Certified Legal Translation and the Risk of Online Legal Forms

We’ve blogged about the importance of professional multilingual legal translation services and attorney-client privilege, and about certified legal translations of license agreements. When conducting an international legal transaction – such as purchasing real estate overseas – it may be tempting to skip the legal fees and take a ‘do it yourself’ approach via online legal forms. However, such standardized forms are always risky (at best) – and when they are used for international legal purposes the risk rises to the level of dangerous.

Another area where this can be an issue is creating trust via online legal forms. For example, one may use an online legal form to create a living will that, if done properly, could have the benefit of lowering one’s tax liability. However, a standardized legal form knows nothing about such possible benefits (which are highly dependent on individual circumstances).

When these forms are for a foreign transaction, one is often dependent on the provided foreign language translation of the forms offered by the online program. In fact, many attorneys are tempted to use these foreign jurisdiction forms in order to file basic transactions in a foreign jurisdiction. Yet doing so opens the door for malpractice claims – not only because they often fail to provide all the legal benefits an individual may be entitled to, but also because when a foreign language is involved, they fail to fully inform the individuals of their integrity and legal soundness.

Up Next: Legal Language Services and the Ethics of Advertising in a Foreign Language

All Language Alliance

by Legal Translator & Court Interpreter

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