How Accurate is Google Translate in 2021? These 4 Tests Will Tell You


google logo with clear blue sky in background


Google Translate has come a long way since its #googlefail days of yore. But whoever uses the automated translation tool can tell you that it still has its glitches and faults. So how accurate is Google Translate today?

And who better to assess its accuracy than a leading translation services provider


We gave Google Translate a spin with four languages and assessed the accuracy of their translation into English: Spanish, French, Italian, and Russian. The results are rather interesting.


But let’s start with some background first.


What is Google Translate, and how does it work?


Google launched its automated translation tool back in 2006. At the time, it was based on zillions of human translations made by the European Parliament and the United Nations. But the translation algorithm was built on a statistical model. Simply put, it meant that Google translated meaning on a word-level

The result? 


Google Translate fail from Swedish to English


This is just an analogy for all the #googlefails memes that swarmed the internet.

Truth be told, the most significant problems came up when translating languages with utterly different word order. With a statistical model, Google had no way of understanding how to turn the sentence structure around. (Remember german students: the verb always goes at the end). And so a German-to-English translation went something like: 

Roses and violets will you go pluck.

We wonder who that might resemble…

Yoda from Star Wars talking
Photo by Riku Lu on Unsplash


Fast-forward ten years, and Google decides to uproot its computing entirely, introducing Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT). The new artillery operates on a wholly different level. It doesn’t translate words anymore. Instead, it uses an AI-powered neural machine translation algorithm that fetches the meaning from a broader context.

And instead of mirroring the source text’s word sequence, it tries to mimic the target language’s grammar and syntax rules. Which is basically how a human brain translates. Translating meaning, not words. And putting it into appropriate grammar structures and sequences.


With so great a postulate, human translation’s days were to be counted, surely. After all, with access to so much multilingual content, Google Translate could surely “learn” fast enough to outdo any human translator.


Or could it?


Google Translate Accuracy today


It’s 2021, so we decided to check how well Google Translate has “learned” over the years.

We selected four prominent language combinations:

Spanish to English

French to English

Italian to English

Russian to English


And asked our expert translators to give their assessment. Fail, near-miss, or stellar pass?



How Accurate is Google Translate for Spanish to English translation?🇪🇸




Las vacaciones para este verano están a la vuelta de la esquina, y si deseas salir con tus amistades o familiares para disfrutar algún destino hondureño, no te olvides tomar todas las medidas de bioseguridad para tengas unos días relajantes y seguros. Vacations for this summer are just around the corner, and if you want to go out with your friends or family to enjoy a Honduran destination, don’t forget to take all the biosecurity measures to have a few relaxing and safe days.


At first glance, Google Translate seems to have done a decent job. No epic translation fails or odd style choices.


But let’s look at a few thorny details.


‘Vacations for this summer’ is overly wordy and not precisely the expression of choice in English. And vacation? It works in US English, but Brits tend to call them summer holidays. So mind the gap here.


The most salient point is this one: ‘biosecurity measures’. Really? The text is referring to safety measures to be taken during this pandemic era. Biosecurity seems just a tad over the top. (Is that still Yoda speaking from the future?).


Our version of the translation:

Summer vacations are just around the corner. If you wish to come to enjoy one of our Honduran spots with your family or friends, make sure to take all the necessary health precautions for a relaxing and safe stay.



How Accurate is Google Translate for French to English translation? 🇫🇷





Balade dans le Paris enjazzé de Boris Vian

Écrivain, ingénieur, trompettiste, chanteur, poète… À Paris, Boris Vian a exercé tous ses talents.


A stroll through Boris Vian’s invaded Paris

Writer, engineer, trumpeter, singer, poet… In Paris, Boris Vian has exercised all his talents.


Truth be told, when the author of a source text “invents” words, it isn’t easy for a human translator, either. Enjazzé doesn’t exist in French, but any human translator would understand what the author made by adding the prefix en- a suffix –é to jazz.


But one wonders what was going on inside Google Translate’s robot head when it decided to translate a word containing “jazz” into “invasion”. Probably it isn’t a big jazz fan.


Our version of the translation:

A stroll through Boris Vian’s Jazzy (or Jazzed-Up) Paris 

Writer, engineer, trumpeter, singer, poet… In Paris, Boris Vian has done it all.





How accurate is Google Translate for Italian to English?🇮🇹


Let’s see how Google Translate managed with the language of the Bel Paese. Here is an excerpt taken from the homepage of the RAI, the Italian National Radio and Television network.




Nuova stagione condotta da Giancarlo Magalli con accanto Samanta Togni, Umberto Broccoli, Paolo Fox e il gruppo musicale di Stefano Palatresi. Quotidiano di attualità, costume, spettacolo, musica e curiosità.   New season conducted by Giancarlo Magalli alongside Samanta Togni, Umberto Broccoli, Paolo Fox and the Stefano Palatresi musical group. Newspaper of current affairs, costumes, entertainment, music and curiosities.


It’s interesting to see how even a contemporary writing piece can cause such significant math-ache for Google Translate. In the case of Italian, we have a full array of errors, from grammar errors in English (starting the sentence with “New season…” without an article) to many style choices which sound so unnatural in English:


Conducted We usually host a show

The Stefano Palatresi musical group – It’s not the name of the musical group. It’s a person’s group, and the person’s name is Stefano Palatresi. And while we’re at it: musical group? Why not simply band?

Newspaper – Here is a hashtag-worthy fail. A quotidiano can either be a newspaper or a daily show. And the beginning of the sentence already alludes it’s not a newspaper because you can’t conduct one.

Costumes – In this context, it’s fashion or outfits, not costumes.

Curiosities Would anyone ever use it in English? We bet interesting facts (or stuff) sounds more like it, doesn’t it?



Our version of the translation:

A new season hosted by Giancarlo Magalli, together with Samanta Togni, Umberto Broccoli, Paolo Fox, and music by Stefano Palatresi and his band. A show covering news, fashion, entertainment, music, and other topics of interest.




How accurate is Google Translate for Russian to English?🇷🇺


Let’s see how Google Translate manages a more distant language combination now.




