator has had several years experience living in both countries where the languages to be translated are spoken. Note that there may be considerable difference between the legal systems of countries despite sharing the same language. Argentina, for example, uses Spanish in its legal system, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Argentinean law is the same as Spanish law. However, it does probably mean that familiarity with legal terminology because of experience in Argentina will be of use if translating Spanish anywhere where it is spoken.
National Certification or Accreditation May Be Needed
This depends on where you are based. Some countries, such as Australia, stipulate that important translation, such as much legal document translation, is done by translators who hold accreditation with NAATI, the national accreditation authority for translators and interpreters. This is not a requirement in the U.S., however.
Finding translators for legal document translation for your own firm is a balancing act between good mastery of the language, familiarity with legal terminology and the law in both countries where the languages are to be translated and accreditation or certification where necessary.