Court translators rewrite or paraphrase written words in legal documents into another language. Court translation should not be confused with court interpretation, which involves the spoken word.
While many translation jobs require a bachelor's degree, students seeking training in court translation have options including job-specific training and certificate programs. Applicants to a court translation program need to have proficiency in reading and writing English and another language, such as Spanish.
Here is an outline of common concepts taught in court translation programs:
- Fundamentals of translation
- Text analysis and revision
- Legal terminology development
- Legal writing (both languages)
- Legal systems
- Supreme Court system
List of Common Courses
Introductory Translation Course
Linguistics, translation theory and vocabulary are some of the topics covered in introductory translation courses. Courses may allow for considerable translation practice, both within the classroom and at home. The prerequisite for introductory translation courses is typically fluency in both languages (English and a non-English language such as Spanish, for example).
Legal translation courses may offer hands-on practice and the study of legal concepts related to the U.S. legal system. Some courses may focus on criminal law. Prerequisites may include introductory translation coursework, and passing an entrance exam.
Legal Spanish Translation Course
The basics of translating from English to Spanish, and from Spanish to English are covered in this class. Legal contracts, writings of international organizations, as well as civil and criminal law are translated. Legal language and terminology in both languages are examined.