Cautions for Contractors Embarking on Overseas Projects: Language and Translations

By Colleen Telling, Esq., Manager and Counsel, AIA Contract Documents

February 1, 2022

If a Client requires that its contract with the Contractor be translated, the translator should be knowledgeable about design, construction, and legal terminology, in addition to non-technical language. However, if the entire contract is being translated from English into the Client’s language, the Contractor may wish to obtain a translator’s certification/affidavit that the foreign-language version is identical in meaning to the English version, and that it is complete and accurate. Another option is to attach the English-language version to the translated contract.  If there are dual-language contracts, the Contractor should request that the English version govern, as English is the common language for international contracts.  However, it can be common for the foreign language version of the contract to govern. The language of the contract can also be significant because it is typically the language in which future dispute resolution is conducted, barring any contract provisions to the contrary.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.