Where Can You, And Should You, Outsource Legal Translation Services?
To answer the latter straightaway, in today’s globalising world and with multilingual communities, it is essential that a professional business works closely with an expert provider of legal translations in order to accommodate their customers and business partners. In fact, not only businesses, but also a growing number of legal professionals and firms tend to cooperate closely with agencies offering language services and specialising in the law sector, simply due to the fact that a rapidly growing number of companies and individuals trade and deals with overseas clientele.
For business owners, it is extremely important to work with a translation agency which not only specialises in translating for the legal sector in general, but also understands the particular business area the business operates in, whether it’s marketing, financial, medical, technical or commerce or the specific law sector your firm specialises in. By doing this, a company will be able to ensure that their content is accurately translated in both, standard language terms as well as sector specific jargon.
The difficult question is however, not whether you should work with a translation agency, but where to find a provider which can guarantee highest linguist standards and reliability?
You work, you learn
Having worked in the legal sector in the UK for a while now, I have also worked with a number of legal translation providers over the last 7 years. Some of them were recommended to me by my superiors or office managers, while others were strictly my choice.
At the moment, luckily, I have found myself to be in a very comfortable position in regard to outsourcing translations. In fact, I have worked with my current provider in my previous job and decided to continue cooperating with them even after changing firms, even though I was recommended another agency by my manager. Today, not only have I continued to work with the guys at Translation services 24 myself, but as it turns out, earlier this year the entire department followed my prior recommendation and have switched providers. You can find their legal translations here, if interested. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that although this particular agency is ideal for our needs, you should do your own research and find one which will be best suitable for your particular requirements and translating your materials and documents, whether it’s legal documents or anything else, and as you can see, it took my a good few years to find my preferred translation provider.
Working with different agencies throughout the years was however quite fruitful in a way. It taught me what to expect and what to demand. I now fully understand how the translation process works and how to go about different aspects of the translation industry.
For example, my current provider is able to work with over 200 different languages, pretty much from every corner of the world. Although our firm mainly deals with international clients from Russia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, we also sometimes receive an occasional enquiry from a client based elsewhere. It’s very comforting to know that we can give them an answer straightaway simply because we know that the translation agency we work with will most likely be able to cover the language. This wasn’t necessary the case with a number of my previous suppliers and so before getting back to my client, I had to double check with the translation company first to make sure that they will indeed be able to work with the given language pair, which wasn’t always the case.
Another important aspect you should pay close attention to, apart from the number of languages covered, are turnaround times. In the legal sector, many documents need to be accurately translated within short, a 24 hour or even shorter, periods. A professional translation agency will be able to deliver a reliable translation of your documents within that time, of course, within reason. When I first started dealing with legal translation providers, I expected enormous amount of work to be translated and returned within extremely short periods of time. I truly didn’t quite understand the mechanics and processes behind the service. Now I know that as a rule of thumb, I can expect around 2,500 words translated within a working day. This is really helpful as it allows me to plan ahead and prepare cases as they should be. Certainly, there are urgent situations where a faster turnaround time is needed, luckily, I have so far always been able to agree a reasonable deadline with my provider.
Last, but as they say, definitely not least, it’s important to have a good personal relationship with the account manager who deals with your content. (Hi Nello, if you’re reading this!) This is perhaps one of the main reasons why I have worked with my current provider for so many years. The account manager who has been assigned to my case from the start have worked with me throughout the time and different projects and always managed to deliver not only high-quality translations, but also great customer service. They now fully understand my requirements, have a translation memory which they use for my materials and are always happy to answer any questions I may have in regard to the translation services they offer.
As you can see, finding the right provider of legal translations can be a difficult task. For me, personally, it has only been through trial and error as well as experience that allowed me to find ‘the special one’. You may however be lucky enough to find the right provider fairly quickly, and if you’re happy with the quality and services they offer, just as I am, it may just be a relationship for years.