Москва была одним из любимых городов Александра Пушкина. Поэт родился здесь, провел детство, часто бывал, повзрослев, встретил главную любовь своей жизни и женился. Не обошел он вниманием Москву и в «Евгении Онегине». Moscow was one of the favorite cities of Alexander Pushkin. The poet was born here, spent his childhood, often visited, having matured, met the main love of his life and got married. He also paid attention to Moscow in Eugene Onegin.


Now, you can see how things start getting murkier the moment you translate from a more distant language family.


The syntax is not clear. It looks like a string of clauses piled up. But in Russian, that finite-type gerund повзрослев actually functions as an action breaker. In fact, the English translation is not only weird. It’s actually grammatically inaccurate. No human translator would make such a mistake. 


And then, we have a locution that got Google Translate’s math going berserk. 

Не обошел он вниманием Москву и. From an accuracy point of view, one could say everything is correct. The word-for-word translation would be: “He did not ignore Moscow in Eugene Onegin.


But what is missing is the salience. The last sentence means Pushkin liked Moscow so much he even included the city in his masterpiece. But putting it as Google Translate did makes it read as “just one more thing” Pushkin did.


So the meaning is there. But the tone and the heightened relation in respect to what was said before has gone astray.


Google Translate has a cousin called Yandex Translate. This Eastern brother algorithm claims it can do a better job with translating Slavic languages. 


Let’s take a look:



English – Google Translate

English – Yandex Translate

Москва была одним из любимых городов Александра Пушкина. Поэт родился здесь, провел детство, часто бывал, повзрослев, встретил главную любовь своей жизни и женился. Не обошел он вниманием Москву и в «Евгении Онегине». Moscow was one of the favorite cities of Alexander Pushkin. The poet was born here, spent his childhood, often visited, having matured, met the main love of his life and got married. He also paid attention to Moscow in Eugene Onegin. Moscow was one of Alexander Pushkin’s favorite cities. The poet was born here, spent his childhood, often visited, grew up, met the main love of his life and got married. He did not ignore Moscow in “Eugene Onegin”.


Yandex does a better job at using possessives, which shortens the English translation. But as far as including Moscow, it falls flat the same way Google Translate did.


Our version of the translation:

Moscow was one of Alexander Pushkin’s favorite cities. The poet was born here, spent his childhood, visited often—and once grown up, the place where found the love of his life and got married. He didn’t even fail to give a worthwhile mention of the city in his Eugene Onegin




Why is Google Translate still so inaccurate?


Algorithm deep- or shallow-learning, it’s still just that: an algorithm. Google doesn’t try to understand the text. It’s a statistics game.

Suppose a sentence or a word pair gets translated many times in a certain way. In that case, Google will suggest it as the appropriate translation. See the example of the Italian translation of costume: 9 times out of 10, its appropriate English translation is costumes. But that 1 time, it can actually mean fashion or clothing in Italian. Sadly, Google Translate will suggest a statistically more frequent translation, albeit it being wrong.


Google can’t understand if the translation it produced makes sense or not. When the sum of the parts doesn’t make a coherent whole. Only you can judge it. If you’re in the helping mood, you can suggest a better translation to Google by using the “Suggest an edit” or “Contribute” function.



Google Translate interface with buttons for editing suggestion highlighted


Remember the enjazzé example from French before?

A big part of using language involves breaking its rules. It’s called creativity. But Google Translate can’t break the word down and understand that the prefix and suffix to jazz actually follows a grammatical rule on how certain adjectives are formed to describe something being filled in, full of, or representative of something.


Only human translators can do that.



How to spot if someone used Google Translate in 2021?


Here are the most prominent mistakes you will find:


  • Word order

Google Translate struggles less with it today. But you can still sense that something’s off. Usually, it has to do with clauses being piled up unnaturally.


  • Gender issues

Unless there are pronouns determining the gender of the subject, Google can’t figure it out on its own.


  • Tone issues

Many languages, like French, have two forms of pronouns: Tu (informal) and Vous (formal). When translating from English, Google Translate still can’t figure out the tone because in English, the tone is signaled by other elements such as word choice. 


  • Word type issues

There are many words that are spelled the same but have a different function, especially nouns and verbs. It’s getting better at it, but Google Translate can still pull a laugh from words like squash


  • American vs British English issues

Google Translate will automatically propose the US spelling variant. So if you’re expecting British spelling but get a bunch of favorite neighbors, you know something’s off.



Is there a more accurate translation than Google?


Yes. It’s called LingPerfect translations. 

But jokes aside, there are many other machine translation tools out there. Unfortunately, neither of them is an absolute winner. A lot depends on the type of text and the language combination. You have to try them out and see which one produces a more accurate translation.  


Google Translate logo


Google Translate



Microsoft Bing Translator logo

Microsoft’s Bing translator



Yandex Translate logo

Yandex Translate



IBM logo

IBM’s Watson translator



Amazon Translate logo

Amazon Translate




Why you should never use Google Translate


Let’s be honest. People who claim you should never use it are a tad harsh. Google Translate has made enormous progress since its early #fail days. It can figure out the meaning and transfer it into a grammatically acceptable form in the target language. Most of the time. The fact that an algorithm can do such heavy lifting is a significant achievement in its own right.


But what Google Translate can’t and probably won’t be able to do for quite some time still is understand how to translate texts that contain rule-breaking sentences or locutions, which bring the text to life.

So it’s perfectly fine to use Google Translate to get the gist of the text. But you should never use it to translate official documents or content that has any sort of business value.


For those, there is no artificial intelligence that can beat the human brain.



opening image credit: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

7 Best Languages to Learn in 2021 (If You Mean Business)


best languages to learn picture


If you’re looking for the best languages to learn in 2021 so you can flaunt your language skills next time you’re vacationing, this list isn’t for you.

Learning a new language means putting in time and resources. According to the Foreign Service Institute, you’ll need anywhere between 24 and 88 weeks to master another bhasha.


So if learning a new language means business, you’re in the right place, then.

quick links to best languages to learn

Best languages to learn in 2021: the data we analyzed


data driven analysis of best languages to learn

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

We wanted to build an impartial, data-driven list of the best languages to learn. To do that, we cross-analyzed five variables.

They included economic indicators, but not only.

