Montreal Translation Consulting Services:
Your Key to International Business While Being Cost-Effective

Translation consulting can mean many things. 

Often times, clients already know that they want documents translated from one language to another. In that case, they or their legal counsel hire a translator to perform a translation for them. 

But there is more to translation consulting than only the translation process.

In this blog post, we will explore the life cycle of documents and how translation consulting will do two things:

  • help lawyers and their international clients navigate the translation process and 

  • keep the costs as low as possible

Montreal Translation Consulting Services—What it doesn’t mean

Montreal Translation Consulting Blog Post Image: Woman of color working on a computer.

Let’s start by setting parameters around what translation consulting services do not include.

A translation consultant cannot replace a service professional that accompanies clients with the main task at hand.

Typically, translations are a “side-product” of a larger undertaking, such as an estate opening. If you are the heir or legally representing one, the main undertaking is to open the estate, not to just find out what it says in the will. 

Nobody gets documents translated just “for fun”. 

You will need a reason to do so.

Let’s say someone wants to make an insurance claim and needs to have medical documents and diagnoses translated for this purpose.

A specialized translation consultant can accompany them regarding what documents they have to have translated for this specific purpose, but they cannot and may not file the claim for them.

Let’s say someone would like to submit an immigration application to Canada and needs bank statements covering a certain period in a language neither the immigrant applicant nor their immigration lawyer can translate. 

This may sound unlikely, but in the age of globalization, it is not uncommon for individuals to own important documents with personal information issued in a language they do not understand.

A translation consultant who masters the language in which the documents were issued can look at your statements and tell you what period is encompassed in the statements. 

They cannot, however, determine the period itself that needs to be accounted for to submit the immigration application. 

The management of the underlying issue, whether it’s an estate opening, an immigration application, an insurance claim, or any other (legal) matter is not encompassed by the services of a translation consultant.

A translation consultant cannot replace a lawyer or another regulated services professional.

In fact, it would be illegal for a translation consulting services provider to advise you on legal matters. 

Simply put, the job of a translation consultant is to explain to you what documents need to be translated to manage the issue, but it is not their job to manage the issue for you. 

It is also not their job to know if the authority requesting the translation accepts their accreditation. For example: an international law case litigated in one country might require translations certified by a local translator. In other cases, the certification of a foreign translator may suffice.

These things are for you to examine before hiring a translator.

Montreal Translation Consulting Services—Pre-translation Document Review / Strategic Consultation

To request a translation, you need to know what document has to be translated into what language(s). 

While this sounds like an obvious statement, things can easily get complicated in that respect. 

Let’s say you’re a Nova Scotia-based lawyer and a Canadian client hires you as an estate liquidator. 

For whatever reason, the estate is opened in a Canadian province that has jurisdiction, while most of the assets are located in Germany. 

The client does not speak any German and presents a couple of hundred pages of documents in German pertaining to the assets.

Like the client, you don’t speak any German, and are unable to review these documents to determine how relevant they are.

What do you do?

Well, what you probably should do is find somebody who is qualified to understand the content of the documents. 

In other words, you will need a German-certified translator and subject-matter expert to review the documents for relevance.

Then, and only then, will you request certified translations of documents, such as bank statements, personal documents, real estate documents, wills, etc. 

Depending on the situation, the document review will take place on-site at your office or remotely. 

Today, many services previously performed in person will be taking place in a remote setting. 

Interested in discussing your translation requirements?

Montreal Translation Consulting Services—Certified Translations

Once you have determined the relevance of documents for your client’s estate opening, thanks to a German-certified translator and subject-matter expert, you will request certified translations of the documents required to manage this legal matter. 

The translator will then translate and certify the documents. 

In my practice, I have found that the best way to produce a certified translation is the following:

  • Perform an expert translation 
  • Put my official translator’s stamp on each page of both the foreign language document and the English translation
  • Stamp and sign the translator’s statement (certification page)
  • Put the translation dossier together in the following order: certification page, certified translation, foreign language document

This way, the translation dossier contains both the original language content, the translation, and my statement. 

Montreal Translation Consulting Services—Post-translation Document Review

Sometimes, clients will have documents translated outside of Canada. 

For example, your client presents a German will already translated into English. 

In principle, these translations can be used for your estate opening if two requirements are met:

  • The jurisdiction in which you open the estate accepts foreign translations
  • The translations will [normally have to have] been performed by a certified translator in the jurisdiction where the documents originate.

If no certified translator was used, then you will likely have the document re-translated or have them reviewed and certified by a Canadian-certified translator. 

In that respect, it is important to note that in Canada, translators are discouraged from certifying translations if such translations were done by someone else. 

In my practice, I recently received an email from ATIO that dealt with this specific issue, strongly urging translators not to certify translations conducted by other people. 

Many translations are of questionable quality, especially when it comes to legal translations performed by non-lawyers.

Some reviews can very well take longer than translating a document from scratch.

Determining the best practice for this case is a prime example of translation consulting. 

Should Canadian certification of the translations be required, then the translator will give you a quote for their translation/post-translation review and certification services. 

Montreal Translation Consulting Services—How to find the right service for you

  • A translator, unless they are a licensed lawyer in addition to being a translator, is not a legal professional. Whatever the legal matter you’re dealing with is about: always consult a lawyer before giving your documents to a translator.

  • Before requesting a translation, always make sure you understand the requirements of the authority requesting the translation. Then communicate those to your translator.

  • If you already have a translation, but require it to be certified for your specific purpose, be prepared to pay for the translation again. It cannot be expected of a translator to put their name and stamp under a poorly translated document. This goes especially for legal documents.

If you are looking for a translator offering certified translation services in German, English, and French, I invite you to have a look at my services or contact me directly at

Interested in discussing your translation requirements?