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McGill SCS Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation
The only program of its kind in North America, McGill’s online Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation is a 30-credit program designed to provide aspiring and working professionals in the legal, business and translation communities from coast to coast with specialized training to enrich their current portfolio and fast-track their career.
Created in close collaboration with the McGill Faculty of Law and the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law, with funding from Justice Canada’s Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund, this leading-edge program aims to help you position yourself for rewarding private- and public-sector opportunities and meet the strong and growing demand for professionally trained legal translators and jurilinguists.
Type: Graduate Diploma Courses: 11 Credits: 30 Schedule: Part time Time: Synchronous and asynchronous Delivery: Online Unit: Global and Strategic Communication Questions? translation.scs [at] mcgill.ca
- Benefit from the knowledge and experience of highly respected practitioners and scholar-practitioners.
- Hone your skills in legal translation and communication, revising, writing and co-writing.
- Engage with leading-edge translation, terminological search and terminology management tools throughout the curriculum.
- Acquire transferable, work-integrated experience through two practica or applied research projects with hand-picked partners.
- Cultivate the diligence and professionalism to set yourself apart in this important field for social justice.
The online program can be completed in as quickly as 2 years (6 continuous academic semesters) or stretched out over a longer period (maximum 4 years). Fall and winter entrance options are offered.
At the crossroads of translation and law, legal translation in Canada can be an exciting and tremendously rewarding career path.
Like all translators, legal translators must have a thorough command of their chosen language pairs to be able to convert a legal document drafted in a source language into an accurate equivalent in a target language. But they must also have an in-depth knowledge of the respective legal concepts and conventions to ensure the final product meets the context-specific needs of its intended audience.
This is especially true in Canada, where there are not only two official languages, but also two justice systems (common law and civil law), which operate in both English and French. In this context, access to high-quality legal translation is essential to advancing social justice and serving the public interest.
Industry analysts (Prairie Research Associates, 2016) predict a growing demand for legal translators in certain key sectors and a major shortage of qualified professionals on the horizon as their baby boomer predecessors retire from the workplace. Add to this the fact that the number of legislative documents to be translated in Canada has increased over the past 30 years, especially at the provincial level, and it’s clear that opportunities in legal translation are growing fast. The massive impact of COVID-19 has only added to the need for expert legal translators as the world around us transforms and new laws, judgments and decisions come forth.
- Projected job growth in Canada for translators, terminologists and interpreters in all fields between 2018 and 2028: 6.3%
- Percentage of language service providers that identify legal translation as an expanding area of expertise: 31.4%
This program can help prepare you for the following careers:
- Legal language consultant
- Legal reviser
- Legal terminologist
- Legal translator
- Plain language specialist
- Specialized reviser
- Specialized translator
- Accounting firms
- Bar associations
- Courts and tribunals
- Government departments / agencies (federal, provincial / territorial)
- Law firms
- Legal research centres and institutes
- Legislative bodies
- Private companies
- Securities regulators
Approach to Learning
The online delivery format of the Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation combines live classes, timed assignments and self-paced, instructor-led activities with a focus on student engagement and problem-based learning.
By bringing the classroom to the students, we aim to prepare the next generation of Canadian legal translators and jurilinguists, for whom higher education of McGill University’s calibre would otherwise be unattainable due to time, logistical or geographical limitations.
Learn from top-notch practitioners and scholar-practitioners, whose sought-after insight and expertise would be difficult to access in a non-online setting.
Interact with your instructor and receive individualized guidance.
Engage with your peers as part of a vibrant learning community: exchange perspectives and learn from one another’s diverse professional experiences and backgrounds.
Succeeding as a legal translator requires competencies that go well beyond subject matter expertise and language skills in both the source and target language. These include the following (adapted from Prieto Ramos, 2011):
- Knowledge of Canadian bijuralism, branches of law, history and hierarchy of sources of law, and equivalence between legal concepts and structures in Canada’s legal traditions
- Knowledge of legal linguistics and the features of legal discourse in the source and target languages
- Use of specialized sources and state-of-the-art translation technologies for research and terminology management
- Interaction with clients and other professionals and adherence to codes of ethics
- Methodological approach: Contextualization of the translation brief, translation problem identification, implementation of translation procedures and strategies, quality control, and overall translation process management.
Applicants must have an undergraduate or graduate degree, or its equivalent, in Translation, Law or a related discipline for which faculty approval rests with the School of Continuing Studies. A minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 over 4.0 is required, or, of 3.2 out of 4.0 in the last two years of full-time studies.*
* If your CGPA is lower than the above requirement, please submit the following for consideration with your application and official transcript.
a) Letter of Intent: A letter, one to two pages in length, single-spaced, written in English or French, which addresses the following:
- basis for interest in the program;
- your knowledge that would be pertinent to the program;
- your interest in the field of study and the reasons for applying to our program;
- plans for integrating the training into your current or future career;
- a description of your professional experience and its relevance, if applicable, to the program;
- awards received or other contributions;
- any additional information relevant to your application.
b) Curriculum Vitae
c) Two Letters of Reference: At least one should be from a current or former employer.
You will be able to upload copies of your documentation and supporting documents on your MINERVA checklist account. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a detailed email with specific instructions regarding official documentation.
If you have studied outside of Canada, you are strongly advised to request an evaluation of your degree called Évaluation comparative des études effectuées hors du Québec, from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion. For further details, you may contact their office at 514-864-9191 or visit them on the web at www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/working-quebec/comparative-evaluation/index.html. If you have completed an undergraduate degree from a recognized university outside of Canada and are applying to this program for which a minimum CGPA is required, please visit www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/international/apply/equivalency for information about international degree equivalencies.
