best way of becoming a legal translator?
Thread poster: Clare Forder

Clare Forder
Local time: 05:29
French to English
+ ...
Feb 19, 2007

I would like to specialise (eventually) in legal translation, but am not sure of the best way to do this. I have two options - study/work as a paralegal or take a legal translation course. Which, in your opinion, is the best option? Thanks in advance for any advice!

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xxxfinntranslat  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:29
English to Finnish
+ ...
In my opinion... Feb 19, 2007

...you should go to a course and receive the license through that way.

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laurettap  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
MA/Diploma City University Feb 19, 2007

Hi Clare,

I found a link to a MA/Diploma in Legal Translation you might be interested in: it's organized by the City University and it is a two years course (part-time)

Here is the link:
http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/courses/legal_translation_entry.html

There are also some courses on legal terminology, which might be interesting.

http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/courses/contract_law.html


I hope it helps.

Good Luck,

Laura


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Clare Forder
Local time: 05:29
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thank you! Feb 19, 2007

Thanks Laura - those courses look very interesting! Much appreciated

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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:29
French to English
Just a thought Feb 19, 2007

Hi there,

As your language combination is German to English, you will need to learn about the German legal system.

Working as a paralegal in a German law firm for a couple of years would help get you that knowledge.

Good luck!
Mary

(I do French to English legal translation)


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
City Feb 19, 2007

Clare Forder wrote:

Thanks Laura - those courses look very interesting! Much appreciated


Hi Clare

I'm interested in the City Uni courses too, and apparently, they have a new MA in Legal Translation which will be available in modules, as a PG, and as a master's.

If you write to me I will send you the PDF I received today.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What license? Feb 24, 2007

finntranslat wrote:

...you should go to a course and receive the license through that way.


You cannot assume that the system is the same in every country.
In the UK for example there are no such licences, and before you ask, I can tell you: no "certified translator" either.


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Adi Al-Ka'bi
Local time: 08:29
Arabic to English
+ ...
I never studied translation, but I translate Mar 3, 2007

Who says you need to know the laws and to have studied for legal translation? If you are a good translator and have a good translation dictionary for legal terms, that's all that you need. You might find the dictionary/ies in your pair online and hence won't even need to purchase any. You aren't writing the laws for those two countries to need to know their laws. You just need to know the terms that you are translating and to translate them from one jargon into another.

I'm an engineer and I've translated all sorts of legal documents from lawsuits to marriage and birth certificates to driving license certificates to legal contracts, agreements etc. As long as I'm not asked for a legal stamp, I can provide them in better quality than most that have stamps here. A legal stamp is only provided/licensed if you have a registered office where I am. I'd rather save the rent and other expenses for that. I'm not sure but in many places you don't have to get a license from anyone. You make your own stamp and you are responsible for what you stamped should there have been anything that caused any problems for your client. But check on that at your locality first. It's not so where I am.


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Dennis Bodde
Netherlands
Local time: 06:29
Dutch to English
+ ...
>I never studied translation, but I translate May 8, 2007

Quite right, Adi.
Too much emphasis on diplomas, referees and all that other crap.
A small test translation will soon weed out so-called accredited translators.
I have been translating for more than 10 years now and I am frequently requested to 'tart up' already completed 'professional' translations. Too many damn narcists in this profession who lean on their credentials but lack savvy.
Nothing like common sense, intuition and a good grasp of nuance.
I also translate legal docs and have never taken a specific course for this. I am a sworn translator but use this purely for marketing and extra dough, not as an accolade.
Wanna translate effectively? Learn the rudiments of grammar & style and don't be conditioned by what others consider to be 'official'.


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Doroto
Local time: 12:29
English to Chinese
+ ...
partially agree Jun 9, 2007

While I agree with some guys that one does not need to spend money to acquire sort of credentials, I think to be a legal translator, one has got to learn some basic staff about lalw.

As I am a legal translator doing Chinese versus English legal trasnslation. I understand it is not easy to discern those nuanses of legal terminologies mainly because of the differences inherent in the world two legal families (common law and civil law). This is not something your dictionary can help you. On this point, I definitely disagreed with Adi.

Also, the style. Style carries weight in terms of legal translation. This is something one has to take time for nurturing such techniques and I spend almost one year to come to a point where my writing in English "looks like" a lega doc.

Anyway, practice makes perfect.


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