How to get a legal translation quote

What are the important things to keep in mind when requesting a quote for legal translation? Answering this question is essential to the success of your translation. The demand for legal translation is growing as globalization accelerates and transnational legal documentation demands keep pace. Many cases in institutional law, business law and family law require certified translations from qualified legal translators.

For example, since the COVID has a global scope, what are the legal implications in different countries? How do you go about a binational divorce? How do you set up the legal protection of students studying abroad? There are many casus belli requiring careful legal translations. These first examples alone show that, even more than in any other field, legal translation can leave absolutely no room for error.

Moreover, legal translation is all the more complex because it mixes it is technical and the cultural at the same time. Indeed, the technical part is the terminological requirements found in different locales. The other part is cultural. Law is essentially a social science fully rooted in language, life and worldviews of a given society.

A good legal translation also implies, beyond mastery of terminology and the subject matter of the law suit, the translator has a certain linguistic finesse and a clear understanding of the cultural representations underlying the legal terms of the target language. In short, an optimal legal translation requires two very different skills: technical rigor and linguistic finesse.

How to get a legal translation quote?

Let’s start with a basic question: How do I get a legal translation quote? There are several channels of communication that are usually available from translation agencies. Let’s quickly go through them, from the fastest to the slowest.

Requesting a legal translation quote by form

The fastest way to get a legal translation quote is definitely to request a quote online. ABC Translations asks for essential information such as your contact information, the source and target language for the translation, the approximate number of words to be translated, and a description of your project to understand all the issues.

Request a legal translation quote by e-mail

Next, you can opt for the more traditional e-mail to the company. This will take more time, but you will also have the opportunity to detail your request. This is also a good way to get an initial idea of the quality of the customer service, depending on the speed, tone and personalization of the response email you receive.

Request a legal translation quote by phone

Finally, there is the telephone. Unlike the online quote, making a phone call may not be feasible 24 hours a day. But it is certainly the best option if you want to explain a very specific request, get advice or simply if you prefer a traditional discussion to asynchronous messaging.

Get a direct quote and start your translation project

ABC Translations also offers you the possibility of using its self-service platform. You upload the documents to be translated on the website and enter the source and target languages. You will get a price quote directly online and will be able to place an order.

Nevertheless, legal translation requires specific skills, which is why we recommend that you contact us directly using the contact form or by phone to speak with a project manager. You will then be able to benefit from all the experience of a real translation agency to help you carry out your legal translations.

Legal translation quote with specific needs

The communication channel you choose to request a legal translation quote also depends on the specifics of your translation. First, is it a certified translation or not? . This type of translation can be requested by certain administrations. Then, beyond asking for a translator who “knows the law”, in particular in the target language in order to know the specificities of the local law and to adapt the content to be translated, it is possible that you need a precise legal specialty. And there are many, from maritime law to insurance law, stock exchange law and family law.

Checklist of points to remember when requesting a legal quote

With that in mind, we’d like to move on to the second part of our article. This part will focus on practical issues, with a checklist of points to remember when requesting a legal quote.

Know the stats

As with other types of translation, it is a good idea to prepare the word count in advance (available in the “Statistics” tab of Word). But if you don’t know it, don’t worry. Contact ABC Translations and we will help you with all these steps.

Consider flexible deadlines in multilingual projects

Determine your deadline (taking into account, for example, the deadlines imposed by the administration requesting this or that document). With respect to deadlines, be aware of two things: On one hand, if you are planning a multilingual translation or a large volume of words, hard deadlines can be set for each language, typically at different speeds per language.

Avoid online translation tools for privacy reasons

Remember to check the privacy policy. This is a crucial point in a legal translation quote. Here, an agency will be much more reassuring than an online translation tool. Where a human translation can guarantee absolute confidentiality, an online tool cannot because it feeds on the translations performed to further its deep learning. In short, avoid translating your legal content on Google Translate.

The translators need legal and specialized domain knowledge

Make sure that your translator has a good command of the legal field in question. Indeed, for some documents, a simple mention of law is not always enough, you need a real expertise in this or that branch of law.

There are socialized aspect to legal translations

Do not be too quick to think that a legal translation is purely technical. In fact, law is broadly a social science (just like geography or sociology). The law therefore combines technical aspects with cultural knowledge. For example, Anglo-Saxon law is very different from Roman law. Your translator must therefore be familiar not only with the target language, but also with the history of its legal system. This can be even more difficult because the languages and legal systems do not always overlap. For example, civil law (based on principles and inherited from France) and common law (leaving more room for jurisprudence and inherited from England) coexist in Canada. Similarly, certain terms have to be translated even though the language is the same: “Garde des Sceaux” is called “ministre de la Justice” in Belgium. The term “Conseil de prud’hommes” is only used in France. It will also be necessary to ensure that vague terms (such as “good morals” in French, or “the best interests of the child” in English) are accurately translated. Finally, cultural aspects not directly related to the law can strongly interfere in the translation: the neutral gender is recognized in Germany but not necessarily in other countries, for example. Should inclusive writing be translated? Should the terms “father” and “mother” be kept or replaced by “parents” (using the words available in the target language)?

Specify who will be using the legal translation

Be sure to indicate in your instructions who you are translating for. Depending on whether it is a European institution or the administration of a country with a stronger, less “universal” culture, the terms used will not necessarily be the same. The law is more linked than one might think to the sensitivity of a country as expressed through its language and its evolution..

What to do when the request for a legal translation quote is particularly complex?

When you request a legal translation quote, are there a lot of specific instructions? Do you have a tight deadline, a multilingual project, high confidentiality requirements, or all of these at once? In this case, it is best to take the time to explain everything to a company with expertise in legal translations and who is committed to your success.

ABC Translations is a professional translation agency with many years of experience with dedicated project managers to assist you with your legal translation project. ABC Translations can provide you with native translators in the language of your choice who are specialized in legal translation.

Nathan Woods

About the author

Nathan is a lead project manager with over 16 of experience directing translation projects, as well as website and software localization projects.

ABC Translations