Lawyer linguist


Lawyer linguists interpret and translate legal pieces from one language to another. They provide legal analysis to the information before them and help in understanding technicalities of the content expressed in other languages.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to lawyer linguist:

legal interpreter
legal translator
legal linguistics expert
legal linguist
linguistics lawyer
legal linguistic expert
linguist lawyer
legal linguistics specialist
lawyer linguists
legal linguists
linguistic lawyer
freelance legal translator
legal linguistic specialist

Minimum qualifications

Doctoral or equivalent level is generally required to work as lawyer linguist. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Lawyer linguist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Lawyer linguist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to lawyer linguist.

legal consultant
translation agency manager
sign language interpreter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of lawyer linguist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of lawyer linguist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of lawyer linguist.

Linguistics: The scientific study of language and its three aspects, language form, language meaning, and language in context.
Legal research: The methods and procedures of research in legal matters, such as the regulations, and different approaches to analyses and source gathering, and the knowledge on how to adapt the research methodology to a specific case to obtain the required information.
Legal terminology: The special terms and phrases used in the field of law.
Grammar: The set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of lawyer linguist.

Compile legal documents: Compile and collect legal documents from a specific case in order to aid an investigation or for a court hearing, in a manner compliant with legal regulations and ensuring records are properly maintained.
Analyse legal evidence: Analyse evidence, such as evidence in criminal cases, legal documentation regarding a case, or other documentation that can be regarded as evidence, in order to obtain a clear image of the case and reach resolutions.
Translate texts: Translate text from one language to another, conserving the meaning and the nuances of the original text, without adding, changing or omitting anything and avoiding the expression of personal feelings and opinions.
Improve translated texts: Revise, read, and improve human or machine translations. Strive to improve the accuracy and quality of translations.
Ensure consistency of translation works in multiple target languages: Guarantee the consistency and preservation of meaning in the various languages in which works have been translated.
Follow translation quality standards: Comply with agreed standards, such as the European standard EN 15038 and the ISO 17100, to ensure that requirements for language-service providers are met and to guarantee uniformity.
Observe confidentiality: Observe the set of rules establishing the nondisclosure of information except to another authorised person.
Use computer-aided translation: Aid the language translation process by using computer-aided translation (CAT) software.
Apply grammar and spelling rules: Apply the rules of spelling and grammar and ensure consistency throughout texts.
Translate language concepts: Translate one language into another language. Match words and expressions with their corresponding brothers in other languages, while making sure that the message and nuances of the original text are preserved.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of lawyer linguist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Court interpreting: The form of interpreting where it is mandatory to accurately translate everything the source says in order not to mislead the people who have to make judgements on the cases.
Terminology: The study of terms, their etymology, and their use. The study of the meaning of words depending on the context in which they are used, the origin of the word, and its evolution over time.
Technical terminology: Type of language used in a certain context, containing terms that have a meaning specific to a particular group or activity, such as in industry, medicine, or law.
Court procedures: The regulations which are in place during the investigation of a court case and during a court hearing, and of how these events occur.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of lawyer linguist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Speak different languages: Master foreign languages to be able to communicate in one or more foreign languages.
Use consulting techniques: Advise clients in different personal or professional matters.
Liaise with government officials: Consult and cooperate with government officials who handle matter that is relevant to you or your business.
Interpret law: Interpret the law during the investigation of a case in order to know the correct procedures in handling the case, the specific status of the case and the parties involved, the possible outcomes, and how to present the best arguments for the most favourable outcome.
Proofread text: Read a text thoroughly, search for, review and correct errors to ensure content is valid for publishing.
Study court hearings: Read and interpret court hearings in order to format and process the outcome information of these events.
Ensure quality of legislation: Read, analyse and improve the drafting and the presentation of pieces of legislation and policies in order to fully comply with the message that is intended to be conveyed.
Advise on legal decisions: Advise judges, or other officials in legal decision-making positions, on which decision would be right, compliant with the law and with moral considerations, or most advantageous for the adviser’s client, in a specific case.
Draft legislation: Undertake the drafting of pieces of legislation in order to make areas of law which need reform more harmonized and clear.
Read pre-drafted texts: Read texts, written by others or by yourself, with the proper intonation and animation.
Cooperate in linguistic process steps: Engage and cooperate in codification processes in order to standardise and develop norms for languages.
Revise translation works: Compare and perform bilingual editing by reading the translated work and comparing it to the original text.
Review translation works: Read thoroughly translated works in order to ensure accuracy and achievement of the purpose.

ISCO group and title

2643 – Translators, interpreters and other linguists





  1. Lawyer linguist – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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