Translation terminology can be confusing at times. The term “Legal Translation” refers to the translation of official documents like birth certificates, diplomas, marriage certificates, wills, etc. for use in another country. In the United Arab Emirates, the people who are able to translate such documents are called Legal Translators. In other countries, however, Legal Translators are known as Sworn or Certified Translators.
UAE Legal Translators have to be accredited and authorized by the Ministry of Justice and are given a legal stamp to show their accreditation. The Ministry of Justice only gives accreditation to translators who work to and from Arabic. Translators working with any other language combination will need to be accredited by an Embassy or Consulate.
There are two main types of Legal Translation in the UAE. The first is the translation of documents issued abroad for official use in the UAE. In these cases, the original document must first be attested by the Embassy of the UAE in the document’s country of origin. So, if the document was issued in Barcelona, it has to be attested by the Spanish Embassy of the UAE. In the UAE, these documents must then be attested and stamped at a local office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). After this, the document is ready to be translated. This translation can only be completed by a sworn Translator for the Ministry of Justice.
The second type of Legal Translation in the UAE involves documents issued in the UAE for use abroad. These must first be signed and stamped by the UAE institution that issued it. Then it needs attestation from MOFA. Next, the document needs to be attested by the Embassy of the country of destination. So again, if it is going to be used in Spain, the Spanish Embassy in the UAE will need to give its attestation. Some countries will also allow this attestation to come from the Consulate rather than the Embassy. After all of these steps, the document is ready to be translated by a sworn translator.