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Legal translation is no joke. It requires not only linguistic proficiency but also a deep understanding of legal terminologies and procedures. A single mistranslation can lead to severe consequences, such as immigration denials, contract disputes, and even court sanctions. That’s why it is crucial to work with a trusted language service provider that has a proven track record in delivering accurate and professional legal translations. In this article, we will share some of the best practices that we follow in legal translation at Hansem Vietnam and how they can help you achieve your legal and business goals.

Scripted by
Thao Pham

1. Use qualified and experienced legal translators

Legal translation is a complex and specialized field that requires skilled and experienced translators. Legal translators not only have to master the language, but also the law of both the source and target countries. They must convey the meaning and purpose of the original text accurately and clearly, without losing any nuances or implications.

To be qualified for legal translation, translators typically have a strong background in law or extensive experience working in the legal field. This enables them to understand the intricacies of legal terminology and concepts, and to apply them correctly in different contexts. They also must be familiar with the specific regulations and conventions that govern legal writing in both languages.

For example, how should we translate the term “Specific performance” into Vietnamese? Should we use “Nghĩa vụ cụ thể” or “Buộc thực hiện nghĩa vụ”? Only translators who have legal knowledge can tell that “Specific performance” refers to the performance of a contractual duty, as ordered in cases where damages would not be an adequate remedy. Therefore, the correct translation is “Buộc thực hiện nghĩa vụ.”

2. Pay attention to details

The Civil Code 2005 vs the Civil Code 2015? If you mix up the year of the law, you’ll have a big problem!

Details matter a lot in legal translation. A small mistake can change the meaning and validity of your translated legal documents.

In Vietnamese legal translation, it is generally encouraged to maintain the original writing style of the source language, including capitalization. However, translators must also be aware of the specific regulations that govern the capitalization of terms in the relevant field or company. For example:

Rental Agreement = Hợp Đồng Cho Thuê N

Ministry of Education and Training = BGiáo dục và Đào tạo

Chief Executive Officer = Giám đốc điều hành

If your client doesn’t give you a specific style guide, be consistent. You can use reliable sources, like Microsoft’s style guide, to help you. It’s important to pay close attention to these details and follow the right conventions to make sure your work is accurate and professional.

3. Maintain confidentiality

Maintaining confidentiality is of utmost importance in legal translation due to the sensitive nature of legal documents.

“Confidentiality is not only a matter of professional ethics; it is also a matter of law.”

Any illegal disclosure of a document or client’s information can lead to severe consequences, including legal ramifications, damage to professional reputation, loss of client trust and business relationships, ethical violations, professional sanctions, and potential financial liabilities. Translators must handle client information with the utmost care and adhere to strict confidentiality protocols.

4. Keep up to date with legal regulations

Sometimes legal translators may encounter outdated regulations in the documents they are translating. This can happen when the drafter of the document is unaware of the changes in the law or when the document is based on an old template or precedent.

What should legal translators do in such cases?

Here are some tips for you:

Verify the accuracy of the information: Before taking any action, the translator should ensure that the regulation is indeed outdated and no longer applicable. It’s important to double-check with reliable sources, such as official government websites, legal authorities, or subject matter experts.

Document the outdated regulation: The translator should make a record of the specific regulation, including its title, date, and any relevant details. This documentation will be useful when discussing the issue with relevant parties or authorities.

• Inform the client or project manager: If the outdated regulation directly affects a translation project, the translator should promptly notify the client or project manager about the discovery. Provide them with documented information and explain why it is considered outdated.

• Seek guidance from legal or subject matter experts: In cases where the implications of the outdated regulation are unclear or could potentially lead to legal issues, the translator should consult with legal professionals or subject matter experts. These individuals can provide guidance and help determine the appropriate course of action.

• Follow instructions from the client or project manager: Based on the client or project manager’s guidance and instructions, the translator should proceed accordingly. This may involve omitting the outdated regulation from the translation, providing alternative updated information, or seeking further clarification from the client.


In conclusion, legal translation can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can become a smooth and successful process. By working with a trusted language service provider like Hansem Vietnam, you can ensure that your legal documents are translated accurately, professionally, and on time. Let us assist you in your legal and business needs, and you can focus on what’s important for you.

About Hansem Global

Hansem Global is an ISO Certified and globally recognized language service provider. Since 1990, Hansem Global has been a leading language service company in Asia and helping the world’s top companies to excel in the global marketplace. Thanks to the local production centers in Asia along with a solid global language network, Hansem Global offers a full list of major languages in the world. Contact us for your language needs!