specialising in contracts
Thread poster: Will Masters

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 7, 2011

Hi everyone.

I'm in the process in finishing off my degree at the moment and have decided that I would like to specialise ideally in legal translations. I know saying "legal translations" isn't very specific, with there being so many types of legal fields, and so to be narrow it down a little more I have thought mainly about translating contracts and patents.

From your personal experiences, what would you suggest to be the best way to begin to specialise in these?

Thanks in advance.


Ivan Rocha, CT
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would say... Nov 7, 2011

Read *a lot* of law books. Legal contracts, like any other specialized documents, are written by people in the field, using their specific jargon (legalese). If you are not fully acquainted with at least the basics of legal terminology, you will have a hard time starting out in the field.

Sounds obvious, but that's the best advice I can give you.


David Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:51
German to English
+ ...
Contracts and patents are worlds apart Nov 8, 2011

For patents you really need a high level of knowledge in the specific fields of technology; they rarely if ever involve legal terminology.

Contracts - beware of gettign bored silly / and the risk that they are probably one of the legal areas taht could soon be taken over by machine translation (if lawyers could decide not to reinvent the wheel every time they draft a contract!)

Contracts are good to start with (and witha little experience are vey easy to do), but you might want to move into other aspects of the law as well.

You don't say what degree you are getting - a degree in law is obviously the most useful.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seek training! Nov 8, 2011

After many years in business I decided to take proper training about translation of legal and business documents and I am tremendously happy I did. Legal or business translation is not my main activity, but I do get smaller jobs in those specialties every now and then from my regular customers.

Only proper training with an expert trainer can introduce you to the general approach, needs, and subtleties of these specialties.

If you are not in a position to pursue a degree in law and/or economics at this time of your life, my advice is that you look for in-class training (with plenty of practice texts evaluated by the trainer) about this matter, at least in your main language pair, and that you attend all courses you can after that.

Good luck!


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