The featured picture is from a recent assignment for the federal courts in the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas)
This is a re-post of a Quora article I wrote in April 2019.
I am a Court Certified Interpreter and legal document translator and routinely interpret and translate documentation for the United States court system.
First we need to differentiate translation from interpreting.
GENERALLY speaking, for those of us in the industry, the word “translation” refers to documents and the word “interpreting” refers to audio.
When talking about legal translations, we are usually referring to the conversion of documents that are written in one language (called the source language) into another language (called the target language). These documents may have significance in the legal system of one or more countries and hence may need to be translated for use in court or any legal proceeding.
Medical and financial documents, though not considered expressly “legal” documents, may be extremely important and are routinely used in court. But in order to use a document that is in another language, your local laws usually require the documents to be translated. Hence the need for a “legal” translation.
A legal translation may refer to one made by an approved translator or one that meets certain requirements.
In the United States, different courts have different requirements, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) usually accepts a translation that is accompanied by a certificate issued by the translator, stating that the translation has been done to the best of his or her ability. They may require the translator’s place of residence and contact info. Translations done by friends or relatives are usually not accepted and may be rejected, causing extra delays and even possible denial of any pending petition.
If you have any document of legal significance in the United States, I recommend you get that document translated by an American Translator Association certified translator, a State or Federal Court certified interpreter, or a specialized legal document translation company, which can provide a certificate of accuracy to be filed along with the translation, to increase the likelihood your document being accepted.
We specialize in exhibit translation and will be glad to provide a quote for your legal document translations.