You may be a law student looking to get ahead of the competition or a professional who wants to specialize in translation; there are some things you should know. 

Becoming a legal translator requires understanding both the source and target languages and knowledge of legal concepts and terminology. Here are tips on becoming a legal translator:

  1. Get familiar with standard legal terms and concepts

A professional legal translator must have a strong understanding of legal terminology and concepts. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, take some time to learn them. A good resource for this is Legal Language Services’ Glossary of Legal Terms, which provides definitions for standard legal terms in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. 

  1. Know your target audience

When translating legal documents, knowing your target audience is also very important. Make sure your translations are precise and tailored to the audience that will be reading them. For example, if you’re translating an agreement for someone who is not a native speaker of the language, use more straightforward language so that they can easily understand it. 

  1. Understand different types of legal documents 

Different legal processes require different approaches when translating them into another language, such as contracts, patents and depositions.

  1. Get a degree in translation studies or a related field 

It will give you the linguistic skills and cultural awareness needed to be a successful legal translator.

  1. Develop your writing skills in both the source and target languages

Legal documents can be very complex, so writing clearly and concisely in both languages is crucial.

  1. Be familiar with legal concepts and terminology in both languages

This is possible by reading legal text, attending seminars or taking courses offered by professional associations such as the American Translators Association (ATA).

  1. Stay up-to-date 

Stay up-to-date on developments in both the source and target cultures and changes in the law that could impact your translations. You can follow news sources and trade publications relevant to your language pairings.