May 19, 2020

What Are the Qualities and Skills of a Legal Translator?

By: Colleen Jilio-Ryan | Posted in: court reporting

The need for a legal translator has increased dramatically over the last few years. With more and more people visiting from foreign countries and obtaining student and work visas, the need for translators capable of working in the legal and healthcare fields has continued to grow. With proper training, individuals who speak multiple languages can often build a lucrative business translating for the courts and attorneys.

Here are some essential qualities and skills a legal translator should have:

A Working Knowledge of the Legal System

Legal TranslatorsIf a person expects to succeed as a legal translator, they must have a thorough working knowledge of the legal system. This means understanding the processes involved in different types of cases, as well as being able to work within the different areas of the legal industry. It is important to understand what an attorney requires, as well as what is expected of them in a courtroom setting.

Able to Maintain the Integrity of the Piece as It Is Being Translated

One of the most important aspects of translation is the ability to provide an accurate and complete translation from one language to another. It is important that the questions or statements be relayed in the exact context as they are spoken. Individuals who are natural born speakers of a language are often more proficient in this aspect, but those who take the time to learn the nuances of a specific language can become just as proficient.

Years of Legal Experience

When working as a legal translator, having several years of experience is extremely beneficial. This provides the person with a working knowledge of the law and how it applies to certain proceedings. A person who has experience in the legal field will be able to handle the pressure and stress of certain situations that may be uncomfortable for someone who has not worked in the environment before.

Advanced Language Knowledge

A legal translator is expected to have a language-specific skill-set that includes commanding knowledge of their native language and should have an equal level of authority with the second language. In order to be a good legal translator, the person needs to understand the differences of meaning, expression, or tones. They should have an advanced level or near-native level of knowledge of their source language.

Excellent Writing Skills

To be a legal translator, a person must have a strong writing ability. Also, having a vast legal vocabulary is an asset for a legal translator when they know how to effectively use the words. They are always required to write the clear and grammatically correct text of their legal translations.

Legal Knowledge & Experience

A high level of understanding of legal matters and legal systems of at least two countries are required. In addition to this, a legal translator should have specialist knowledge of certain branches of legal systems like federal and state statutes, civil laws and criminal laws, etc. Additionally, the legal translator must be able to contextualize legalese and ensure that there is no loss of meaning after translation in the final document.

Legal translation offers many opportunities for those who choose it as a career option. However, the person needs to work on their skills to be a successful legal translator.

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