What is the difference between an “Attorney-Translator/Revisionist” and a “legal translator”?
I’m sure that we all remember…
The years of preparation in acquiring the solid and correct use of language and logic skills in order to consider sitting for the law school entrance exam.
The sleepless days and nights spent studying… the study aids, study group, trial exams.
In my case, I had to take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). It was not an “impossible” exam to pass with preparation, but it was, for me, indeed a challenge to retrain my mind to think like a lawyer. I can remember the headaches and backaches from sitting at my desk (or kitchen table) in the same position for hours on end, memorizing concepts and improving my response times with a stopwatch.
The years dedicated to the study of law. I remember reviewing every legal concept imaginable both in the classroom as well as with books and texts (I am well aware that specialization in a specific area of law requires an analysis that goes far deeper than my general legal studies). It is only having worked with the decades of the drafting of and the translation of highly technical commercial transactions and the in-depth study and research of said documents over the years that has given me a high level of expertise. It wasn´t easy to learn and/or understand some legal concepts, but I was finally able to do so with a great deal of study and thanks to the help of classmates, professors and colleagues, who gave me a variety of opinions and helped me to better define the various mechanisms, elements, conditions, exceptions, etc., leaving me with the task of deciding what works in real world situations.
In my law studies in the US, there is an intensive focus on jurisprudence (legal precedent). Of course, I had to carefully study many thousands of cases, always at the appeals level. The facts of the case, the identification of the issue(s) to be decided, the arguments including those of the devil’s advocate, the application of the law (statutory, regulatory, etc.) to the issues to be decided and, the conclusion and the ruling(s). And then the appeals of the same lower court decisions… affirmed, affirmed in part, affirmed with observations, with modifications, remanded with instructions, etc.
So many cases… tons of books… mandatory backpack replacement. The law library became my second home. The old days, right?
The memorization of statutes and their particular elements, codes, articles, regulations (CFR’s – federal). Thousands of hours of study and preparation.
Ring a bell?
The bar exam… a piece of cake for so much effort. Months, weeks, days and hours of preparation with a stopwatch. So many areas studied but not questioned on the exam. Everything that I have learned has served me in some way both as a practicing attorney and now as a multilingual legal communications specialist.
Sound a little familiar?
Moving forward, I acquired tremendous experience while in practice and now as a legal communications specialist. During my practice I filtered the facts as set forth by potential clients tossing aside the residual and making decisions as to the validity of their claims or assertions based upon the various legal avenues that could be travelled always with alternative dispute resolution as an indispensable step. The discovery, interrogatories, depositions, motions to compel (production), reading through multitudinous pages of interrogatories only to identify a few relevant pages, words or missteps, etc. I sought out the solution that would provide the best outcome for the client (even if it meant much less potential income for me) considering variables such as costs, time and potential external changes (the law, the regs, politics … you know). There was always the frustrating and occasional need to litigate which was rare in that almost everything was settled post-discovery in ADR or direct negotiations.
Plans of action are evaluated, legal research is performed, legal memos are written, there is an exchange of information between colleagues, judges, law professors and even family members (the opinions of especially small children are always the best because small children always seem to know the fairest outcome of most any dispute). Then there is the drafting of all types of motions, documents, correspondence, pre-contracts, contracts, powers of attorney, affidavits, mediated or arbitrated settlements, etc.
An Attorney-Translator/Revisionist with his/her level of experience has done all of this and much, much more.
On the other hand, one asks himself/herself:
What preparation does a legal translator have?
As opposed to an Attorney-Translator/Revisionist, a legal translator has only received a certificate or bachelor’s degree in translation with no area of specialty. If the translator wishes to specialize in legal translations, he/she takes a one-semester course on legal terminology.
We must then ask ourselves: Have legal translators the experience to “interpret” the various legal concepts and how such legal concepts and or contracts fit into a certain chain of legal events in a progression or sequence of ideas, concepts and/or agreements?
THE ANSWER IS NO.
Do you want to offer your clients legal translations and revisions performed by a person who is less qualified than an Attorney-Translator/Revisionist? Do you want to give your clients a translation or document prepared by a person who is a non-native speaker of the given language?
If either of your answers are “NO”, you should strongly consider outsourcing your translation and revision work to an Attorney-Translator/Revisionist at our company, MAI LEGAL SOLUTIONS.
Among the benefits that have already been described, we promise to help to help you to avoid the hidden costs of having to review the translations performed by simple legal translators, having to correct their errors in interpretation, lexicon and terminology, to help you to save time by freeing up attorney hours so that your attorneys and staff may deal with more productive activities and, finally, to help you to save money for your organization and to save money for the end client.