Defining, and improving, quality in specialised multilingual services. The example of legal translation and interpreting

There is always room for improvement. Especially so, arguably, in legal translation and interpreting.

Specialised translation/interpreting is said to require a good command of translation/interpreting skills and a firm grasp of the specialist terminology. In the field of law, however, linguists provide their services in a special context which has its own institutions and processes for establishing the relevant facts and rules and applying them in a specific case – including rules for establishing meaning. How do the linguists fit in? What do they need to know beyond terminology?

Based on the presenter’s practical experience as solicitor, translator and occasional lecturer, the talk will explore what constitutes a “good enough” – and what distinguishes a “good” – legal translation/interpretation. Specialist knowledge, skills and tools are essential, but what exact level? And how might specialist knowledge future-proof our profession in the age of AI?

What can universities and linguists’ professional organisations do to enable their students and members to embark on a career in the legal field?

And, last not least, how could linguists’ professional organisations co-operate with the judiciary, lawyers’ organisations and academia to define and improve quality in legal translation and interpreting?

Fully qualified German lawyer, MITI and DPSI who practised as a solicitor in Germany before moving to the UK where she has been working as a full-time EN>DE legal translator since 1997. She has taught as an occasional lecturer on various MA Translation courses and also presented webinars on legal translation (EN/DE).

As one of the Training and Event Organisers of the North-West Translators’ Network (NWTN) it is her aim to encourage translators to reflect on their work practices and to support them in improving their productivity.