Here they are:


Best languages to learn by their reach: the Power Language Index

In 2016, Dr. Kai L. Chan, a distinguished fellow at INSEAD, devised the Power Language Index (PLI). It’s a systematic way of evaluating the influence and reach of languages. PLI scores five opportunities a new language brings: 

  1. Geography
  2. Economy
  3. Communication
  4. Knowledge & Media
  5. Diplomacy


Each opportunity is built of a set of variables:


Power Language Index for Best languages to learn

Source: Dr. Kai L. Chan, the Power Language Index (PLI)


The PLI is already a trusty metric. It scores the reach of a language with the current state of world affairs. But will the world’s clucking order remain the same in 25 years?


To add a layer of future-proof reliability, we had to look further.


Best languages to learn by population growth

Demographic shifts are a good signal of a language’s changing reach and power.

Let’s look at what the UN’s population prospects report has to say about this.


population projections for best languages to learn


When thinking of population growth, the first region that comes to mind is “Asia”.


But can you see another region ramping up the pace? 


Best languages to learn by Economic growth

To look at a language’s trade potential, we had to go further than looking at the population growth. 


As far as economic growth goes, it was clear who the top-three economic mammoths would be in 2030. We were more curious about any underdogs causing a major overhaul in positions 5 through 10.


To do that, we looked at a recent study by Standard Chartered. And indeed, it showed some curious shifts.

gdp 2030 outlook to measure the best languages to learn in 2021

Source: Visual Capitalist The World’s Largest 10 Economies in 2030


China, India, and the US top the chart. But look further down. Who would have thought? By 2030, Indonesia, Egypt, and Turkey are projected to fall into the world’s top five economies.


After economics, we looked at language aspects. The intruding ones, to be precise.


Best languages to learn according to the English Proficiency Index


English Proficiency Index for Best languages to learn

Source: EF EPI 2020

We included the latest data from Education First on the English Proficiency Index (EPI) as a ranking factor in our “best languages to learn” score.  The higher the EPI, the lower the grade a language got.


Because let’s be honest. What’s the point of all the studying if you can get away with English? 


5. Changes in demand vs. supply of a language (LingPerfect proprietary data)

lingperfect data for best languages to learn analysis

We’ve been breaking language barriers in 150 languages for over 15 years. 


One of the best insights is the change in demand and supply of a language. And if you’re planning on making languages become your bread and butter, keep a keen eye on our LingPerfect Language Demand score below.


How we combined these stats in our final “best languages to learn” score

We churned each of these five data sources and combined the results in a single score. Because some scores had different ranges, we leveled them on one single 1–10 scale.

The final score for each language looks like this:


Criterion Min Max Total
Language reach (Language Power Index) 1 10  





Population growth 1 10
Economic growth 1 10
(absence of) English Proficiency* 1 10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 1 10
Total 5 50

*We inverted the English Proficiency Index so as not to skew the result. The lower the English proficiency level, the higher the score.


Enough babbling about data. Eager to see the results of the 7 best languages to learn?


Cat asking the report on best languages to learn


7 Best languages to learn in 2021: the final verdict



Mandarin Chinese


Mandarin Chinese best language to learn

China is and remains number on the list of the top 10 biggest economies. Its population growth may be slowing down, but its booming economy makes for it just fine. 


Mandarin Chinese belongs to a narrow language family, so it won’t help pick up another language easily. But with 1.3 billion native speakers, that shouldn’t be a problem.


Last, China has a low penetration of English as lingua franca, making learning Mandarin Chinese a must if you’ve set your eyes on the Middle Kingdom.

Mandarin Chinese “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 10/10
Population growth 7/10
Economic growth 10/10
(absence of) English Proficiency 10/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 10/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score



Mandarin Chinese learning difficulty rate: 

“Super-hard”: 88 weeks (2,200 class hours)

(But hey, it’s worth it)





French icon for best languages to learn

Surprised? If you remember the population growth chart above, you shouldn’t be. 


There are 11 countries in Africa where French is the la langue officielle. So French may well shed off its coat of language of love and become a language of new business ventures.


There are two hundred thirty million native French speakers today. But by 2050, this number could top the 700 million mark due to demographic shifts in Africa.


Also, French belongs to the romance languages. Conquer your je m’appelle, and it will take you no time to master Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

French “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 8/10
Population growth 10/10
Economic growth 9/10
(absence of) English Proficiency 9/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 8/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score


French learning difficulty rate: 

“Easy peasy”: 30 weeks (750 class hours)





Pyramids icon


The Language Power Index ranks Arabic as the fifth most influential language. And rightfully so. 


Arabic is the official or co-official language in 23 countries. So even if the number of native Arabic speakers is much lower than, say, Hindi (270 opposed to 615 million Hindi natives), learning Arabic will make you go miles.


Standard Arabic is spoken in a region that is already an economic powerhouse. And if you consider Egypt’s economic projection from above, learning Arabic will guarantee you a high ROI.


Arabic “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 5/10
Population growth 7/10
Economic growth 9/10
(absence of) English Proficiency 10/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 9/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score


Arabic learning difficulty rate: 

“Super-hard”: 88 weeks (2,200 class hours)





Spanish sagrada familia icon

This one needs no pepping up. Spanish is spoken by 534 million people across the world and is the official language in 21 countries. Add another four where Spanish is considered a “significant language” (Andorra, Gibraltar, Belize, the States), and you’re looking at the most geographically widespread language on Earth. 


In the US alone, a fifth of the population speaks Spanish as their first language. That’s a whopping 60 million people.

Learning Spanish is as strategic as learning Arabic. The reason el idioma scored a tad less was due to higher penetration of English Proficiency in some of its countries and a slightly lower economic growth outlook. 

Spanish “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 9/10
Population growth 6/10
Economic growth 6/10
(absence of) English Proficiency 5/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 9/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score



Spanish learning difficulty rate

“Easy peasy”: 24 weeks (700 class hours)





Indonesian temple and beach icon


Bahasa Indonesia is undoubtedly the most exotic one on our top-seven list. Unknown to many, Indonesian is spoken by almost 200 million people.


The major reason that will drive its demand is Indonesia’s projection to become a major economic powerhouse in the following years—right up there next to China, India, and the US. 


