Real Estate Transaction in Italy. Legal Translations

Real Estate Transaction in Italy. Legal Translations

An accurate understanding of the Italian legal system is essential for a translator dealing with an Italian real estate transaction


All legal documents relating to an Italian real estate transaction must be in Italian, regardless of the nationality of the parties.

Italian legal writing is highly technical, ritualistic and often archaic due to close links with Roman Law. Legal language can seem obscure for people without a solid legal background in Italian law. 

There are huge differences between Common Law and Italian Civil Law. This can add to the confusion. In fact, there are legal concepts in Roman Law that simply do not exist in Common Law and vice versa. There are concepts bearing the same name in the two systems but with different meanings.

An accurate understanding of legal systems and processes is therefore essential for translators or interpreters dealing with Italian real estate transactions. Translators require an in-depth knowledge of specialist terminology as well as knowledge of legal concepts. 

This is why you should never sign a legal document without a lawyer to explain commitments in your own language.

Italian versions of contracts prevail in a court of law 

Italian real estate agents often use pre-printed contracts with an English translation. In reality, these translations are rarely faithful and can often be misleading for the buyer. It’s important to underline that in case of litigation, the Italian version of any contract will always prevail in a court of law.

In the most crucial completion phase of the real estate transaction, you will have to sign the deed of sale in the presence of a public notary. The Italian law requires the presence of an interpreter if one or more parties does not speak fluent Italian.

Our advice is to make sure that your interpreter is qualified not only from a linguistic point of view, but also in terms of legal background.

Another crucial aspect to bear in mind is the independence of the interpreter in order to avoid any conflict of interest. This precludes using the real estate agent, a relative or a friend of any parties involved in the transaction.

Finally …

Engaging a bilingual property lawyer will ensure you have the right expertise throughout your Italian real estate transaction. Your lawyer will always make sure you have a full understanding of all documents before you sign them. In addition, a lawyer can act as your interpreter to explain all the legal ramifications. If you need any assistance with your property purchase in Italy, Please get in touch.