Master's degree in legal translation by distance learning
Thread poster: ALIALBALA

Local time: 17:39
May 23, 2013

I am really interested in a globally recognized master's degree in legal translation by distance learning
English/Arabic/English. I am seeking for your suggestion/advice or help that may lead me to achieve my goal.


Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't think one exists May 23, 2013

I'm trying to search for one myself since the closure of the MA in Legal Translation at City University in London and have found that there are very few Masters/MSCs in translation that are in any specialized subject.

I found this one browsing the net the other day which could be of interest to you as it's in the UAE:

I'm just not convinced it still exists because it doesn't appear on the main site of the university.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:39
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I doubt such a program would be even possible May 23, 2013

There is much more to legal translation than just learning the phrases and techniques. There are some courses like that I think, but I cannot really imagine an MA program which would most likely have to have a legal degree, prior to it, as a prerequisite.


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:39
English to Polish
+ ...
I'd learn some law Jun 3, 2013

I'd learn some law. Not necessarily normal law degrees, but definitely some law. That is, if you really want to be serious about it (since I do teach a 'lite' version of legal Polish to English myself, it has its uses).


Richard Delaney FCIL CL
Local time: 15:39
German to English
Possible but rare Apr 4, 2014


Why wouldn't it be possible? At City University we ran a course like that for 5 years. In addition to general principles of legal translation (what constitutes a 'legal' translation, what does one need to bear in mind, how does it differ from other types of translation, etc.), we also provided a comprehensive overview over a number of different legal aspects, such as contract law, litigation, company law, etc. This overview was provided in English, in respect of the English legal system, and in the other language the students specialised in, for their respective legal system.

By doing this, we aimed to make students aware of the fact that certain concepts just don't translate, and that other solutions may need to be found where there is a conceptual gap.

It was not a law degree, as the emphasis was different- but it did provide our students with a basic understanding of the two legal systems they were working with, as well as a fairly good idea of where they could research problems further.

In addition to that, and probably most importantly, rather than providing all the answers (which simply isn't possible), it did at least make them far more adept at recognising that there might be a problem, which a less trained translator might not even identify as such.


James Roden  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:39
French to English
No easy answer Apr 20, 2015

While there are (above, for example) courses that will give you an overview of how to deal with legal texts, there is no quick fix for gaining specialist knowledge. If you already have a formal qualification in Translation, what you need is in-depth knowledge of the subject area - either by taking, for example, a degree in comparative legal studies of some sort, or by just hitting the books and teaching yourself.

Full disclosure: I was a qualified lawyer before I became a translator. This does mean I spent many years on a career path I effectively aborted, making it a very expensive and time-consuming route to being a legal translator, but, personal bias notwithstanding, I think you might want to consider whether trying to "pick up" a specialist area, especially one as conceptually complex as law, is the best approach. I do think that the ideal is to train as a translator with specialist knowledge already under your belt. If you are going to seek to add specialist knowledge to your repertoire , it might be a little over-optimistic to think that you can become a master translator and a subject expert all in one degree.


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Master's degree in legal translation by distance learning

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