Interview with translator Paul Melkert

Paul Melkert has been working for Translations for over 9 years as a legal translator Dutch to English. We asked him to tell us more about his work. What exactly does his work entail and what is involved?

Paul is a sworn translator Dutch – English and specializes in legal translations. Paul was originally trained to become a teacher, but he started to focus more on the translation profession and obtained the necessary diplomas to be able to do sworn translations. Paul has subsequently specialized in the legal field.

"Legal translating is a fascinating field where you never get bored. A sworn translator has to keep training himself, which keeps the job interesting and challenging. The title 'sworn' obliges you to follow continuous training to keep the quality of the translations at a high level. During these trainings I can exchange experiences with colleagues which is fun because I usually work alone. This solo work also has some advantages; you determine your own working hours and can therefore perfectly combine this work with family life, "says Paul Melkert.

Is there a difference between English languages?

Paul is educated and mainly works with UK English. He does see some differences between the English-speaking countries, for example in spelling and word-use, but the big difference, according to Paul, is in the different legal systems that each country uses.

"When making a legal translation you have to take into account the legislation of the country for which you are translating. A legal translator has knowledge of the different legal systems and can apply these in a translation."

Further training for sworn translators

Every sworn translator and interpreter is obliged to continue training in his sector to be able to use the title “sworn”. Paul has also done numerous training courses in the field of legal translations. He has followed various follow-up courses in the legal translation field with, among others, Chris Odijk, Tony Foster and Greg Korbee, experts in this area. These people provide training programs focused on the legal use of the English language by Dutch translators and interpreters.

Cooperation with Translations

Vertaalbureau Translations has been working together with Paul Melkert for almost 10 years.

Sabine Tollenaar, account manager at Translations, explains: "Paul literally walked into our office to introduce himself as a legal translator. We have never forgotten this personal approach! We started working together and that turned out to be a hit. We rarely ever get complaints or criticism from customers about his work."

Paul responds: "What I like about working with Translations is that they ensure that deadlines are feasible. I receive a briefing in time so that I can take the time needed for every translation. Because I always work with a corrector to guarantee the quality of my translations, time and planning are of great importance to me."

Paul has already done many translations for Translations over the years. These range from small assignments to large legal matters. Paul's preference lies with the larger complex translations such as lawsuits. "In large cases you follow a process of summary proceedings to the high council. That makes my work fascinating and exciting sometimes. Small assignments, such as the translation of diplomas, are not difficult but take a lot of time, because these sworn translations also have to be in line with the original document. This means that in addition to knowledge of the English language, the translator also needs to know how to design a document. Unfortunately that is not my expertise, I prefer to translate complicated lawsuits, "says Paul Melkert.

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