The importance of accurate legal translations when selling/buying a home abroad

As it is increasingly easy to move around the world, more and more people decide to live and work in other countries, and/or to own property there. They may plan to move overseas after retirement, or would want to invest in real estate while it is cheap, or simply want to own a place in a foreign country that they fancy. Over the past decade or so, buying and selling home abroad has become commonplace. Usually, a major reason for buying property overseas is that as a rule it tends to be a lot cheaper than in your home country, and you will get much more quality for the same money.

certified translation servicesOwning a home abroad is a great idea, but is not always so easy to realize it. Nevertheless, although there are certain problems with buying abroad, judging by the popularity of this action benefits by far outweigh the challenges. Still, while it is common opinion that buying property abroad is a good investment, one needs to be really smart about what, where and how to either buy or sell. Indeed, when it comes to buying or selling property abroad, it is important to be careful of whom you deal with and vigilant not get cheated, therefore often it is best to act on property related issues through a respectable agency rather than via a private sale. And, it is crucial to pay great attention to all relevant documents, and be well acquainted with the details of local regulations. The legal system and procedures to follow may appear very different from those experienced at home. Therefore, one should be aware that due to not being a resident in the respective country there may emerge significant costs and risks that come with such transactions.

An additional and specific difficulty appears to be a foreign language that often makes it difficult both to negotiate and to understand paperwork, creating the need for someone to translate legal documents and interpret during negotiations. However, frequently problems with real estate sale arise because lawyers and translators/interpreters who had been recommended by interested parties are not to be fully trusted. In particular, if the language of the jurisdiction in which one intends to conduct a property related transaction causes a problem, it is crucial that accurate legal translation of all contracts and other relevant documents is made by an independent and highly qualified sworn translator, and that a professional interpreter accompanies you to all meetings. When getting acquainted with local legislation, it is equally important to rely solely on official translations of relevant laws and regulations. Accordingly, when signing the contractual and financial documents, one should trust only the certified and notarized translation of such documents.

Translating legal documents is a very complex task and it can only be done by professionals who should possess official certification for such services. When buying or selling a home, one cannot afford to make any mistakes, as sometimes even minor error may cause huge damages resulting in lawsuits and legal exposure consuming valuable time and resources. In particular, some mistranslations can cause very serious damage to business transactions. Therefore, it is important to understand what is a certified translation and who can provide it in the country in question. Thus, when looking for the reliably legal translation services before buying or selling property abroad, the best option for obtaining high quality certified translation would be to contact respectable certified translation services.

Glossary

• Translation – communicates the substance of a source-language text by producing a target-language text with equivalent content, thus interpreting the meaning of the source text and attempting to produce exactly the same meaning in another language. Translation is usually characterized by fidelity or accuracy (i.e. faithfully conveying the full meaning of the original text), and transparency (i.e. producing grammatically correct and idiomatic text characterized by full functional equivalence, to be perceived as if produced by a native speaker in his/her own language).

• Official translation, legal translation – legally recognized translation of official documents such as laws, regulations, contracts, or certificates, intended for official use and for being presented to authorities at home and abroad. Accuracy is the single most important quality legal translation should exhibit. Personal documents are commonly considered to be official if translated by certified (or sworn) translator, and preferably notarized. However, for the translation of a piece of legislation to be considered as official it should be up-to-date, also issued and/or recognized by respective state authority or by relevant international organization in case of international legislation.

• Sworn translator/interpreter – in some countries, interpreters and translators can register with an official body as a “sworn translator” and therefore be recognized by authorities such as court officials and state agencies as trusted to translate and legalize official documents (often referred to as producing a ‘certified translation’). As a rule, sworn translators have passed special examination and taken a general oath at a respective level of the judiciary system, having proven their particular professional expertise and personal aptitude to act as language professionals for courts, official authorities and notaries. Sworn translators therefore acquire a quasi public authority.

• Certified and notarized translation – is translation that makes legal documents valid in certain jurisdictions, for which purpose it should be certified by an expert legal translation agency, declared to be “true to the original” and notarized by a public notary or a solicitor whose task is to witness that the individual (translator) who came to the office signed the document in their presence. Such documents may appear legally valid both in the country of the translator and in a foreign land.

• Certified translation services – an agency or company that is officially recognized and entitled by respective authorities to provide translation services of certain kind, commonly including the certified legal translation of official documents (contracts, birth and graduation certificates, etc.). Such agencies can be trusted by customers to employ professional translators and interpreters with comprehensive knowledge of the culture, language, law, as well as the local and professional lingo.