We’ve also seen a solid rise in translation and localization requests, as the country is buckling down to get internet adoption beyond urban areas.


Indonesian is also easy to learn for English natives. The Foreign Service Institute estimates it will take you around the same time to learn it as German. 

Indonesian “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 4/10
Population growth 5/10
Economic growth 9/10
(absence of) English Proficiency 6/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 7/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score


Indonesian learning difficulty rate: 

“Medium”: 46 weeks (900 class hours)





Turkey cappadocia balloon icon


Turkish might get you to reach a “meager” 78 million population. But it’s a hidden gem worth exploring for your next language-learning adventure.


One reason is—again—Turkey’s prominent position as an economic superpower in the coming years. 


Turkey also has one of the lowest rates of English Proficiency in the world. 


And no. Learning Arabic won’t help you pick up Turkish.


The first one belongs to the Semitic language family. The second is an Altaic language. They share many words in their vocabularies, but their grammar and syntax work entirely differently. 


Genealogically, Turkish is more closely related to Japanese than to Arabic.


The upside is its learning ease. Complimenting the restaurant chef with Çok lezzetli should take you about half the time compared to doing the same in Arabic or Chinese.


Turkish “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 3/10
Population growth 5/10
Economic growth 8/10
(absence of) English Proficiency* 8/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 6/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score


Turkish learning difficulty rate:  

“Medium”: 46 weeks (900 class hours)






Russian matryoska icon


It’s the world’s biggest country’s official language and the official language in Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan. Learning it will bring you closer to over 250 million people.


It’s also the lingua franca in its own right. Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan consider it the second language almost everyone learns.


Russia is part of the top 10 economic powers in the world. And future projections don’t seem to place it out of that hall of fame.


Beware, though. Learning Russian won’t be a walk in the park. But considering its vast reach and low English proficiency level, it’s worth honing your Spasibos


Should you succeed, you’re up for another treat. You’ll learn a Slavic language, a language family of 315 million speakers.


Russian “Best Language to Learn” score breakdown

Criterion Score
Language reach 7/10
Population growth 4/10
Economic growth 4/10
(absence of) English Proficiency 5/10
LingPerfect Language Demand score 4/10

Total Best Language to Learn in 2021 score


Russian learning difficulty rate 

“Hard”: 44 weeks (1,100 class hours)



Which is the easiest language to learn? 

We didn’t include the language difficulty score in our rank because if a language has strategic value, you should go for it no matter what. 


But if those weeks listed below the language made your heart rush, this nifty chart will help put things into perspective.


Language Best Language to Learn score

(out of 50)

Difficulty rate


Spanish 35 24
French 44 30
Russian 24 44
Indonesian 31 46
Turkish 30 46
Mandarin Chinese 47 88
Arabic 40 88


It turns out learning Spanish or French will get you the most bang for your learning buck


  1. They both take around the same time to learn.
  2. They’re part of the same language family, paving the way to pick up other prominent languages (like Portuguese).



Best languages to learn in 2021: the bottom line

We hope you found our data-driven language analysis useful. But when choosing the best language to learn, math is only part of the equation. 


Two other things play a decisive role in choosing the language to learn:


  1. Your affinity with a given language
  2. The region you’re targeting

Each of these seven languages will open many doors in the future. It’s up to you to pick the language—or country—you like.


Happy language learning.

Legal Translation Services in the US and Overseas

The eleventh-hour contract translation job just came in. Hurray. Finding a legal translation services provider is just what was missing on your already Herculean to-do list.

You google “legal translation services near me.” 


And there it is. A bucket of odd words pitching for your click across the screen: 


Legal Translation Services Google Search Result


How do you know which legal translation service you need?

No worries. Here’s a guide on legal translation services to help you out.


Gavels ready, everyone?


Pro tip lightbulbWhat you will learn:

  1. What makes legal document translations different from other translations
  2. Certain documents need legal translations. Others don’t.
  3. Legal translations and certified translations are not the same. You’ll learn which one to choose—and stop overpaying for rubber stamps you don’t need.
  4. Surprise: “certified” translators don’t exist in the US. You probably confused them with certified court interpreters.
  5. A certified translation doesn’t mean it has legal value. At least not in every country. There’s another step to make your translations legalized, as well.

quick links iconQuick links:

  1. What is legal translation?
  2. Why is legal translation important?
  3. What makes legal translation different from other translation services?
  4. Who can legally translate documents?
  5. ATA-certified translations
  6. The difference between legal translation and certified translation
  7. Who can certify a translation?
  8. Does a certified translation have legal value?
  9. How to legalize a translation overseas
  10. The bottom line
  11. How can we help with Legal Translation Services at LingPerfect?


Gavel and book legal

Legal translation deals with translating documents of legal nature

But—what defines the nature of a text? 

Are only contracts considered legal texts? 


In reality, legal documents cover a wide range of text types:


Legal documents for businesses

  1. Licensing agreements
  2. Legal Tax documents
  3. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights
  4. eDiscovery
  5. General contracts
  6. Articles of incorporation
  7. Partnership deeds
  8. Sales contracts
  9. Arbitration documents
  10. Terms and Conditions


Legal documents for private individuals

  1. Passports
  2. Driver’s licenses
  3. Adoption papers
  4. Birth certificates
  5. Marriage certificates
  6. Academic transcripts and diplomas
  7. Medical records
  8. Immigration papers


Global translation


Globalization stopped concerning only F500 companies a while ago. In 2021, even the tiniest e-Commerce platform deals with customers from all over the world. 

International trade is booming. And with it, your vulnerability to overseas legislation. The reason is quite simple.

Your legal documents have no legal value overseas.


Local legislators write up laws in their official language. So your English terms and conditions have no legal value in Colombia.




1. There is no “global” legal system


Sure, there’s the concept of International law.  And yes, it’s a set of conventions on trade, conflict, and human rights. 


But it won’t do the job for you.


Most legislation your business should abide by is country-specific because the law is culture-specific.

That’s why no two legal systems are the same.


How does this affect translation? 


Every translator must know how to translate the meaning from one language to another. But legal document translators’ jobs go much further. Instead of words, they must know how to translate legal systems.


