Calgary Translation Services:
3 Compelling Reasons Why A Certified Translator Is The Solution You Need For Your Legal Translations

Let’s be honest, everyone wants to save time and money.

Thankfully, there are strategies and plans you can put in place to guarantee both, even for small law firms that don’t have the resources for in-house translators and must outsource. 

But, as a small law firm, you have to be careful who you outsource to.

Choosing just any freelance translator is a bad idea. 

Anyone who knows a language can slap on the title of “translator”; there aren’t really any requirements to be one (of course, unless they go and get certified). 

That isn’t to imply that non-certified translators can’t or don’t do a wonderful job. I’ve reviewed near to perfect translations done by non-certified translator colleagues, and below-average translations by certified translators. 

Moreover, the definition of what a certified translator is differs around the globe. 

But when selecting between a certified translator and a non-certified translator, certification can be an indicator for professionalism. Unfortunately, there aren’t many translators who have gone through the process of getting certified in a Canadian province

What’s more, not many non-certified translators are experienced and specialized – which potentially leaves small law firms with inexperienced translators who can’t certify or who don’t have relevant experience with the complexities of legal terminology.

Legalese is a language on its own, a very complicated one that requires experience, expertise, patience, and the right tools to guarantee consistency, accuracy and precision. A certified translator with a legal background is aware that context in these cases is far more important than word for word translation. 

In other words, a certified translator is what you need. 

Let’s talk about three reasons why.

Calgary Translation Services: Choosing a Certified Translator Matters for Quality Assurance and Risk Management

Calgary Translation Services Blog Post Image: White woman working on a laptop.

Specialization is crucial when it comes to hiring a translator for your legal documents. 

That being said, specialization in and of itself isn’t required to be a certified translator. Or to be a translator at all. However, it is highly recommended to entrust your documents to someone who isn’t only an expert in legal documents, but also a certified translator, if given the option.


There is a general understanding that it is hard to prove that a translation error directly caused any damages. That isn’t to imply that translators shouldn’t exercise maximum caution in their work, though. And many translators, certified or not, will have errors and omissions insurance to protect themselves against potential claims. 

But the emphasis on being sued for damages overshadows a much more likely scenario: a certified translator losing their licence, or at least being subject to disciplinary action by their certification board. 

The more one has to lose, the more likely that person will probably be to apply extra caution. 

We all want to live in a world where choosing a professional based on what they have to lose in case of errors isn’t a determining factor in our decision-making process. However, until someone comes up with a new world order, this is what most of us end up doing to project our business, reputation, and finances. 

Selecting a certified translator will give you peace of mind when outsourcing translations.

Calgary Translation Services: Achieving Excellence and Building Trust in Translation through Specialization

This ties into what has been discussed in the previous section. Translating anything from cookbooks to medical diagnoses to legal documents may be a good way to get your name out there as a non-certified translator, at least short-term. 

But for a certified translator, it can be a pathway to disciplinary action.


Well, a translator’s error rate grows if they don’t filter texts and don’t commit to certain types of translation work. From my perspective, any certified translator who doesn’t focus on two to maximum three niches doesn’t only confuse clients, they also put their reputation and licence into jeopardy. 

Is it really worth making a couple of hundred dollars here and there, if it means you translate a text that isn’t in your field of expertise?

Speaking of fees: Specialist translators charge an average of 29% more than generalists. 

And that leads to generalist translators being more likely to take on any translation mandate, even if it’s not in their field of expertise. Simply because they need to work more for the same amount of money. The lower costs may be appealing, but the long-term costs can be damaging to your business. 

Let me ask you this: Do you trust a doctor who says they can perform a hip replacement surgery, do a nose job, and remove a brain tumour all at once?

I hope not.

The same goes for translations.

In my practice, I focus on legal, business, and financial translations. I often get requests to translate technical manuals and other texts that aren’t in my field of expertise. Either I decline these mandates, or I outsource them to a trusted colleague, normally another certified translator.

That really is the only way to make sure I provide my clients the service they deserve while staying out of trouble.

Calgary Translation Services: Ensuring Accountability and Efficiency in Official Document Translation with Certified Translators

This point depends on where and how your translation will be used. In my previous blog post, I discussed the different ways translations are managed and classified, depending on the place of business and jurisdiction.

As I laid out, in civil law countries, the sworn translator is generally required for translations to be used at court level. Canadian institutions frequently require the certified translator. 

While a certified translation in Canada doesn’t necessarily require a certified translator, it is highly recommended to hire one when it comes to legal and official documents.

Again, the question of potentially being able to hold the translator accountable in case of errors is an important factor.

Many immigration lawyers have told me that certified translations performed by non-certified translators they submitted to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada were either not accepted at all, or slowed down the process. All because the official insisted on a certified translator’s stamp that wasn’t even legally required. 

Just look at the case of Mr. Gorgulu, who was almost deported from Canada for providing a translation by a non-certified translator to the Canadian government. His story is a scary reminder that hiring a certified translator really is the only way to protect one’s interest when it comes to providing translations for official use. 

On this note, let’s look at the fee difference between certified translations without a certified translator’s stamp and certified translations with a certified translator’s stamp.

When it comes to one-page translations, prices for certified translations generally start at CAD 59 per page, whereas certified translations with a certified translator’s stamp start at CAD 99 per page. 

From my perspective, saving CAD 40 isn’t worth the hassle of potentially having to re-submit a translation and, thus, extending government waiting times. 

Calgary Translation Services:
3 Compelling Reasons Why A Certified Translator Is The Solution You Need For Your Legal Translations

When it comes to translations of legal and official documents, you want to hire someone who is specialized, aware of the risk they’re taking on by performing a translation, and whose credentials are accepted by the institutions that require the translations.

Hiring a certified translator ensures that these requirements are met. 

If you have any German, English, or French legal documents that need to be translated into English, French, or German, I invite you to take a look at my services or send me a message directly right here, so you can get a quote within 24 business hours.