Help me make the best choice
Thread poster: Kameliya
Kameliya  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:27
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 14, 2007

Hello, everybody!
I need your advice, cause I am totally confused and torn inside which choice to make. Three years ago I graduated a university where my major was English. Now I work as an in-house translator, and mainly I do technical and legal translations. I love my job! However now i am enrolled in a law school. This choice of mine to gain knowledge in another domain was determined by many people's advice who would say, "You won't be a translator all your life. The number of English-speaking people in Russia is increasing rapidly and you won't be able to make a difference. It is much better when English is used as an instrument to do another job". That is why I started law. I don't have so much fancy for law as for English and French (my second language), and now I am thinking it is worth it? I dread to think that because of my law studies I 'll have to abandon, at least partly, my continuous self-improvement in the linguistic domain, cause I simply won't have enough time! But I do want to enhance my language skills, to grow professionally as a translator, maybe to learn another language. And noone can be jack of all trades, i cannot become a good lawyer and remain equally highly-professional translator...which choice to make? what advice can you give me? I will appreciate your comments


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tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
English to Latvian
+ ...
Yes Mar 15, 2007

It is definitely worth it. A translator with a degree in law can (and should) specialise in this field, and legal matters are such a tricky area that no company within their right mind would entrust their legal documents, contracts and such to be translated by just "English-speaking people".
I firmly believe that this will only improve your chances to become a translator in great demand.

[Edited at 2007-03-16 00:07]

[Edited at 2007-03-16 00:07]


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:27
English to French
+ ...
translator+lawyer : this is definitely a good mixture Mar 15, 2007

Well, I don't know the situation in Russia, but where I live translators with a strong specialisation in law (meaning : a degree in law) are quite in demand and can ask for nice rates.

Lot of people think that they can speak English, and maybe it is enough for their needs.
But when it comes to signing a big contract, every part needs to understand what they are about to sign, so law + translations is definitely an advantage.

Here at ProZ there are lot of lawyer+translator ; maybe they can give you more information.

Anyway, who are these people who say "You won't be a translator all your life" ?? WHy not ? How do they know ?

Maybe you won't becaome "un tenor du barreau" (a very good and famous lawyer, as we say in French) but you could build a business between lawyers and businessmen.


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K. Ponnan  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 17:27
English to Tamil
+ ...
Of course it is possible Mar 15, 2007

I know one lawyer who was doing both for quite some time. When he gave up law, he became a full-time translator. I heard he is doing quite well too.

So, why not? People can say all they want. But you are the one who is actually going to do it. So you should listen to your heart and do what you want to do for yourself.
Listen to everyone but finally you make the decision.

Like Nordiste, I hope other proz lawyer cum translators will be able to give you precise info on this matter.

KP


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Kameliya  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:27
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks Mar 15, 2007

Many thanks to all of you!!!
I do appreciate your sincere advice!
You helped me make up my mind, put my thoughts/likes/dislikes in order and now I know I will proceed! First of all for myself and also for those sceptical people to witness me becoming a professional in two different, both - rich and captivating, domains: linguistics and law (funny , both words start with L, they do make a great team!)))


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:27
German to English
+ ...
Law & Translation Mar 15, 2007

It is entirely possible to combine both - I do.

In fact, since I became a lawyer (I translated throughout law school), my translation workload has skyrocketed. Specialization also allows me to negotiate "better" prices.

The demand for competent, qualified legal translators (especially those with a degree in law) is huge - and it is growing. This has partly to do with the fact that many translators won't touch legal translations with a ten-foot pole (and rightfully so).

On the other hand, money isn't everything. Studying law is very time-intensive. I doubt that it would be possible to continue working full-time as a freelance translator and still have time to do well in your courses. And you'll also have to sleep eventually (I can attest to being able to go many days without, though I wouldn't recommend it).

The amount of time and effort that I think one should (or must) put into law school is such that I would recommend taking a stern and an objective look at your reasons for wanting to go down that path. If those reasons are of a purely financial nature, there is a chance that you may end up being very unhappy, though the money may be good.

In the end I think it is very important to do what you really enjoy doing, because you will end up doing a whole lot of it either way. But as far as successfully being able to integrate the two fields, I am of the opinion that it is not only doable, but a very lucrative combination that can be a lot of fun (it can, of course, also be deadly boring at times, but such is life).

Good luck in whatever you decide is best for you!


Oh, and by the way, I disagree with your assumption that studying law will stall your linguistic development. Working with law is working with language. If anything, it may actually help you to understand and work with your own language (just don't give into the temptation to fill your texts with legalese, and it may even improve you linguistic abilities).



[Edited at 2007-03-15 15:22]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
Seconded Mar 15, 2007

Derek Gill Franßen wrote:

The demand for competent, qualified legal translators (especially those with a degree in law) is huge - and it is growing. This has partly to do with the fact that many translators won't touch legal translations with a ten-foot pole (and rightfully so).



Hi Kseniya,

I can only second everything Derek says.

You have a hard slog ahead of you, granted, but if you're up to challenge and (more importantly) enjoy the law, you'll find it very worthwhile.

It may take some time to get into the "legal eagle" way of thinking and some of the legal theory you do at the beginning can be a bit dry, but if you stick it out it's a fascinating field of study, with countless options for specialisation. Law affects every aspect of life.

Genuine legal translators - and I say that as legal translation is a bandwagon many think they can jump on, till the going gets tough - are in high demand and can command good to excellent rates.

You can also look at legal consulting, research and teaching (both law and language for legal purposes) as other fringe activities - there is no need to focus on either translating or mainstream law when you're finished. There are many options, which you can successfully combine.

Good luck
Deborah


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:27
German to English
+ ...
Other related activities... Mar 15, 2007

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
You can also look at legal consulting, research and teaching (both law and language for legal purposes) as other fringe activities - there is no need to focus on either translating or mainstream law when you're finished. There are many options, which you can successfully combine.


This is a very good point worth repeating.


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