Legal Document Translations
Protect Foreign Language Speaking Californians

Legal document translations protect non-English-speaking consumers from entering into business transactions they don’t understand. The Consumer Protection for New Californians Bill of 2004, for example, was designed to protect foreign language speakers from being tricked into signing contracts and other legally binding agreements that they cannot understand, or that are not accompanied by a foreign language translation. Specifically, the bill required certain businesses to provide translation of contracts into the four major Asian languages: Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

This is in addition to a law passed nearly 30 years ago that provided similar protection to Spanish-speaking consumers.

According to the terms of the Act, any business that negotiates in one of the prescribed foreign languages must also provide a contract either in that foreign language, or a foreign language translation of the corresponding English-language contract.

The bill has been codified under Section 1632 of the California Civil Code. Essentially, the law requires that any trade or business that negotiates a conditional sales contract or lease primarily in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, or Vietnamese to:

1) Provide a written translation of the contract in the primary language the contract was negotiated, and

2) Display a notice in the language the contract was negotiated, stating that a contract translation must be provided to the customer.

More so, according to the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 455, if a business conducts its sales in Spanish, it must have the “Buyer’s Guide” and contract disclosures available in Spanish.

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