ULG’s Language Solutions Blog

Legal Translation's 3 Cs: Cost, Confidentiality and Change

Posted by Kenzie Shofner


Timely translation in a multilingual legal investigation can be a monumental task.

Given the often confidential nature of the information within these materials, some companies hesitate to turn to external language service providers (LSPs) for help. Despite the marked benefits of using an LSP, turning over classified information to independently contracted translators can appear counterintuitive to a company’s best interests.

On top of that, there are workflows to be considered if turning to an LSP for the first time or finding a new LSP with more legal expertise means radically changing a set translation procedure.

The 3 Cs of Legal Translation

When considering how to manage the three issues of cost, confidentiality and change, remember that an LSP with experience in multilingual legal cases considers them all as well.

Working with a knowledgeable language service provider grants you access to a number of resources, technologies and procedures that make large-scale legal translation feasible and secure. A good LSP offers so much more than just translation. Here is how LSPs assist with each of the three Cs.


How do you decide to pay an external firm to translate a huge amount of documents when it’s possible to avoid adding any cost by turning to internal resources? Maybe there’s a multilingual employee or an international office with associates who speak the given source language.

Even if you have an employee who already speaks the language you’re looking to translate, their existing duties prevent them from focusing fully on translating piles of documents. When it comes to translation in legal cases, where the smallest details can be of the utmost importance, documents require a professional translator’s full attention and time.

Utilizing an LSP is more efficient and less disruptive to your company’s workflows.


An experienced language service provider will have the proper resources and procedures in place to ensure that any and all confidential information within translated legal documents remains so.

To be hired, an independently contracted translator must have at minimum a 4-year degree and several years of translation experience within the given field. Potential translators also must prove that they have sufficient subject matter expertise and multiple references. Once hired, translators are thoroughly trained on technologies and operating procedures by the language service provider.

After the rigorous hiring and training process, translators will also sign comprehensive confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. Copies of these documents are readily available and the LSP will keep them on file.

Every step is taken to both choose a translator with experience and who can be fully trusted with potentially sensitive material. NDAs and other contracts clearly specify expectations for confidentiality.


Choosing a language service provider for the first time, or switching to new provider with more experience in legal translation may disrupt an established operating procedure. But just as LSPs know how to work efficiently and ensure confidentiality, they also understand how to make transitions easier.

Particularly if your company has had translation projects in the past, your new provider can use existing translation data to make future translation projects faster and less expensive. Databases like a translation memory and more carry over.

Transitions are difficult. But a professional LSP understands how to make changes to your translation procedures easier, not to mention profitable.

Don’t Go It Alone

Don’t attempt to tackle massive legal translation projects on your own. Your language service provider with legal experience is a huge resource for you and your company. Not only can an LSP manage the three Cs of cost, confidentiality and change, but they can act as your linguistic experts in an international investigation.

Always be sure that your LSP has extensive experience in multilingual legal cases. Here at United Language group, we offer over 35 years experience working with all legal translation and localization needs. For more news on the world of business and corporate best practices, legal translation and localization, be sure to follow ULG on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

This is part 3 of Jay Rosen's 6 part series on legal translation. Check out part 2 and part 4.




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Topics: Machine Translation, Tips & Tricks, Translation, Language Solutions