Online Legal English Classes + ILEC exam
Thread poster: Jeff Henson

Jeff Henson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
Member (2015)
French to English
Apr 14, 2015

Hi guys,

So, here's the deal. As it is, I have no background in law or legal studies, but hope to work towards specializing one day in legal translations and eventually prepare the "Diplôme Universitaire de Traducteur-Interprète Juridique at the ESIT in Paris. In preparation for this course of study, I was considering taking some online classes in "Legal English" and I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge or experience with either of the following websites :

LegalVox offers classes to prepare students for the International Legal English Certificate (ILEC) exam, which I was not familiar with. I would alsp be interested in any opinions about this exam, if it is as "recognized" as they claim and a worthwhile investment.

Any advice in this area would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers !

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Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Good starting point Apr 15, 2015

I wasn't aware of the ILEC, but I can comment on the BEC (the business equivalent).

I wouldn't consider it to have much weight in terms of translation where an exceptionally high standard is required. However, it is highly valued amongst managers and consultants. In Germany we have an interesting term for a the proficiency level middle managers and above are supposed to achieve: "verhandlungssicher". Basically, this means that they should be able to negotiate in English (or whatever language is required for their target market). The Cambridge Certificates Business Vantage or Business Higher are generally accepted as proof that this proficiency standard has been achieved.
Yet, if you communicate with these same managers, you will notice that most of them do not write English at a standard fit for publication and they would not be able to translate sophisticated material.

If you are completely new to the world of law and need to get to grips with the basic legal and linguistic concepts, I would consider this a very valid starting point. It will be helpful for some types of legal documents and at a price of $49/month, you really can't go wrong.

But I would also look at in-depth subject-specific courses. They don't have to be expensive either. There is always a good range of law courses available at Coursera and similar providers.

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Ewa Olszowa  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:54
Polish to English
+ ...
Go for it Apr 15, 2015

I took the ILEC course on site (without taking the exam) a couple of years ago before I took legal translation course. Great course, not only in term of learning legal vocabulary and legal writing but also learning about legal systems in English speaking countries and interpreting terms and definitions under various systems (our teacher was a lawyer).
During the course I developed a glossary of terms covered during the course with their translation into my language. It was a great foundation for the further legal translation courses and workshops.

[Edited at 2015-04-15 18:54 GMT]

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Local time: 04:54
Slovak to English
ILEC Apr 15, 2015

Don't forget that the ILEC is actually intended for non-native speakers of English, so you may find a good chunk of it to be of little use at a fairly high cost. Translegal is also geared toward non-native speakers of English but the coursework might be more varied, and you also get access to their nifty legal dictionary with easy to understand definitions. I purchased a TOLES (similar to ILEC) teacher's book for somewhere around 35-40 pounds sterling and after going through about 5 chapters I was glad I hadn't shelled out any money for the actual course.

Diana's suggestion of Coursera and other MOOCs would also be a good way to go.

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