Documents in various fields of law contain information that requires an understanding of multiple aspects of the legal systems of different countries in order to be translated. When performing a legal translation one should observe the formalism of speech constructions, concreteness of word blocks, apply terminology specific to a particular legal field, know and understand the realities of legal systems in different countries and use


Translation of legal documentation implies the use of formalized word constructions which correspond to the stylistics of the lexical constructions. For legal texts the terminological component is of particular importance. The selection of Russian-language equivalents corresponding to the original language is complicated by the frequent lack of the necessary verbal units in the latter. When interpreting the meaning of a message, in addition to selecting the exact meanings of narrow-cut words, it is necessary to formulate sentences, replacing one term with several words describing it, taking into account the accepted stylistic norms.

Legal texts are characterized by:

terminological versatility of concepts;
saturation with definitions, clich├ęs;
frequent use of constructionally complex turns of speech;
the semantic dependence of the terms on the grammatical structure of the language.
Translation of legal documentation performed with a “free” interpretation of certain lexemes can lead to a significant distortion of the legal essence of the concepts. Incorrect use of language that conveys the meaning of a term, the exact analogue of which does not exist in Russian, may result in litigation and lawsuits. Especially, if one should take into consideration the fact that a document in the original language has legal force, and all the claims and disputes will be considered according to the original document, which means that if the translation is done by an unqualified translator, there is a probability that the translator cannot understand all the details of the agreement or contract.

Specifics of

The specifics of legal documentation interpretation lies in the difference in legislative systems used in different countries. Lexical and syntactic peculiarities inherent in formalized documents complicate the translation of treaties, contracts and agreements.

When interpreting phrases and turns of phrase, one should take into account regional, cultural, political and social features of the country, which influence the correctness of speech constructions.

A considerable number of branches of law require understanding their specificity. At the same time, the meanings of one term in some spheres are different. It is necessary to carefully analyze the legal affiliation of the text to a certain sphere and select the correct analogues, taking into account the terminological features of the vocabulary of both languages.


The increase in the flow of documents, which can be observed in the intensive development of partnerships between different companies, is one of the reasons for the popularity of legal translation. Among its many applications, translation is in demand:

agreements, contracts, commercial contracts, requiring a high speed of implementation with a sufficiently large amount of work and characterized by the complexity of the coordination of details and contractual clauses;
constitutional documents, which implies accurate interpretation of the terms, abbreviations, legal addresses, details;
Legislative acts of international level, which is considered the easiest because of the presence of repetitive language and terms;
template documents (passports, letterheads, diplomas, driving licenses) with apostille, notarization, which is characterized by the complexity of interpreting the names, correctness of dates, etc.

Qualification of translator

In order to ensure high quality of legal translation a professional legal translator shall

Master the terminology accepted for the language of the original document and the language of translation;
comply with the stylistic norms characteristic of speech constructions in both languages
accurately and clearly interpret phraseology, definitions, avoiding ambiguous language;
correctly use glossaries, dictionaries of terminology specific to a particular legal field;
have sufficient practical experience in translating highly specialized legal documentation.
The sphere of application of legal documentation and, accordingly, legal translations is very wide, and each translator sooner or later decides on the type of documents he or she is best suited to translate, be it charters, contracts, agreements, or legislative acts. However, an experienced specialist must competently translate legal texts in any legal field.