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Translating Foreign Legal Documents: What to Remember

Legal translation is a very complex task, and it’s one that not just anyone can take on. A translated legal document must be able to stand up in a court of law and therefore needs to be translated, edited, and perfected by a team of linguists who can make this happen. Here are a few things to consider about the translation process when you find you need to have a foreign legal document translated.

  • It is imperative that the team of linguists who handles the translation specialize in legal translation. Working with a non-legal translation team can seriously impact your credibility (and have possible legal ramifications) if the translated document is not found to be completely accurate and true to the original.
  • If the language pair you’re translating into/from uses a different alphabet or series of characters, supplying your translation provider with parties’ names to ensure that they are listed correctly on the translated document is vital. Otherwise, they will have to make their best guess of how to portray it phonetically. If text is difficult to decipher on the scanned copy, supply that text as well. If it is not provided, the translation team will write “[illegible]” instead of trying to make a best guess. Signatures and stamps/seals are sometimes not translated unless requested, but will include “[signature]” and “[stamp]” or “[seal]” where appropriate as well.
  • Determine whether or not you need a sworn translator to complete the work or if a letter certifying the translation will be sufficient. Sworn translators have been certified by their country to execute a sworn translated document that is legally valid and binding in his or her country. Examples of documents that must be legally valid in a foreign country—and so, are often handled by sworn translators—are birth certificates, patents, and proofs of identity such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport.

    A certified translation, on the other hand, is accompanied by a signed statement affirming that the translation is accurate and complete to the best of the translator’s knowledge. Documents used for hearings or trial, such as evidence and transcripts, can often just be accompanied by such a statement.
  • Depending on the country it will be presented in or the judge requesting the document, you may also need to have the translated documented notarized or bear an apostille. An apostille will be issued by the embassy of a country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention and is usually signed by an embassy official. Please let the agency know if an apostille or notarization is necessary for your particular document or case so that they can ensure these steps are handled on your behalf. You will also want to factor in the extra time it will take to get the notarization and apostille, as typically you must have the original translated document in hard copy to show the original seals and stamps necessary.

Since taking the appropriate steps for your translated document can make a difference in its validity in the courtroom or in other legal settings, it is important to make sure to handle them correctly. Be sure to use a professional agency or translation team and always ask any questions you may have along the way.

What the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Means for Your Law Firm

If your law firm collects, stores or uses personal data from citizens within the European Union (EU), it is important to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will mean for you. The new data protection standards put in place by the GDPR will take effect on May 25, 2018. This not only affects practices based out of countries in the EU, but will also impact U.S.-based firms that have access to data for EU citizens. Since violating the new GDPR standards could mean serious fines for your practice, we’ve put together a few key points to make sure you are ready for the May 25th changes.

  • Under the GDPR, your law firm will be considered a “data controller” as opposed to a “data processor” since you have the ability to state how and why personal data is collected.
  • The regulations do not apply just to data you collect moving forward, but retroactively as well. If you have not already taken steps to examine and assess where all of your data is stored, it is important to begin now. Your practice will need to make sure you have the ability to do the following with this data, according to the new regulation’s standards:

           - Erase a consumer’s entire data profile at their request;
           - Provide information to the consumer about exactly what data you are processing, where
              you are storing it, and the purpose this data collection serves;
           - Provide the consumer with a copy of the personal data you’ve collected on them at their

The consumer also has the right to question and fight all decisions that may impact them if the decisions were made on a purely algorithmic basis.

  • Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR could result in a fine of up to $23 million or 4% of your firm’s annual worldwide turnover. If these fines are implemented, it could put some practices out of business. There are cyber insurance policies available, but whether or not to invest in this type of service will depend on each practice’s individual needs.

The standards put in place by the GDPR are quite different from the more liberal U.S. approach to consumer data collection, so if your firm may be impacted by these changes, it is imperative that you begin preparing now for the May 25th changes to be sure your data collection methods are lawful under the new standards.

ATS Client Feature: Curry, Roby & Mulvey

ATS Client Feature: Curry, Roby & Mulvey

It's time for our latest ATS Client Feature! Each month we are sharing about some of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we're pleased to feature one of our legal services clients, Curry, Roby & Mulvey. If you're in Ohio and need a great legal counsel, check them out!Curry, Roby & Mulvey is a growing civil litigation law firm serving every county in the State of Ohio.

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