2. Legal document translation is extremely subject-specific

The law regulates relationships between people and businesses. But terminology differs greatly between sectors.

Mergers and Acquisitions legislation will be knee-deep in finance, accounting, and due diligence terms.

Labor and Employment law, on the other hand, will contain little financial jargon. But it will be filled with terms around illness rights, trade unions, and safety.


3. Legal language is highly formulaic

Love it or hate it, legalese is alive and kicking. Any attempts to bring it closer to everyday language are laudable. But it’s not the legal translator’s job to do so. 


An example:

Eschatocol example


This formula is called the eschatocol—the closing protocol of a legal document.


There are ten different ways to make this sentence more reader-friendly. But if the translator changed the formula, it would be unacceptable. Or frowned upon, at the very least.

A legal translator’s job is to produce an accurate translation.

But at the same time, the translated text must comply with the legal document’s wording conventions.


4. The slightest legal translation error can burn a hole in your budget

A small punctuation error or mistranslated name can make the whole legal document lose legal value. Therefore, accuracy and knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the foreign country’s legal framework are a must. 

Document translation at work

You would think that all these intricacies would call for a world of certifications and degrees. 


While this might be the case in Spain, Argentina, and other countries, it doesn’t apply to the United States.


Here is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says on the matter:

There is currently no universal form of certification required of interpreters and translators in the United States, but there are a variety of different tests that workers can take to demonstrate proficiency.

That’s right. Anyone can have a go at translating legal documents. 

So what are these “different tests” the Bureau mentioned?


ATA-certified translations

The American Translators Association (ATA) is the largest association of translators in the US. 


Among other things, ATA also provides certifications for translators and agencies. ATA’s exams are demanding. So having your translation done by an ATA-certified translator adds a layer of confidence. 


Notwithstanding (excuse the legalese), there are two points to keep in mind.


  1. ATA certifies the translator’s proficiency of the language pair, not the area of expertise. So you can find a Spanish-to-English ATA-certified translator. But you won’t find a Spanish-to-English certified legal translator.
  2. There are only 15 language pairs that the ATA certifies. Looking for a Tamil to English ATA-certified translator? Good luck.


Summing it up, it means that

working with ATA-certified translators gives a layer of confidence. But to find reliable expert legal translators, you should look at something else. Their expertise.


Great, so we can put the concept of certified translations ad acta (sorry, legalese, again). 


Or can we?



Legal versus Certified translations icon

ATA-certified translations are not the same as certified translations in general. And they’re not a synonym of legal translations, either.


Legal translation

Legal translations involve the transferring of legal texts from one language to another. These can be 

  1. contracts 
  2. patents 
  3. certificates 
  4. eDiscovery 


and so on. 


In short, it’s the nature of the text that defines whether the document is a legal one. Not the presence of a rubber stamp.


Certified translation

A certified translation is any translation that bears a certificate attesting to the accuracy of the produced text. The documents requiring certification may be legal texts, but not only. 

Even scientific papers and product specs might need a certified translation.



Who can certify a translation?

Certified translation icon

The certification process varies from country to country.

In the US, a translation is certified by a translator’s affidavit, stating that: 

  1. the translator is competent to translate in the required language combination 
  2. the translation was done to the best of the translator’s knowledge, ability, and belief. 


In other countries, like many EU member states, only sworn translators can certify the translation. 


Sworn translators must have a valid degree and pass a certification process with the relevant authority. This can either be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Spain) or the Courts (France and Germany). 



The short answer is: no. 

For the translation to get legal value, you must notarize it before the Notary Public.

However, Notaries don’t attest to the quality of the translation. They verify the translator’s identity. This way, the language expert can be held accountable for the translation produced.

Countries that use the system of sworn translators have a different process. The sworn translator’s signature is enough for the document to have legal value. So there’s no need to notarize them.


Legal translations abroad icon

Let’s say you notarized a translation in the US. How do you legalize it in another country? 


If the country has signed the Hague Convention

You can have it apostilled in the States. This will give the translation legal power in the other country, as well.


If the country is not part of the Hague Convention

You have two options.

  1. If the overseas country does not have “sworn translators,” you’ll have to have it notarized again.
  2. If the overseas country has “sworn translators”, you can hire one. On the upside, you’ll save the costs of an extra notarization. On the downside, it might take more time. Sworn translators usually require the original signed document to be sent to them beforehand.


So to legalize a translation in Italy, you can apostille it in the US. But the same wouldn’t work for Canada. The Canucks have not signed the HCCH treaty.



Article summary iconThe Bottom Line

The next time you’re looking for legal translation services, answer these four simple questions. It will take a moment of your time, but it will save you tons of back-and-forth with the translation agency. Most importantly, you’ll make sure you don’t pay for rubber stamps you don’t need.


  1. Is it a text of legal nature? 
  2. What type of legal document is it? A contract, terms and conditions? An academic transcript? Which subject-matter expertise do you need?
  3. Does it really require a certification? Or do you need legal translation experts only?
  4. Does the translation need to have legal value? If so, in which country? 





We translate in 150+ languages

We are an industry leader in legal translation services, specializing in:

  1. Intellectual property
  2. Patent translation & filings
  3. Trademark or service mark registrations
  4. Copyright 
  5. Entity formation and management
  6. Ownership documents, including transfer rules
  7. Business contracts
  8. Compliance


Full translation & localization package

We provide our customers with a wide range of translation and localization services

  1. Legal document translations
  2. Court interpreting
  3. Certified document translation services
  4. Notarized translations
  5. Sworn translations for foreign markets


What makes LingPerfect the best choice for your legal translation services  

We optimize your resources with Advanced Translation technologies

The legal discovery includes examining mostly non-responsive documents. Their translations must be accurate enough, but there is no need to use human translators to cull them.


Once you’ve identified potentially responsive documents, our expert translators refine the texts to ensure all information is available for the second-level review.


Professional Project Managers

Our team of 50+ full-time project managers works to deliver the top-quality service that you expect and deserve—within tight timelines. You get a dedicated PM who speaks your language and can answer all your questions.


Subject-specific Translators

Documents included within legal translation can come from all sorts of industries. They can contain specific or restricted terminology. Our network of 10,000+ translators worldwide gives us access to subject-specific translation experts. All our linguists have at least five years’ experience in industry-specific translations.


