‘Legal Language’, Economist article revisited

In November 2012 I referred to a new Economist article encouraging lawyers to translate (Economist on translation and the law). The article was recommending translation as a good career prospect for underworked lawyers. There was particular reference to TransPerfect.

At that time I don’t think there were any comments on the article, but there are twenty-one now. The article and my blog post were on November 10, and the comments – largely by translators – started on November 14. An interesting discussion.

Here’s part of a comment by NYCLanguageLawyer:

I am also a US qualified lawyer working in document review in Spanish and Portuguese. I have been steadily employeed in these temporary projects for quite some time, but inoalls is correct, these projects do not lead to permanent employment. I also agree that these law firms these law firms that hire people like us do not realize the full benefit of having someone who is not only fluent in the language, but able to act as a liasion between them and their foreign clients. I recently worked on a review in which the documents captured were clearly not what the firm had been looking for. I asked to see a list of the search terms and it was no wonder they got the result they did, they simply translated English legal terms into Portuguese, not taking into account the variations in the legal systems. I mentioned this to the supervising attornesy and gave them a list of more specialized terms to search for. This is an example of how firms are not making an investment in associates who bring languages to the table.

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