Are Immigrants Lost in Translation for Legal Work?

Many economies around the world are based on immigrants and their hard labor. Most of them don’t have the qualifications necessary to find a high-paying, secure job. They might not even have the documents required to find legitimate employment and have to resort to being hired by shady companies.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for immigrant workers to be completely unaware of their rights and work long hours without being paid for overtime. On top of that, some have to endure sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Their employer is most often fully dedicated to making a profit instead of proper working conditions, so such issues remain unaddressed.

If immigrant workers demand better working conditions or fair wages, it will probably do them no good. Their employer may even choose to retaliate by cutting salaries or sending immigration authorities after whoever placed the complaint. 

However, every immigrant can easily avoid ending up in such a situation by investing in translation for legal work. That kind of service is best performed by specialist translators with required legal knowledge. They can provide an immigrant worker with accurately translated documents promptly and effectively. 

But how does legal translation work? Is it that different from a regular translation? And why does it seem to be so inaccessible to such a large number of immigrant workers?

What Is Legal Translation?

Like every other type of translation, legal translation is the process of translating words from a source language to a target language. It can be applied to any kind of text related to legal matters, from a birth certificate to a court transcript. 

Unlike many other types of translation, it requires a vast understanding of the legal systems in both languages. It allows the translator to accurately match legal terms that exist in the source language to their equivalents in the target language.

Potential Translation Issues

A translator who specializes in legal translation has to deal with terminological gaps on a daily basis. Such gaps are words that exist in the source language but don’t have corresponding counterparts in the target language.

Sometimes entire linguistic structures might not exist in the target language. Consequently, legal translation requires a certain amount of linguistic knowledge related to translation theory. Only then will a translator have the ability to identify such vital issues and deal with them effectively. 

Are Legal Translation Services Inaccessible to Immigrant Workers?

Even though legal translation services might seem like a necessity when someone is looking for employment abroad, many people perceive them as inconvenient or too expensive. They might choose to go for a cheaper translator or even a bilingual friend. Such alternatives don’t have the knowledge necessary for an accurate translation of legal documents, or even translation in general.

However, bear in mind that numerous immigrant workers are faced with financial difficulties in their countries of origin. In most cases, poverty is the exact reason why they decide to look for employment abroad in the first place. As a result, they try to save up money wherever they can by cutting corners. 

In that scenario, a legal translation might seem like a pricey luxury that’s simply out of their reach. It’s even more difficult for those who live in rural areas that can be utterly devoid of things that most of us take for granted, such as basic healthcare. They might not even be aware of the existence of specialist translators. 

Consequently, many immigrant workers leave their home countries without the documentation needed for finding legal employment. And there are thousands of people out there who are ready to use them for their financial gain.


All in all, legal translation services are crucial to immigrant workers, though not all of them are aware of that. As a result, they are very likely to fall prey to companies who will openly disrespect their rights and won’t care about their wellbeing. After all, it’s common for immigrant workers to be underpaid, overworked, and discriminated against.

Against popular belief, many companies who specialize in translation offer very reasonable prices. On top of that, they employ specialist translators who, unlike most freelance translators, are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to translate all kinds of legal documents with outstanding accuracy. 

Additionally, using such services is especially beneficial to workers dealing with strict deadlines, who need their documents to be translated as soon as possible. Most translation companies can provide their clients with the necessary documents on very short notice!

Rylie Holt