As one of the steps for potential admission to the program, applicants must complete and successfully pass an entrance examination. The exam tests participants’ preparedness for their studies in both English or French.
Students who have been admitted to online programs will be subject to deregulated fees if they are studying with a residence address outside the province, as the government does not fund the University for credit activities that are followed outside Quebec. All students will have to self-declare their location of study each term in Minerva. Consult the student accounts website – Online Programs page for more information.
This program is an Online (Distance Learning) program.
Since by definition distance learning does not require one to be in Canada, a study permit cannot be issued for this type of program, nor can one’s immigration status be changed (or renewed). For more information, please visit Immigration Quebec and Immigration Canada.
- As a part-time program, the Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation is not eligible for AFE Loans and Bursaries for full-time studies. Students registered in a minimum of 6 credits in a term may be eligible for AFE Loans for part-time studies. More information.
- More information on SCS Awards and Bursaries
Who Should Attend
- Bilingual jurists with an interest in exploring a new career path
- Experienced translators looking to specialize in the legal field
- Enjoy the benefits of a dynamic, specially designed online program from the comfort of your home, workplace or community.
- Learn from world-class practitioners and scholar-practitioners, whose focus on transmitting their expertise bridges the gap between higher education and the workplace.
- Expand your professional network and apply acquired competencies through extensive practica or applied research projects.
- Discover or deepen your knowledge of the latest translation techniques and technologies.
- Take advantage of a flexible, part-time program that can be completed in as quickly as two years without interrupting your current job.
Videos and Webinars
Have questions about the program? Speak to Academic Program Coordinator Marie-Hélène Girard (marie-helene.girard2 [at] mcgill.ca).
"En tant qu’avocate de litige et légiste, je me suis d’abord inscrite au diplôme par curiosité avec le désir de développer mes compétences rédactionnelles juridiques en anglais. N’ayant aucun bagage officiel en traduction, j’y ai trouvé beaucoup plus que ce que j’étais allée chercher. J’ai développé un intérêt marqué pour la jurilinguistique et la traduction juridique, à un point tel que je souhaite poursuivre dans le domaine. Le programme est bien conçu. L’enseignement est dynamique et l’encadrement offert est excellent. Que l’on soit traducteur ou non, il s’agit d’une très bonne formation à ajouter à son arc. Elle me sert déjà d’ailleurs fréquemment dans mes fonctions actuelles."
Émilie Rochette, LL.M.,
"Lorsque je me suis inscrite en traduction juridique à McGill, je réorientais ma carrière. J’avais en poche un diplôme en common law et plus de dix ans d’expérience comme éditrice et réviseure linguistique. Les langues et le droit me passionnaient toujours et je souhaitais trouver un emploi qui allait m’offrir la possibilité de travailler tout en voyageant.
Étant donné que les cours se donnent à temps partiel, de soir et à distance, j’ai pu compléter le programme rapidement sans avoir à quitter mon emploi.
Le programme m’a ouvert la porte à un réseau de professionnels tout aussi passionnés que moi et qui a ont à cœur la réussite de la relève dans le domaine. J’ai constaté très tôt que les options de carrière sont nombreuses. J’ai commencé à travailler à la pige comme traductrice dès la fin de ma première année. L’année suivante, j’ai eu la chance de traduire toutes sortes de documents : des jugements, des contrats, des politiques internes, des formations destinées aux juges, etc. J’ai même eu la chance de travailler sur un projet de recherche en collaboration avec l’Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, en Catalogne.
Je termine actuellement mon stage au Bureau de la traduction, où on m’a offert un emploi pour la suite. Je suis très fière et honorée à l’idée de travailler pour les plus hauts tribunaux canadiens et de contribuer à améliorer la qualité de la langue juridique au Canada."
"Le diplôme d’études supérieures en traduction juridique offert à l’Université McGill est un volet important de mon perfectionnement professionnel. Au départ, les particularités et les rouages des deux systèmes juridiques du Canada m’intimidaient. J’avais peur de ne pas m’y retrouver et de ne pas saisir certaines nuances! Grâce à l’accompagnement d’instructeurs compétents et accessibles, j’ai approfondi mes connaissances du droit et aiguisé mes techniques de recherche et de rédaction pour appuyer ma clientèle. J’aime tous les aspects de ce programme : le soutien personnalisé de la direction, les cours de grande qualité, les instructeurs passionnés, la plateforme MyCourses et les nombreuses occasions de rencontrer des collègues. La composition des cohortes est intéressante aussi, puisque j’ai l’occasion d’étudier avec des traducteurs et des juristes. Le diplôme est conçu pour les professionnels qui travaillent à temps plein et les cours sont offerts le soir. Je recommande ce programme à tous mes collègues qui souhaitent se spécialiser en traduction juridique."
Maïté Bertaud, trad. a.,
"As a lawyer whose practice involves a significant amount of work in the translation of legislation, I enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Legal Translation to validate, build on and diversify my legal translation skills. The program has allowed me to learn from instructors who are passionate and knowledgeable about legal translation as well as highly accessible. It has also given me exposure to different types of legal translation, each with their own challenges, which has permitted me to diversify my skills. Having a background primarily in common law, I appreciated being able contrast and compare civil law principles and concepts through the lens of translation. The program has helped me to further develop the skills that I use every day in my work and left me with an increased confidence in my legal translation abilities."