Translators’ and revisers’ competences in legal translation: Revision foci in prototypical scenarios

Silvia Parra-Galiano

This article proposes a hierarchy of translator and reviser competences in prototypical scenarios in legal translation with a view to determining the most appropriate revision foci to ensure translation quality. Built on a prior characterisation of the most common professional translator profiles in legal translation, the proposal for a hierarchy of competences derives from two premises: (1) The professional profile of those who translate and revise legal documents is very diverse in terms of competence and qualifications (training and experience), and (2) translation competence and specialist knowledge in legal fields (i.e., domain competence) are fundamental when revising to guarantee the quality of legal translations. The proposal is framed by quality assurance in legal translation through a revision process based on (1) the coherent management of the work of the translators and revisers involved in the translation project, and (2) the appropriate methodology for revision applied to legal translation by adapting the revision mode’s focus to ensure its effectiveness. Six common scenarios are identified in light of the translators’ profiles, for which revisers’ profiles are then proposed in order to detect any legal translation competence deficiencies among translators, and thus ensure quality.

Publication history
Table of contents

Problems arising from insufficient or poor quality of translations can damage the image of the translation service provider (TSP), due to the dissatisfaction and distrust generated both in the clients and the recipients of the translations. As most legal texts serve a legal purpose, errors in legal translation (LT) “may and will give rise to serious legal consequences” (Hu and Cheng 2016, 235), especially when legal consistency and legal certainty are affected by accuracy or adequacy gaps (Prieto Ramos 2014, 14). Therefore, in LT, the prevention of problems through translation quality assurance (TQA) must be a priority for any TSP. For Mossop (2001, 92–93), “quality assurance is the full set of procedures applied before, during and after the translation process, by all the members of a translating organization, to ensure that quality objectives important to clients are being met.” Thus, quality control and quality assessment contribute to quality assurance, which includes procedures to ensure the quality of the service, the physical product, and the translation process.

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