If you’re interested in becoming a legal translator, you’ve probably already learned that it’s not an easy job to get or to perform. The path to becoming one involves a lot of laws and regulations that are meant to protect the consumer and encourage high-quality work from translators and interpreting professionals. It can be hard to understand how the legal translation business works with so many rules to follow. In this guide, Legal service translation (LST), go over the basics of the regulations for legal translators and what they mean for you as a translator looking to break into this field of work.
An Introduction to the Regulations for Legal Translators
You must have a high school diploma to be eligible to become a translator, regardless of whether you plan on working in-house or freelance. Many companies will hire those with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. There are no federal regulations that require you to meet any requirements before becoming a translator. Still, nearly all states have licensing and registration requirements.
You may need to have certifications in specific languages depending on where you plan on translating documents (or which languages you plan on translating). It’s also important to note that many companies hire people who are not citizens of English-speaking countries as translators. They must be fluent in both languages and educated in their own country.
How is legal translation different from other translations?
Legal translation is unique in many ways. It’s not a translation at all but a re-writing. Why does that matter? When one translates from one language to another, they recreate what is said from memory. Most translations adhere to guidelines that allow them to do so.
Lawyers don’t use these guides. Though they want their documents translated word-for-word because they must be true and correct, or they can even negatively affect litigation outcomes. The other thing that makes legal translations different from other translations is how reliable they need to be. No one wants any errors when legal matters are on the line!
Regulations for legal translators vary according to state
Federal regulations for legal translators stipulate that companies use freelance translators rather than in-house employees for sensitive legal matters. However, laws vary according to country, and a number of states do not have stringent regulations regarding translator licensing.
Many people choose careers as legal translators because they can work from home and set their hours. Suppose you’re interested in becoming a legal translator. In that case, you may want to check with your state’s licensing department to see if you will need any additional qualifications before getting started.
Legal translators rely on reference material.
Though a legal translator has earned an advanced degree in translation and is experienced in both languages, she still needs to rely on reference material. This can include anything from court decisions to local regulations. For example, suppose a legal translator is working on a contract between two parties in France. In that case, he might need to consult French statutes and government regulations.
Although it may seem like an extra step, getting those points of reference ensures that you do your due diligence when translating legal documents. The translation is more than just a word-for-word exchange; there are plenty of nuances that only come with experience and research. Some professional Legal Service Translation Companies keep their customers’ best interests at heart. To follow the regulations for legal translators, make sure you have everything you need before beginning any translation project!
Legal translators depend on specific locals.
Certain translators are accustomed to translating specific kinds of documents that belong to certain industries. For example, legal translators need to be familiar with law-related terminology and jargon. Thus, they must specialize in law to continue working as legal translators. Lawyers also have unique needs when it comes to translations. Their documents must be translated flawlessly and always immediately if there is any time sensitivity involved in those papers. Since these papers are more important than any other document, having an expert translator ensure you’re getting high-quality work is critical. To have consistently good work from your translation service provider, find out the regulations for legal translators in your country. And make sure your provider understands them clearly.
Legal translators need language expertise.
To become a legal translator, an individual must be bilingual and have extensive knowledge of both languages. In addition to fluency in two languages, a legal translator must understand cultural nuances and specific legal terms. The ability to work independently is also critical as translators may spend hours reading documents without any interaction with others. This can make it difficult for some individuals who prefer more social work environments.
There are some governing regulations for legal translators and their work environment as with any profession. This includes laws regarding confidentiality of information, which prevents translators from sharing confidential information about clients or cases with anyone outside of their translation company or law firm. Other regulations include laws regarding whether or not legal service translation companies can hire freelance translators who do not belong to professional organizations. These regulations differ from state to state.
Legal translators need cultural knowledge.
A good legal translator has to have a detailed understanding of cultures. They have to be able to translate in a way that’s both accurate and culturally appropriate, making sure not to give an inaccurate impression of either party.
For example, Latin American countries are more likely to tolerate indirect translations than others. German is well-known for being extremely direct, so translators need special care when translating from German into English. If your case involves international litigation, you may want to hire a professional LST specializing in these cases.
The Bottom Line
The legal community provides a different set of challenges and demands than some other types of translators. Given all of these variables, it’s important to carefully select a legal translator who has specific qualifications and experience in providing language services to lawyers, judges, paralegals and other professionals within your state or jurisdiction.
Many states require that professional certified interpreters have previously worked in another profession such as education or law before becoming eligible for licensure.