100% Confidentiality

To protect your confidential information, all LingPerfect translations sign and adhere to our Confidentiality Agreement. 


ATA Members

We are a member of the American Translators Association. By extension, we meet the guidelines set out in the Code of Professional Conduct and Business Practices of the ATA.



Our proprietary QMS extracts non-visible information from e-Discovery materials. It then validates formatting consistency to maintain contextual cues from the original document. 

As the final step, every document must pass our strict quality testing before delivering it to you.


We are proud members of:

  1. Asian American Bar Association 
  2. International Practice Management Association 
  3. New York City Paralegal Association


Need more details or have specific needs?

Reach out to us via the form below.

ASL Remote Interpreting: A 6 Piece Cheat Sheet to Ace Your Next ASL Meeting (Part 2)

We’re glad to see you back for the second piece of our ASL remote interpreting cheat sheet. (in case you missed it, hop over HERE).

Your ASL interpreter is briefed. The prep-meeting with the other party went perfectly, and you made sure your internet speed would be faster than the USS Enterprise. What next?

Tip 4: Have your IT team ready for your ASL remote interpreting meeting.

You’ve tested the connection and did everything to make sure the meeting would flow flawlessly. Still, there are days when Murphy’s law takes over the day. If this happens, you don’t want to be the one running around checking cables and restoring connections, because your input at the meeting is crucial. So make sure to always have one of your IT guardian angels by your side. Just in case. Better be safe than sorry.

Tip 5: Widen the horizons of your ASL remote interpreting meeting—literally.

With our LingPerfect Interpreting App, you can connect from any device. Still, when dealing with a remote ASL interpreting session, we suggest you opted for a wide-screen monitor, no less than 19 inches. Having a good visual of the hands and the face of the ASL interpreter will help your deaf or hard-of-hearing participant interpret the signs.

Tip 6: Lights, camera, action!

Visual communication is the only way your participant can communicate with you. So when setting up your remote ASL interpreting session, make sure you take some cues from Spielberg:

  • Test and adjust the lighting in the room so that your deaf or hard-of-hearing participant can be fully discernible.
  • Use a camera with a resolution no less than 720p. If you can get hold of a 1080p60, better.

Tip 7: Your downstairs Starbucks might not be the best spot for your remote ASL remote interpreting meeting

Your light and camera setting will help ease communication between your deaf or hard of hearing counterpart and the ASL interpreter. But there’s another tandem to consider: the ASL interpreter and you. Sitting in an environment with background noise will make the ASL interpreter’s job more challenging to understand what you’re trying to say among the barista’s shouts and clinking cups.

So make sure you’ve secured a peaceful spot for your ASL remote interpreting meeting. It doesn’t have to be a soundproof recording studio, but it should be quiet enough so you and the ASL interpreter can hear each other well.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be ADA-compliant, too.

The US Department of Justice issued the “Effective Communication” guidelines under its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which should be met when organizing meetings with people with hearing, aid, or speech disabilities.  The list is available here, but if you follow our cheat sheet, you can rest assured that you’ve ticked off all of the Guideline’s boxes to be ADA-compliant.

Well, in truth, there’s one last requirement that ADA sets forth. Your language experts should be certified ASL interpreters. But you already know who to call to tick this last box, don’t you?






ASL Remote Interpreting: A 6 Piece Cheat Sheet to Ace Your Next ASL Meeting (Part 1)

Welcome back to our blog. With punch bowls cleaned and opinable sweaters safely stored on the uppermost shelves of our closets, it’s time to get back to work. And what better way to start the year with than a good old cheat sheet. Better still: a list that helps your business be more inclusive.

The turmoils of the past year do not require particular highlighting. With everything that’s been happening, it’s no wonder our LingPerfect Interpreting team has seen a surge in demand for remote interpreting

Inside remote interpreting, though, there is a specific service we haven’t talked about yet. What happens when you need to set up a meeting with the Deaf or Hard of hearing community members? How does the presence of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter affect the setting?

Because ASL remote interpreting requires both audio and visual support, the choice between Phone (OPI) and Video (VRI) is clear. 

But is choosing VRI all it takes to ace your ASL Remote interpreting session? Not quite. And here’s a checklist that will help you ace it.

Tip 1: Set up a pre-meeting before your ASL remote interpreting session

With interpreting, think of the language expert as an extension to the speaking party. A lot of what is said is conveyed with facial expressions and body language. And nowhere is this truer than in ASL interpreting

Getting to know your “eyes and ears” in advance is worth a treasure for both the interpreter and your attendee. So if you can, set up a pre-meeting between the ASL language expert and the attendee requiring the interpretation. Your meeting’s success will be guaranteed.

Tip 2: Help your ASL remote interpreter prepare

Yes. Another prep-step. But you know the drill: planning is half the success. As any language expert, ASL interpreters, too, juggle between a wealth of terms and expressions. They might have used the sign for deforestation sometime in their life, but it doesn’t mean they can call it up off the cuff. 

Help your ASL interpreter by sending the agenda and any useful material like presentations to allow time to dust off any rusty terms.

Tip 3: Don’t save on bandwidth for your ASL remote interpreting meeting.

The success of your ASL remote interpreting session is directly opposed to the number of screen freezes and lagging audio. Make sure you’re plugged into a speedy network. If possible—even if it sounds obsolete—connect your device to the router directly with w WLAN cable. Cable still beats WiFi, even in 2021.

More on ASL Remote interpreting next week

We made our cheat sheet into a diptych lest it would be too much after so much eggnog and (Zoom) get-togethers with family. Tune in next week to discover the second set of tips for a successful ASL remote interpreting meeting.


2020: It’s a Wrap!

Welcome to the last post in this roller coaster of a year.

2020 had us talking a lot about your online presence—creating content and localizing it for your global audience. It’s because we believe that, while the medical progress will soon get us out of this hug-less, home-ful situation, 2020 will leave indelible traces in the way our audience relates to your brand. 

It would be unseemly if we didn’t practice what we preached. So as far as our blog goes, we rolled up the sleeves and rocket-fueled our schedule. We published over 33 posts covering a wide range of topics: from localization tips to insight on how the pandemic was changing our vocabulary, to getting you ready for remote interpreting. 

