Translation for Law Enforcement

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Translation for Law Enforcement

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Translation for Law Enforcement - Bilingva

Translation for Law Enforcement


Law Enforcement agencies have unique requirements when it comes to translation. There are certain issues to consider such as the accuracy of translation, the potential conflict of interest, the possibility of getting subpoenaed to testify – and many other factors that can determine whether translation is admissible in court of law are not.

Below are guidelines Bilingva has developed  for working with Law Enforcement Agencies such as Police Departments, Sheriffs Departments, Attorneys – and any other law-related organizations.

Secure Document Exchange

Translation agency should facilitate a secure document exchange for Police Departments and other Law Enforcement Agencies by leveraging its secure portal for all original work being submitted for translation, all instructions and requests accompanying the documents and for delivery of the translated work.

Agency should designate a Point of Contact for submitting all work through the portal without leveraging email. The agency is notified by the Point of Contact when the documents for translation are uploaded and begin the work. When all work is complete, the agency then notifies the Point of Contact that documents are ready, and the Point of Contact or other authorized representatives provisioned by the translation agency can download the completed translations from the secure portal.

The translation company should also establish a document retention policy:  for example, Bilingva does not retain the documents in the portal any longer than needed – typically until the project is completed and the work is accepted by the agency.


A translation agency that regularly works with highly confidential and sensitive documents including medical research papers and surveys, ID documents, legal paperwork, and many others should have a confidentiality policy in place.

To ensure strict confidentiality, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) should be in place with all of the agency’s linguists and staff members. The translation agency should also sign a mutual Confidentiality Agreement/ NDA with its customers and adheres to its terms and conditions.

All documents should be stored in the secure private cloud with access granted strictly on the “need to know” basis exclusively to the translators working on the documents. Access should be revoked once the translation project is complete. All translator computers should be secured using the corporate security policy, and access to the documents must be revoked remotely in case computers are stolen or lost.

This document retention policy should be a default procedure unless specifically amended by customer when entering into translation contract agreement.

Conflict Of Interest

All translators who work on projects for Law Enforcement Agencies should sign a disclosure that they will notify project manager immediately if they have a conflict of interest which they may discover upon accessing the document.

In case of a conflict of interest for the translator, the translation agency should reassign the project to another translator from its pool. If the conflict of interest arises for the project manager, the project should be transferred to another project manager. In case of the conflict of interest at executive team level, translation agency must notify the Law Enforcement Agency of the conflict and recuse itself from providing the translation.

At Bilingva, all our projects are assigned strictly on the “need to know” basis, so the scope of access to the project is limited to the project manager and the translators directly working on the documents. The executive team, other project managers or translators do not have the access to the document unless specifically granted for the needs of completing the projects.

Court Appearances

When working on the documents for Law Enforcement Agencies or Attorneys, translation agency should keep in mind the possibility of translators getting subpoenaed to testify. It is advisable to try and locate translators from the local pool where the Law Enforcement Agency requesting the translation is based. Translation agency should leverage court-certified translators who are familiar with the practices of the Court of Law.

Proposition 115

A generally unbiased and adequately skilled translator simply serves as a “language conduit,” so that the translated statement is considered to be the statement of the original declarant, and not that of the translator. To that end, the agency should train and reinforce with its court-certified interpreters and translators the methods of conveying the message objectively and without bias, leveraging specific court-approved language such as translating the message in first person, translating the speech of those testifying word for word.


Bilingva has been providing translation services for over fifteen years. Reach out to us to discuss your project and for our no-obligation consultation.