Compendium of legal translation courses offered by universities (2021)

This post updates and replaces my last compendium. I haven’t found this kind of guide elsewhere, so my aim is to give you a flavour of the legal translation, legal linguistics and legal interpreting courses available at universities worldwide.

Please do contact me via the sidebar if you know of others that I have not included here.

There is a range of on-site courses, distance learning, and/or timetabling that is accessible to professionals, such as at weekends. Given the current pandemic situation, I suggest you contact the individual institutions to find out more about attendance options.

The information below has been taken from the relevant university websites and direct correspondence. If any details are incorrect, I would be happy to change them upon request from the institution concerned.

I have listed the courses in alphabetical order of their location.

Aarhus, Denmark – Bachelor’s / Master’s Degree in International Business Communication

These courses, offered by the offered by School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, deal with translation, interpreting and the production of texts in a range of genres of business communication such as websites, press releases, technical and legal texts and emails. In addition, students naturally learn about the context in which such texts are produced – context being important for the design and use of these texts. In this connection, the teaching covers social conditions in the language’s areas and markets, including market analysis, segmenting and positioning, corporate organisation and public relations. The teaching in the focus area of the programme is based on the research into international business communication that is carried out at the department.

Available in French, German, and Spanish.

Barcelona, Spain – Máster en Traducción Jurídica e Interpretación Judicial

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona offers students “a solid grounding in two closely related facets of legal and judicial work, namely written translation and oral interpreting, expanding their knowledge and skills and thus helping them to satisfy the increasing demands of the market.” The university stresses the established nature of the course, which has been running for 20 years, and the expertise of its instructors: for example, subjects introducing the Spanish legal regime and procedural law are taught by a judge, and the subject Translation in International Organisations is taught by the head of translation into Spanish at one such organisation.

Bergen, Norway – Master’s in Legal Translation

The Norwegian School of Economics (NNH) offers master’s course in legal translation which is delivered online and lasts for two semesters (15 ECTS). Languages available are English, French, German, and Spanish. During the first semester, the focus is on the respective legal systems. The second semester is devoted to translation theory and practice. Different legal genres are explored.

Genoa, Italy – Master / Corso di Perfezionamento a distanza in traduzione specializzata in campo giuridico

The Università degli studi di Genova offers two distance learning courses in legal translation – a Master’s and a corso di perfezionamento. “I percorsi a distanza in campo giuridico sono corsi di alta formazione post-laurea che hanno come obiettivo la formazione di traduttori specializzati nell’ambito del linguaggio giuridico, destinati a operare nel settore della traduzione giuridica (enti pubblici, agenzie di traduzione, organismi internazionali, aziende). Il progetto Masterf@rum nasce in risposta alle crescenti richieste di formazione professionale del mercato europeo nel campo della traduzione giuridica e alle necessità di professionalità specifiche sempre più urgenti in un contesto di crescente globalizzazione e di trasformazioni tecnologiche.”

Geneva, Switzerland – Master of Arts in Specialised Translation

The Université de Genève offers a Master of Arts in Specialised Translation which provides “in-depth training in professional methods and approaches to translation. It covers a variety of specialised fields, including law and economics (“Legal and Institutional Translation” and “Economic and Financial Translation” concentrations). The Master of Arts in Specialised Translation also can lead to an academic career (“Translation Studies” concentration).”

Hong Kong – MA in Translation / BA (Translation) – JD Double Degree

At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, offered jointly by the Department of Translation and the Faculty of Law, the BA (Translation) – JD double degree and the LLB – BA (Translation) – Double Degree are “highly flexible options designed to prepare students to qualify as practising lawyers while leaving the door open to other career choices along the way”.

The MA in Translation programme, established in 1984, includes elective units on Financial Translation, Translation of Legal Writings and Government & Public Affairs Translation.

Leeds, UK – Arabic/English Translation MA / Business and Public Service Interpreting and Translation Studies MA

The Arabic/English Translation MA at the University of Leeds’ School of Language, Cultures and Societies includes translation theory and practical translation techniques across a variety of text types, with the opportunity to tailor the MA to your own needs, for example with modules on translation for international organisations and on legal translation.

The Business and Public Service Interpreting and Translation Studies MA focuses on “interpreting, analysis, active listening and note-taking” and “an awareness of the markets and environments in which interpreters work including international business as well as an understanding of legal and medical interpreting”.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada – Graduate Certificate in Legal Translation

The Graduate Certificate in Legal Translation offered by the School of Continuing Studies at McGill University is “designed to equip students and working professionals in the legal and business communities to draft, write and translate documents in multilingual office environments. With access to digital tools, modern techniques and experienced instructors, you’ll emerge with the knowledge and practical skills to make an immediate contribution to your organization of choice”.

Moscow, Russia – Master of Arts in Legal Translation & Interpreting

The Master of Arts in Linguistics with specialization in Legal Translation and Interpreting (MALTI) at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia is aimed at the demands of the international job market: “currently there is an increasing need for professionals who can provide quality translation and interpreting in administrative and legal areas”.

