Legal Linguists – what, and who, are they?

Legal Linguists – what, and who, are they?

A legal linguist is an expert in law and language, combining both areas of expertise to ensure that legal documents are properly understood and accurately translated. Legal linguists are crucial in the legal system, providing accurate interpretation and translation of legal documents, such as court transcripts, legal briefs, and contracts, into different languages. They are also responsible for ensuring that the translation is faithful to the original document without any misinterpretation or errors.

As laws become more complex and people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds interact, legal linguists are increasingly in demand. These professionals are often called upon to provide legal translations for international transactions and court proceedings. Additionally, legal linguists may be asked to provide linguistic analysis of legal documents, as well as provide opinions on the meaning of certain terms used in those documents.

What do legal linguists do?

A legal linguist is a professional whose primary focus is to work with the legal language used in courtrooms, governments, and other legal contexts. Legal translators and interpreters are legal linguists who focus their services on translating or interpreting in a legal context between people or cultures who do not speak the same language.

While translators translate language, they typically focus more on the meaning and spirit of the words than the grammatical structure and exactness of the language being translated. Legal linguists, on the other hand, are experts in the legal language being used, as they are trained to understand the language in use and to point out certain rules or conventions that can lead to legal ambiguity.

Different areas of expertise for legal linguists

Legal linguists can provide a variety of services in different legal contexts, including law, government, private practice, and education. They can work for organisations such as law firms, government agencies, or corporations to provide legal services in the form of translations, analysis, or other services. Legal linguists work to make sure that legal documents are properly translated into different languages and that the legal language used in court proceedings is accurate. 

Why use a legal linguist?

Legal linguists are highly valuable for many reasons, including their ability to provide objective, unbiased insights about the language being used in court cases and other legal proceedings. Legal professionals and government agencies can use legal linguists’ expertise to make sure that the language used in their documents is accurate and unbiased, and they can avoid costly mistakes. For example, a legal document might use language that is technically accurate but overly technical or complex, or open to interpretation. In such an example, a legal linguist can offer an unbiased review of the document and provide recommendations on how to redraft to make it more comprehensible, accurate, and in line with the legalese of the respective languages being used, making it easy for legal professionals and their clients to understand.

IMD Translations - Interpretation & Translation for the Professional Services

Lawyers and other legal professionals can benefit greatly from the linguistic expertise of a legal linguist. Legal linguists can help make sure that the language used in legal documents is unbiased, accurate, and up to legal standards, avoiding costly mistakes. They can also provide unbiased insights into the language being used, avoiding legal ambiguity that can lead to issues like civil rights violations or even wrongful convictions. Legal linguists can provide a wide range of linguistic services, making them an invaluable asset to legal professionals.

At IMD Translation , language services for the professional services are what we do, and our linguists are ready to add value to your case and help you deliver excellence to your end clients - get in touch with us at or on 03309121530

Because in Legal Matters, Language Matters.