There is a new standard for legal translation. I am not interested in acquiring a standard, in particular this one, but I do think it’s interesting what the committee who prepared the standard thought about legal translators.
It’s for individual legal translators but it seems the ATC (Association of Translation Companies) is considering selling packages to help people apply.
The new standard for individual legal translators has been widely reported. Legal translators are wondering if they will feel obliged to have it, what it will cost them in time and money, whether clients will require it and so on. I followed a webinar by the ATC on it. I honestly can’t see this standard going anywhere. The German authorities aren’t going to adopt it because they think that ISO 10771 with an appendix suffices.
The document can be bought for CHF 118 from iso.org. It can be bought as a PDF and downloaded.
Background can be found at Slator: Germany Rejects ISO Standard for Legal Translation, Experts Defend ISO Standard for Legal Translation.
So,I will pick out just a few things: There are definitions, incidentally, of check (source and target language, by the translator), revision (source and target language, by the reviser), review (only target language) and proofread (target language). Those are terms often confused. (Presumably dealt with in the earlier ISO for translators, 10771).
There are also definitions of authorized legal translator and lawyer linguist.
An authorized legal translator would include what is sometimes called a sworn translator in Germany. There are a number of terms used by the various Länder. So this is useful.
Note 1 to entry: Court or government body authorization is generally given on the basis of relevant national legislation, to translate specific documents used in judicial settings, by public authorities or as part of legal proceedings and to take part in legal proceedings in the capacity of an authorized legal translator.
Note 2 to entry: Depending on the national legislation or convention, an authorized legal translator may in some countries or regions also be referred to as a court-appointed translator, sworn translator, court authorized legal translator or a certified legal translator.
A lawyer linguist in this context sounds here like the way I have always understood it – a lawyer with language skills who makes a legal contribution to international legislation, for instance in the EU. Maybe not a practising lawyer, but there as a lawyer rather than a translator, in the main. Some of my colleagues who are qualified lawyers and translators and work as freelances call themselves lawyer linguists, I think to emphasize the fact that they are lawyers, which always impresses clients (as I know to my advantage), not that being a qualified lawyer makes you a competent translator.
person with legal background and linguistic competence who provides legislative linguistic advice
Note 1 to entry: The lawyer linguist can also provide advice within the context of bilingual or multilingual co-drafted legislation, and comparison services to ensure equivalency and consistency between different language versions of legislation.
Note 2 to entry: Depending on the custom or convention a lawyer linguist can in some countries or regions also be referred to as jurilinguist.
Note 3 to entry: A lawyer linguist can, from time to time, also translate, revise or review legal texts, provide advice on legal terminology, legal analysis, etc.
There follows a general description of legal translation. It looks rather inflated to me, or rather, the description would apply equally to technical, economics, medical or much other translation:
Given the highly specialist field, potential legal consequences of mistranslation, and formal and liability issues, legal translation requires specific competences and qualifications and a very professional approach from the specialist translators involved in providing the legal translation service.
5.2 sets out the required qualifications. There are five possibilities of meeting the criteria. Most require at least three years’ experience in translating in the legal field. However, the last does not:
has obtained an officially recognized qualification as an authorized legal translator on the basis of relevant national requirements and regulations.
I am a sworn translator for the Bavarian courts, so presumably I would qualify even if I did not fit the other categories (not quite sure I do, as I have a Ph.D. in German and am qualified as a solicitor). But a person with this qualification, at the time I did it, did not have to have law as their special subject. The only nod towards work for the courts for translators whose main subject was technical or economics translation, for example, was a sort of gap-filling paper on the terminology of the German courts.
I’m skipping over large amounts of definitions of what legal translation consists of and all the stages the individual legal translator is responsible for.
One issue which has been questioned among translators relates to ‘signing off’.
6.7 Signing off and record keeping
In order to ensure full transparency and traceability when the translation is completed, even if there is no formal authorization requirement, the legal translator should sign off the translation as part of the deliverable in a manner agreed previously with the client or required by any other relevant agreements. This may, depending on the specific requirements or convention, include: electronic signature, signing or coding the document, file or TM segments, etc. If required to do so by the client, circumstances or appropriate agreements, the legal translator should provide a short written statement of the translator’s and the reviser’s qualifications, compliance of the translation with the relevant legal requirement and the source text.
NOTE Signing off and record keeping of legal translations can also be covered by regulations.
This seems a bit heavy but in its simplest form it is similar to the stamp and formula added to a certified German translation. It seems to me that the most important element of that is that the trnaslator is identified and can be traced.