Do you need a legal translator for your legal directory submissions?

August 31, 2021
Posted in Blogs
August 31, 2021 Giseli Farias

Legal directories are highly valued in Latin American and Iberian markets. The benefits of gaining a high ranking in a legal directory are well recognised. As such, many firms in this region are heavily invested and involved in the legal directory submissions process.

But for firms with few native-English speakers, the process can be even more labour intensive than usual. Requiring additional resources to compile a legal directory submission in English, with the same level of contextual and legal nuance.

Giseli Farias, Head of Latin America and Iberian Markets at Kidd Aitken, explores whether firms should consider a legal translator, or outsourcing their submissions process entirely, to save time and stress in their legal directory submissions.

At a disadvantage

Legal directories are mostly compiled and researched in English apart from some notable regional exceptions. This includes the larger, more established directories such as Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Native English-speaking firms, firms with a high quantity of fluent English speakers, or large firms with the resource to hire legal translators or to outsource document translation are therefore at an advantage in the process.

 For firms with few fluent English-speaking Partners or stakeholders, this adds extra complications to an already complex process. As a minority of firms have the resource or additional capacity to spend time translating or optimising their submissions.

Legal translation is specific to the sector. It seeks to translate legal documents from a source language to a target language. While respecting and bringing through the original meaning and nuance, both legal and cultural. Legal translators are frequently used already in the industry when dealing with cross-border transactions, or matters, and they are vital to guarantee that a final document in the target language has the same, faithful and accurate meaning as the original. In some cases, legal translation can be the difference between a positive or negative case outcome or unforeseen legal consequences.

Why hire a legal translator?

Smaller, newly established firms should consider hiring a legal translator for their legal directory submissions, if it is their goal to achieve a ranking in a legal directory. While it constitutes an initial expenditure, it can reap dividends in the future. It ensures that the critical information presented in a submission, such as a work highlight or lawyer biography, is translated accurately into English from the source language.

In doing so, this would have a number of benefits to a firm looking to get a ranking:

  • It kickstarts the cumulative process that so many directories employ when deciding rankings. Increasing the chances of a ranking in the future.
  • Should a firm receive a ranking, it would exposure it and its Partners to a new regional, national or even international market.
  • It allows firms to spend their time on other projects, rather than translating documents themselves.

Should law firms outsource entirely?

Hiring a legal translator helps relieve pressure on a singular component of the submissions process: the submission itself. But they do not support the execution of the other processes involved in a legal directory submission. Such as compiling a list of reliable and trustworthy referees, managing the post-submission client feedback and the project management of the entire process.

Outsourcing the submission process entirely can be the gold standard for smaller firms looking to compete on the same level as their industry colleagues. With the guidance of legal directory experts who have the experience and expertise to optimise submissions for a variety of practice areas and regions. Not only ensuring that the nuance and context present within the original text is maintained, but that every submission is optimised to compete against other firms and Partners, increasing the likelihood for ranking.

Law firms navigate the entire legal directory submissions process with confidence when partnering with an external legal directory submissions consultancy. Consultants, like Kidd Aitken, can use insider knowledge to help maximise results from the post-submission client and peer feedback processes. Leaving firms to divert their precious resource to other, more pressing projects. Lawyers can focus on billable hours and in-house marketing teams on separate marketing activities.

A legal translator can be a useful asset to firms with fewer fluent or native English speakers than their industry counterparts. The linguistic nuance of the achievements and exemplary case work of a practice area or Partner is carried through to the target language. Firms can concentrate on their growth strategies and plans, including business development or client work. And their chance of ranking is higher.

Over the course of their collective careers, Kidd Aitken’s Legal Directory Specialists have reviewed tens of thousands of legal directory submissions from law firms all around the world. Get in touch if you think that your firm could benefit from personalised advice, or contact me directly for guidance in the Latin and Iberian markets.