If you think fluency is the sole factor that will determine your success as a legal translator — think again. In this type of job, you need to be intelligent, driven, and open-minded. In addition to those things, below are some excellent guidelines on how to become a legal translator.
Study Foreign Languages
Although it’s better to be raised multilingual, you can develop the right language skills by studying a foreign language.
While you’re studying foreign languages, don’t forget to focus on your English, too. Your career will also depend highly on your proficiency in your native tongue. Especially when it comes to legal translation, a mistake a stir huge controversy.
Secure a Bachelor’s Degree
Most employers favor interpreters that have a bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a foreign language, but a degree in a relevant domain will earn you extra points. Taking legal studies as a minor or a major can also help you secure a job.
Improve Your Computer Skills
It’s not enough that you are highly fluent in a different language. To become a professional legal translator at a company like PickWriters, you also need to be skilled in using specific computer programs, particularly MS Office. Familiarizing yourself with such software can help you be more efficient, and it increases your chances of getting hired sooner.
Improve your typing skills as well. Since you’ll be working with documents, you need to possess an above-average typing speed as well as typing accuracy.
And while you are brushing up on your computer skills, don’t forget about your researching skills. For a new legal translator, you can’t really know everything about the job, particularly the terms and regulations. Your ability to do your own research can help you learn things you may not know from attending school or seminars.
Get a certification
Possessing credentials is one way to prove that you actually have the skills to translate professionally.
There are tons of universities that offer certifications and degrees in professional translation. One of them is the American Translator’s Association.
Now, if you want to get hired as a medical or judicial interpreter, the International Medical Interpreters Association or the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters are good options.
Take note that a certification isn’t a strict requirement. However, since being certified enables you to be listed on website directories, you’ll have a higher chance of getting hired quicker than otherwise. There, potential employers can look up your name and see if you are a good fit for the job.
Apart from getting certified, you can also consider undergoing tests to prove your language proficiency. You can simply choose to take an exam on your particular language and share the results with your employers.
Gain Enough Experience
Like other jobs, you need to have enough experience before you can work your way up. One way you can do that is to go out and find jobs, including entry-level work. You can also try doing internships.
Your work experience is essential to being a successful legal translator. It’s how you can get started in finding bigger clients and work opportunities.
Market Your Skills
After getting enough work experience, reach out to government agencies, police stations, clinics, hospitals, and law firms to market your skills. Be open-minded when it comes to finding a job, opportunities await everywhere.
Fulfill the Necessary Requirements
If you’ll be working in state courts, it’s vital for you to know that most of them require their legal interpreters to pass their own certification programs or exams given by other professional organizations and agencies. Two of them is the Consortium of Language Access in the Courts and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.
Before you submit an application, research their requirements and prepare ahead of the exam. That way, you’ll have a much better chance of passing and securing the job.
As you start working as a legal translator, don’t be too relaxed in your position. Research and update your knowledge on the latest changes in legislation. As an informed translator, you’re sure that you’ll make no errors in your translations.
Improve what you know
Stay up to date with the latest development, regulations, and trends in your chosen career. Find out the most recent terminology changes, too. It’ll help you stay ahead in this competitive industry.
The road towards becoming a legal translator isn’t that easy, and there’s really no shortcut. There are a lot of things you need to do and undergo if you want to get hired fast and be successful in your chosen career.
However, once you’re there, you’ll find a lot of work opportunities, and there are a lot of work settings that can truly challenge you. With hard work, commitment, and this guide, you’ll be able to land a job soon.