Legal translation: how to maintain quality while reducing cost?



Guaranteeing low costs without compromising quality is possible, but it requires an investment now to reap the benefits in the future.

Avoiding legalese – clear language

Even if a specialized legal translator can understand and transpose content into his or her native language, an overly dense and complex text can be an obstacle to comprehension.

Translators tend to be highly faithful to the original text, especially in the area of law. As such, more formal or watertight technical terms which hamper an understanding of the message in the original language will tend to carry over into the translation (with an identical effect, and with additional time spent by translators to find the equivalent term in the other language).

Whenever you have documents to be translated, avoid the overly long sentences and convoluted syntax which characterize legal documents. Trying to say the same thing and upholding the text's strength using other words will ensure that the translated versions will be faster and less expensive while still having the same legal force.

Invest in creating glossaries and style guides to clearly specify to translators the preferred translations for specific terms and how to write in the target language. Clarifying the desired register beforehand helps translators find the best wording and the correct terms. Furthermore, it significantly reduces the time spent on refinements once the translation is delivered.

Use templates

Thanks to translation memories, there is no need to retranslate every sentence from scratch. Those which have already been translated can be validated and reused, thus saving time. Therefore, we recommend using document templates to allow more identical sentences or clauses between contracts, statements or agreements, for example. In this way, a more significant discount can be given (which results in cost savings) without compromising the document's final quality.


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