1. Why mistranslation matters more than You think

If you think mistranslations are harmless mistakes that cause an occasional giggle, think again. A faulty translation can end up in devastating lawsuits and losses. Most importantly, it might be eroding your business revenue in a subtle but no less harmful way. Here’s how.

2. How to get more bang for your localization buck

In a perfect world, we’d all have a bottomless localization budget. But in this dimension, there’s a whole lot of juggling involved. 

What do you do when you have a whole website to localize, but your budget can cover only half of your content? Which content will yield more if localized first? Hop over here to find out.

3. The changing vocabulary of the pandemic

Upperware, Rona, social distancing: are they all freshly-minted byproducts of the virus spread? How do translators tackle them if there’s no direct target-language equivalent? One can’t help but wonder.

4. When your interpreting goes remote

Due to you-know-what, all of our multilingual meetings switched to online, too.  With the rise of remote interpreting solutions, we’ve noticed our clients had trouble choosing between Phone and Video remote interpreting. So we made a cheat sheet.

5. The recipe for superb localization? Look into your source content.

We hate to break it to you: your content team and our localization experts are not two separate crews. They row on the same boat, helping you reach the same goal—your business success. The way you write your content and how you design your layout directly impacts the localization process and its final result.

The thread beneath all of our writing

Some of it looked like coffee-table trivia; others were concrete how-tos aimed at helping you boost your sales and optimize your costs. But the main underlying message was one: language is still alive and kicking. 

Using words with wit—creating your own voice and delivering a consistent message cross-culturally—is your single most powerful tool that will help your customers in the years to come.

Here’s to a successful twenty twenty-one.




Boost your online sales this Holiday | Part 3: Recharging your online sales funnel

Welcome the finishing line of the Boosting Your Online sales series.

Without dilly-dallying, you rolled up your sleeves and went for it: updating your negative keywords list, tuning up your targeting, crafting different ad copies. Next, you ran several A/B tests on your website to determine which CTA will convert better. And, before long, you started noticing a spike in your conversion rate. Good job. The last lesson to learn is that your online sales funnel is not a one-way street

That’s right. There are ways to convert even the tough bunch who initially abandons before buying. And according to research, we’re talking about a staggering 70% of your visitors.

Recharging your online sales funnel, Tip 1: Use Exit Intent Popups

Invented 2012 by Ryan Urban of Wunderkind (ex BounceX), this comely little nugget lets you anticipate if the users are about to abandon your website and gives them a reason to stay before they lose interest.

Exit intent message pops up when the user moves the cursor outside the upper page boundary. What you usually communicate through the pop up is:

  • Offer a discount code for customers 
  • Ask them to leave their email address 
  • Open a chat or request a callback with a sales representative 

A word of caution: exit intent popups can become too irritating if overused. Also, steer away from implementing them on mobile because Google recently announced it would penalize popups on mobile displays. 

But if implemented correctly, they can yield anywhere between a 5 and 10 percent increase in conversions.

Recharging your online sales funnel, Tip 2:  Back to ads. This time, a bit differently

Our online purchase journeys are not linear. We all search for information without necessarily wanting to buy at that very instant. Or we get distracted by life’s other chores. Google knows this. That’s why it launched remarketing ad campaigns, which leverages user data, combined with its vast network of partner websites.

Remarketing isn’t an irritating practice. Done with wit, it allows you to stay top-of-mind with people who have shown some interest in your offer so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re the brand they think of. 

Recharging your online sales funnel, Tip 3: Build an emailing list

A ‘no’ from a user usually means ‘not now’, and not ‘not ever.’ Building an email list, whether through an exit intent popup or a call-to-action at the bottom of the page, is an vital source of your future revenue. 

As things stood at the beginning of 2020, email marketing retained a respectable conversion rate of over 15%. It still beats social media marketing with an ROI of 4400%. In simple math, it means that you get $44 in return for every $1 spent on email campaigns.

Wrapping it up

2020 is coming to an end, but the tsunami it caused in customer buying behavior is here to stay. By investing in smart ad campaigns, optimizing your website’s interface, and harnessing the power of recycling your sales funnel, you’re getting your business ready for the new normal.






Boost your online sales this Holiday | Part 2: Conversion optimization

Welcome back to our Boosting Your Online sales series.

Last time, we walked you through the nuts and bolts of generating traffic: improving your ad spending and click-through rates.

In today’s article, we look at the second step of the online buying journey: what happens when the visitors land on your website. The website experience will greatly influence the final sales conversion rate, so make sure you tick off these key tips.

Online Sales Conversion Optimization Tip 1: Measure your loading speed

Time is money. Nowhere does this saying hold as much as in the e-realm. You’ve crafted the best ad copy and tweaked your targeting settings. But if your page takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ll lose the customer. 

According to a trusted source, a one-second delay in page load time will get you:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • 7% loss in conversions

Here are some tips to improve your page load speed:

  • Compress files that are larger than 150 bytes with tools like Gzip
  • Increase browser caching time
  • Use a content distribution network (CDN)
  • Optimize your images

Online Sales Conversion Optimization Tip 2: Remove unnecessary clicks

Imagine this: you’re surfing the web, click on an ad promising 25% off and a 3-day delivery on a microwave you’re looking for—only to find yourself staring at a screen promoting a 20% discount on a fridge. Customer lost, cost-per-click wasted.

Once the users land on your webpage, you have to make it as easy as possible to find what they’re looking for. Too much navigation will make them abandon your page.

So when you set up your ad links, make sure they link to the relevant product page, not on the homepage.

Online Sales Conversion Optimization Tip 3: study the customer’s behavior

By that, we don’t mean you should grab a book on sales psychology.

Users leave a ton of insight when they land on your website. Some of it is implicit. For instance, how do people scroll around your page? Where do they hover over with the mouse? Which piece of content do they spend most time reading?

To understand these metrics, harness the power of heat maps. You’ll dip into a well of knowledge that will help you optimize your website’s content to make it easier for the user to reach the goal.

