Teaching legal translation: on a continuum between translation training and real life in the profession

Background information

St. Jerome was a 4th-century religious scholar, biblical translator and monastic leader. He is considered to be the “guardian angel” of translators since he was one of the first major reputable translators in our cultural sphere. He is known particularly for his translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, creating the template for the Roman Catholic Church's Vulgate bible.  

His feast day September 30 is marked each year by translator environments worldwide.



Teaching legal translation requires the integration of a variety of mechanisms, e.g. identification of features inherent to translation competence  required for its effective development and operation; realization of the importance of reflective (and self-reflective) skills which result in developing individual translation strategies and creativity; effective information mining skills; broadening knowledge of selected theoretical issues and knowledge of legal terms, and awareness of the market and profession-related demands.

The main focus of this presentation shall be laid on the development of translation competence in a specific context of teaching specialist (legal) translation. Existing componential models (such as PACTE, TransComp or EMT) aim at the consolidation of translation competence, yet a model that can be used effectively in translation teaching in general, and in teaching specialised (legal) translation in particular, is yet to be developed. A rationale to be followed is that competences as applied in a university environment should correspond to requirements observed and experienced on the professional translation market. Therefore, the EMT model seems to be the core model to rely on while designing and developing translation teaching programmes and curricula. Drawing on the achievements of the EMT model, this presentation is to offer an insight into a tentative proposal: a model of interactive legal translation competence that is more translation teaching-oriented, hence it is closer to the EMT categorisation. It aims to reflect what students really need and what they are expected of in terms of knowledge, skills and competences. It may be referred to as a start-up model for students and is also flexible enough to incorporate new items essential for the effective translation teaching process.