Training for legal translators. Part I. Introduction.

What should you study to become a legal translator? And when you are one, what should you do to become a better one?

I think you need to:

  1. Know the two main legal traditions and your legal systems.
  2. Know how to study your source and target legal systems.
  3. Have a document focus.
  4. Practice and get feedback.
  5. Find a deeper specialisation.
  6. Make at least one big study commitment.

I’m going to cover these points in three separate blog posts.

Points 1 and 2 cover the basic knowledge you need. Points 3, 4 and 5 are about how to get better. Point 6 is about making a one-off study commitment that will fast forward getting the knowledge and skills talked about in points 1 to 5.

Why break it down like this? Because these are the areas that have jumped out at me on my journey towards specialisation.

And I’m still on that journey, which is partly why I’m writing these posts. I want to sort out which direction to go in next.

Because that’s the thing about CPD (continuing professional development). Returns do diminish as you progress. But you can always find pockets of ignorance to explore within a specialisation.

Written by Rob Lunn

Rob Lunn is a freelance legal translator based in Spain. He translates from Spanish and Catalan into English.