Legal Translator

A legal translator is an individual who works in judicial settings, and translates legal documents. The individual must have a working knowledge of the written language in the original text, in order to provide accurate translations. Additionally, the legal translator must have an accurate understanding of cultural variations of the language. Many words and phrases do not directly translate from one language to another. This is especially important when translating statements or informal texts, where colloquial language, regional dialects and slang can make translation more difficult. Therefore, the translator must be able to keep the intended meaning and context intact.

In the courtroom, the legal translator may need to translate witness statements, written evidence or other documents, so that members of the court can use the information to make fair decisions. Most translators do not work in a single setting; they work as individual contractors on a variety of cases. Individuals that perform legal translation obtain certifications to increase their job opportunities. Although each state has different certification requirements, earning nationally recognized certification in translation may allow them to work remotely for employers in other localities. Since legal translation requires a high degree ethics and trust, it is imperative that translators earn recognized credentials to prove their competence and ability to be unbiased.

Translators typically become members of organizations such as the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) in order to establish them as professionals, attend continuing education events and have access to more employment opportunities. Prospective employers often look at databases from NAJIT and similar organizations to find certified translators that are proficient in a specific language.