Graduates of the program have multidisciplinary competences to manage language, law and governance issues within multilingual administrative and legal divisions of government, public and commercial institutions,  law firms and international companies. Currently, internationally acknowledged employers of the program graduates include Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, Bionorica pharmaceuticals, Russian Railways, etc.

The MALTI program is taught in English. The possible working language pairs include English/Russian/French/ Spanish/ German. Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean can be offered upon students’ choice.

Paris, France – Lawyer-linguist double diploma / Intercultural legal communication

ISIT (Institute of Intercultural Management and Communication), offers a Lawyer-Linguist program organized in partnership with leading law schools. While ISIT provides the language and intercultural training, students complete a law degree program at another university. ISIT works in partnership with the Faculté de Droit Jean Monnet – Université Paris Sud and with Paris II Panthéon-Assas University.

An Intercultural Legal Communication Program is also offered, and this certificate prepares lawyers, attorneys, and magistrates to practice their profession in a globalized professional setting.

Poitiers, France – Master parcours jurilinguisme

L’objectif de ce diplôme, proposé par l’Université de Poitiers, “est la formation de juristes-linguistes, ce qui explique la parité observée entre les enseignements de droit et ceux de langues. Les langues enseignées sont l’anglais, l’espagnol et l’allemand; langues qui offrent, tant dans l’Union européenne que sur le plan international, les plus fortes possibilités d’emploi. Cela permet de préparer des juristes trilingues (formation notamment exigée dans les concours communautaires et dans les organisations internationales”.

Poznań, Poland – MA Translation

(pending update) Adam Mickiewicz University offers an MA in English Philology with a specialisation in English-Polish translation which includes modules on the translation of contracts, the Institutions of the European Union, translation for business and commerce, translation for government and administration, and intellectual property protection. Poznań is well known for its annual legal translation and legilinguistics conference – the June 2021 edition was its 16th year.

Texas, USA – Graduate Certificate in Court Interpreting

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers a Graduate Certificate in Court Interpreting to respond to the increasing demand of highly trained professionals in the field of Court Interpreting. The program seeks to appeal both to practicing professionals and candidates who aim to obtain high-end interpreting abilities in the court and judiciary areas (translation of legal documents, simultaneous and consecutive interpreting).
This program is offered 100% online through an array of educational technologies including audio and video. Intensive interaction with faculty and peers takes place throughout the length of every course.

Trieste, Italy – Master in Traduzione Giuridica

The Master’s at the Università degli studi di Trieste begins in January every two years (the next course will probably start in January 2023). The 100% online course, within a mixed faculty (a rare pearl!) – the Department of Legal Sciences, Language, Interpreting and Translation Studies – is run in Italian and includes modules on private law, constitutional law, criminal law, European law, comparative commercial law, legal language, legal translation (English, French, Spanish, German). The course also includes a traineeship with international translation agencies and law firms.

Vancouver, Canada – Legal Interpretation and Translation Certificate (Mandarin Chinese/English)

Simon Fraser University offers a certificate which includes: Canadian Law, Comparative Legal Studies (Chinese law and China’s court system), Legal Language and Legal Terminology Management, Legal Translation, Legal Interpreting (Consecutive, Sight, Simultaneou), Professional Ethics and Conduct for Legal Interpreters and Translators, Freelancing and Career Development for Legal Interpreters and Translators, and Field Training for Legal Interpreters and Translators. The course also includes a series of supervised practice sessions.

Warsaw, Poland – Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies in legal and court translation and interpreting

This postgraduate programme at the University of Warsaw’s Instytut Lingwistyki Stosowanej teaches translation skills in the field of legal and court translation, as well as preparing for the profession of a sworn translator, with courses in both theory and practice. Classes are conducted at weekends, 9 weekends per semester. Languages offered: English, French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish.

Zagreb, Croatia – Language for lawyers, workshops for lawyers & legal translators

The Centre for Language and Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb offers:

I) specialized one-semester language courses for lawyers, including: English for lawyers, German for lawyers, French for lawyers, and Italian for lawyers;

II) short workshops for lawyers and legal translators, including: 1. English and Croatian civil procedural law: terminology and translation; 2 Linguistic aspects and comparative analysis of German and Croatian company law; 3. English and Croatian company law: similarities, differences and their linguistic implications, 4. A comparison between the English and Croatian legal systems: problems of legal translation, 5. An introduction to forensic linguistics, 6. Italian criminal procedure: terminology and translation 7. Italian civil procedure: terminology and translation. 8. Professionalization of Legal Profession, 9. English and Croatian criminal procedure: legal and linguistic aspects. New workshops are planned for the next academic year.


Greece, Corinth Canal

N.B.: I have not included in the above list any courses on forensic linguistics, which is a field all of its own.

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