Legal translation is one of the fastest growing in the technical translation field. This is necessitated by formations of various economic and political blocks among nations that use different official languages of communication. For example, according to the Greece ministry of foreign affairs, the demand for qualified translators in this field outstrips the supply. Needless to say, this is a lucrative area for those who are qualified. If your desire is to work here what do you need to fit in?
Before answering this question, it is important to point out a few facts and challenges this market presents.
- Technical terms in this field are increasing faster than the growth in general vocabulary
- More and more clients are demanding proof of specialized knowledge
- Deadline for completed work delivery is getting shorter
- The demand for accuracy in translation is more important than in general translation work. This is because legal documents have far reaching implications.
- Legal translation can involve a wide range of industries and therefore create challenges unless you are ready to develop technical language skills on the go or specialize in a particular industry.
- There are different types of legal translation specialties and it may be necessary to identify an area to subspecialize in. Determine early where you want to specialize in among the following:
- Special purpose standardized legal translation.
- Legal translation work for publications, governments or organizations
- Legal treatises translation
- Translating legal information as a freelancer
Training for a specific legal translation subspecialty puts you ahead of general legal translators. These groups differ in their complexity and so you might want to consider your tolerance degree of job related stress.
Other Specific Requirements to Become a Legal Translator
Should you be a translator who trains in legal translation or do you need to be a lawyer who trains to be a legal translator? While the former can do a satisfactory legal translation work, governments and various organizations require that you have the technical background as a lawyer. As mentioned above, this is important considering the rate of technical terms development.
So while getting certification from the American Translators Association is a plus, having a legal background is important. This is especially so if you want to go beyond general legal translation level.
- Perfect Your Language Combination Skills
General legal translation requires general language and cultural skills of the languages involved. When working in specialized legal translation fields there is a need to have in-depth background knowledge of that specialty, culture and technical language of both source and target languages.
- Gain Experience
Like other occupations, practicing what you have trained in is important. Look for internship (whether paid or not) to give you a taste of the real world of legal translation. It will also help you network and build your legal translation portfolio.
- Let People Know About You
Use all ethical means to market your legal translation services. This will however, depend on your work destination. Do you want to be employed fulltime, work remotely or as an independent freelancer?
Common methods of promoting yourself include the traditional word of mouth, business cards, advertisement in your local paper and others. Today, establishing your web presence through a legal translation services website is one of the best marketing techniques that can give you a global exposure.