The art of court translation was used in the days of early ancient Greece, when legal translations were used to help better define the law and explain it to one’s peers. Legal translation is not exactly the understanding of legal theory, which is another helpful legal related career, rather the translation between the source language and the language of the people present in court. The law of the land is valid in any language, and court appointed translators are the ones who are appointed to interpret and consecutively restate the responses of those who do not have a firm grasp of the language being used in a court of law.

With the development of the UN, NATO, the World Wide Web (WWW) and other avenues of politics, business and diplomacy, competent simultaneous and consecutive interpreters and translators continue to be sought. International business needs requires a middle man to explain legal nuances in relation to real estate and other property issues (like inheritance law), legal issues (like environmental issues for a foreign investor) and a myriad of situations where the assistance of a court appointed translator is greatly needed.

Legal cases, arbitrations and onsite depositions require court translators. They have in their possession a legal “stamp” with the state coding and the languages they are qualified to interpret. The responsibility of the translator is awesome, and entry into this field is not to be taken lightly.

In most cases, the translator is required to have a business, legal or otherwise traditional college degree education. In preparation for the state regulated examination, a constructive professional prep course may be taken to gain a basic understanding of the court system. The examination consists of a panel of judges requiring an oral explanation of the legal system and its operations. This aspect alone may frighten prospective candidates! The process of becoming a court translator is also quite costly, with a basic course and testing costing at least three months of a base salary. If the candidate passes the oral exam (which may take approximately one half hour), he will she will continue learning the practicalities of the position through a training seminar followed by individual consultation with a mentor.

Successful court translators may possess the following personal characteristics: Intelligence, ability to think quickly, intuition and empathy. They must be able to remember the intricacies of the law while standing in their shoes of the non-native witness or defendant during the typical stressfulness of a court case, be it a hearing or a formal trial. The court appointed translator must have the presence of mind to call for a pause if the testimony is too rapid to follow, and be able to maintain control of the situation while remaining alert and in harmony within the scope of the court proceedings.

This person must have a professional appearance and must maintain an air of confidence, knowledge, wisdom, prudence and respect for the court. Many court appointed translators begin their careers in their late 30s due to the maturity factor. However this is a case by case situation.

The court appointed translator must not only know the law, but be fluent in more than one language. The native or mother tongue is the most important link and source of understanding between the client and the court translator. For example, a witness in Croatia who is from the UK or any other English speaking country would find a court appointed translator whose mother tongue is also English. This person would have to be fluent in Croatian to be able to communicate – as a bridge, link and liaison – with the judge, jury, court reporter (one who is taking the notes of the trail) and anyone else who needs clarification in determining what the non-native speaker is trying to convey.

By yanam49

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