Legal Document Translation: The Key to Successful Business Expansions

Internal Research Conducted at Leading Language Services Provider, ASTA-USA, Shows That Successful, Global Business Expansions Have One Thing in Common

As a language service provider specializing in industry-specific translations, ASTA-USA Translation Services, INC. is frequently called upon to partner with organizations expanding into foreign markets for the first time. Whether in the automotive, legal, pharmaceutical, or manufacturing sectors, specific steps must be taken to ensure a successful global expansion. One of the most crucial components involves translating essential business documents. This is necessary to overcome language barriers that may hinder growth by causing legal complications, marketing blunders, or inaccurate information.

Which Document Translation Services Are Used Most During Foreign Market Expansions?

Because ASTA-USA works closely with a myriad of organizations amid large expansions, we are in a unique position. By examining the specific services we provide to our clients, we identified a common trend among the services provided to those with the most successful international growth strategies.

Translated Materials Types Chart

While there is a variance in our work percentages from companies expanding to new foreign markets, nearly half of them sought out legal document translation, specifically contractual materials and licensing agreements. Other materials like operations manuals, human resources paperwork, code of conduct, and privacy policies also top the list of commonly translated materials. In many cases, these organizations relied on ASTA-USA’s language translation services to translate multiple types of documents during their transition to a new market although legal documents remained the most impactful. 

Why Is It Important to Translate Legal Documents?

As showcased in our internal research, legal translation services account for 43% of the translations provided to companies that are preparing to launch in foreign markets. There are several reasons that successful businesses rely on ASTA-USA’s industry experts to translate their legal materials:

Localization Is Key

Companies that use free translation tools like Google Translate for legal document translation often experience problems when they enter new markets. This is because they focus on translating the document word for word. They fail to recognize the significance; however, of localization. Localization takes more than a language into account and ensures that the translated words make sense for the audience by examining matters like culture, technology, and other local preferences/practices. This is crucial to a successful expansion as failing to consider how the audience will respond to your translated material can be catastrophic for your bottom line. Consider conducting thorough research tools like the U.S. Census Global Market Finder Tool before choosing a specific market to branch out to. 

Legal Language Requires Expertise

Lawyers in all countries speak a different language than the general public altogether. This is commonly referred to as “legalese”. This technical jargon plays a key role in all aspects of their work. This is because the legal system mandates that the correct terminology is used in order to make legal documents enforceable within the court system. The terminology that must be included in documents varies widely from state to state and from country to country. In order to detect these subtle changes, a person conducting a legal document translation must first be familiar with this legal language and the laws of the country they are translating material to and from. 

A computer cannot recognize the intent of each clause within a legal document, nor is a general translator. When a general translator or a free document translation tool is relied upon, a lot is lost in translation. To ensure a perfect match of original intent and all salient aspects, a human translator with legal expertise is necessary. This is because there are rarely straightforward translations between languages and this is especially true when performing a legal translation. Working with a legal expert who is familiar with business laws at home and abroad is immensely beneficial in ensuring that your documents hold up in any land. 

Legal Document Translation Errors Are Costly 

When drafting an initial legal business document, a business would never hire a person without any legal experience. This is because they understand the risks associated with legal errors and loopholes. When expanding to a foreign market, it is a costly venture. It can be tempting to take shortcuts wherever possible to maximize your ROI; however, the errors using an inexperienced translator or free translator tool present will cost you down the road. There have been numerous instances of lawsuits arising due to mistakes made in translations. Whether a legal document translation contains inaccuracies or fails to abide by local regulations, businesses can lose millions due to minor errors. 

Who Translates Legal Documents for Business Expansions?

To ensure quality, precise translations of legal documents for the purpose of business expansions, it isn’t enough to work with an experienced translator. Instead, you must seek a skilled lawyer that also has the ability to translate your documents from one language to another. At ASTA-USA, we have a large network of subject matter experts, including lawyers, who can produce accurate, legal document translation in record time.

How Much Does Legal Document Translation Cost?

Are you planning to expand your business or are you otherwise in need of legal document translations? The cost of each project will vary widely depending on the number of pages, level of complexity, and overall volume of work. Follow suit with our most successful clients and request a free quote for your project, or give us a call to discuss how we can help at 1-866-446-1860.

View the full press release announcing the results of our internal research.