Here’s a list of great heat mapping tools out there:

Final Sales Conversion Optimization Tip: don’t assume, test

Once you’ve figured out where the customer journey breaks, you might come up with different hypotheses to fix it. Would a red button do better than the blue one? Should you put a strong action verb in the CTA or opt for a softer “discover more” shout out?

Well, why choose when you can test both? Unleash the power of A/B testing tools and let the users choose the winning postulate. Here are but a few tools we like and recommend:

We hope these online sales conversion optimization tips will help you tighten those loose ends and improve your website sales performance. Tune in next week, when we’ll share some final tips on that to do with users who, despite your optimization efforts, decide to leave without buying.



Boost your online sales this Holiday | Part 1: Optimize your online ads

2020: what a year. Our lives, our work turned upside down and inside out. Business hasn’t been easy for many. But there is a glimmer of hope—and it smells of eggnog.
According to Deloitte, this upcoming holiday season will help reverse, if only briefly, 2020’s dire drift. The consulting giant predicts a 1% rise in sales during the holiday time. But there’s a catch: most of the shopping will done via online sales.
So if you have been reluctant about it, now is the time to give your digital activity a big multivitamin gummy bear.

In this 3-part series, we’ll talk about how you can optimize your three major touchpoints, namely:

  • Your online ads
  • The webpage your customers land on
  • The moment they decide to leave, alas, without buying

Ready to roll up the sleeves? Let’s look at the first touchpoint: your ads strategy.

With online ads, you’re paying for every click or display. So don’t fall into the “the more, the merrier” trap. What you should do is get the right people to land on your website. Here’s how you can do that.

Boost your online sales by harnessing the power of Google’s targeting functionalities

As you run your ad campaigns, you’ll be able to find certain patterns of users who convert better on your webpage. They could be a specific age group. They could even be people who share an intent.

Google allows you to finetune your ads on a myriad of categories like demographics, affinity, topics, specific keywords. If see that you get higher-converting traffic from a particular search topic or a region, direct your ad spending there. Bet higher, if necessary. A slight increase in cost per click (CPC) will be worth the quality traffic you’ll be getting.

A word of caution, though. Don’t overlap too many filters at once. You’ll restrict the amount of data to the point where you won’t collect enough quantitative insights to compare the different campaigns’ efficiency. Start large and zoom in through time.

To increase your online sales, test your Ad copy. When you’re done, test it again

Digital marketing is a journey with no finish line. If an ad copy brought an increase in online sales last month, it doesn’t mean it will keep on performing well forever. Keep your hand on the pulse, and adjust the copy to improve your performance or test some uncharted territory.

Parade a different product benefit (there’s always more than one, right?). Change your title into a question. Soften up the CTA from “buy now” to “discover more.” Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that users felt too pushed with a salesy verbiage, and a milder call-to-action gives you higher conversions.

A good rule is to always run at least three different ad copies on the same campaign.

Better still, use the power of Dynamic Search Ads

Let’s be honest. You can have the best ad managers and the swiftest copywriters in the world. Still, you can’t bet on a keyword and produce a relevant ad copy every time a user comes surfing by. 

Wouldn’t it be great if an ad would “write itself up” when needed? 

Cue in Google Dynamic Search Ads.

This functionality uses your website’s content to generate your ads on your behalf for the keywords you bet on. All you’re asked to chip in is a creative description, and the rest is done automatically. Google generates headlines and ad descriptions based on the content it finds on your website.

The results? This is what a company reported to Google:

  • 26% higher click-through rate (CTR)
  • 30% lower cost-per-click (CPC)
  • 37% decrease in cost-per-acquisition (CPA)

40% off the cost of your online sales doesn’t sound bad. But keep in mind that this functionality makes sense only if you’re running a big e-commerce website and have a large inventory of products. Also, your website needs to be optimized and top-notch, or else the content will not be fetched properly.

Ramp up your negative keywords list

Your negative keywords list is probably something you spent a lot of your time on when creating your AdWords account. But are you regularly monitoring it three months down the line?

When creating the initial negative keyword list, you base your rationale on assumptions and experience. But as you run your campaigns, your insights grow. Did a certain keyword+word generate a lot of traffic but had zilch conversions? Take it out because you’re putting your ad budget towards duff clicks.

Online sales in your overseas markets: never translate your ad campaigns word-for-word

Did Best dishwasher keyword bring you a fair amount of online sales? Good for you, but it doesn’t mean that mejor lavavajillas will do the same for your Colombian e-commerce website. The user intent, reflected in the use of search terms, is culture-specific. Search engines know that very well. So trust the keyword research to an apt localization expert. 

See you back here next week for more tips on boosting your online sales.





Choosing the right translator: how hard can it be?

In our line of work, a faultless process ensures timely delivery and quality. The deadlines are strict. Projects often involve dozens of languages. But a successful translation project starts with something else: choosing the right translator for you. And finding a fit involves more than just looking for the right language pair.

When choosing the right translator, we look at your business vertical…

Translation and localization experts tend to specialize in a few areas over time. Partly, it’s a matter of personal preference. But the real reason is that specialization allows the translator to tap quickly into the industry-specific terminology. The narrower the niche, the more necessary it is to find the right translator with the right background.

This is a general rule. And rules are meant to be broken—if you have the right reasons. Keep on reading.

… but the type of content might warrant looking beyond industry expertise.

Even if your business is aviation engineering, it doesn’t mean you produce only industry-specific technical content. Think about marketing collateral or your annual report. If the content’s nature steers towards creativity rather than technicalities, we’ll select a translator skilled in copywriting and copyediting. Even if it means stretching out of our industry-specific pool of experts.

Have no fear: your terminology will be respected. After all, that’s why we build glossaries and translation memories with you. But while terms can be learned, assembling them creatively requires a personal flair.

Choosing the right translator is a start. Here’s how you can be an active contributor, too.

Choosing the right translators is essential, but grooming them is even more important. The fact that a translator “gets your business and your audience” is not a coincidence. It’s a matter of careful selection and building a relationship with your linguists. If you want to boost the chemistry even further, here are a few tips for you:

  • Give feedback. It’s the most potent element in speeding up the learning curve.
  • Optimize your source content for translation. Not sure how? Here are a few tips.
  • Share your editorial style guide. If you need help with localizing it, you know who to turn to.