Accreditation of Professional Legal Translator

Accreditation Programme for Legal Translators in Hong Kong



Legal bilingualism in Hong Kong has flourished since the revision of Clause XXV of the Royal Instructions, a former constitutional instrument, in 1986 that laws may be enacted in English and Chinese.  Following the legislative amendments to the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1) and the Official Languages Ordinance (Cap 5) in 1987 and the promulgation of the Basic Law in 1990, legal translation has become a common local legal practice. It is under this context that the Hong Kong Institute of Legal Translation (the “Institute”) was founded by a group of professionals and academics in laws and translation in August 2009, with a view to promoting legal translation professionalism.


Professionalization and Accreditation of Legal Translators

Legal translation has been a certified professional practice in countries such as Australia, Canada, etc.  In Hong Kong, professionalization and accreditation of legal translators is still a missing piece in legal bilingualism that has long been awaiting.  Being a leading academic and professional body in respect of legal translation in Hong Kong, the Institute can take up the leading role to launch our own Programme for Legal Translators (the “Programme”) which can be viewed as an initiation or test run of official accreditation system for professionalization of legal translators.


All members of the Institute will be beneficial, after being professionally recognized, from cheerful career development opportunities.  They are eligible to attain an accredited professional status under the Programme.  The Institute accredits and recognizes the members who have attained a good professional standard of legal translation. The accreditation is a permanent record of honour filed with the Institute and in case of need, the Institute will stand to clarify, certify and defend the merits of the accreditation given to a particular member. The accreditation will take the form of a certificate serialized and sealed and be openly presented to the recipient Member. A list of accredited members will be prepared by the Institute. The list with details the Members will be put on the website of the Institute and be accessible to the public.



The Programme is for:-

  1. a tangible testimony of the recipient member’s attainment in legal translation.
  2. to facilitate the accredited members to take up translation job in outside firms or to make further studies.
  3. organization and firms in the private sector may hunt for legal translators from the list put on the website of the Institute.
  4. the accreditation will be a pre-requisite consideration for a member to tide from his Ordinary Member to a Fellow Member status.



For being granted an accredited legal translator by the Institute, the applicant must satisfy the requirements summarized as below:

  1. The applicant must be a member (Associate Member, Ordinary Member, or Fellow Member) of the Institute; and
  2. The applicant must hold appropriate academic or specialized qualifications; and
  3. The applicant must be a fit and proper person to be granted Accredited Legal Translator; and
  4. The applicant must satisfy any one of the following competence requirements:
    1. pass the Accreditation Examination; or
    2. During the three years prior to the date of application, the applicant has practiced full-time (or in appropriate circumstances, have had equivalent part-time experience) in the translation activity, as an employee or as a freelance. The applicant shall provide evidence of the volume and type of work in his or her application. An outline of requirements is as follows:
      1. For translator, an average of 100,000 words or more per year; or
      2. For educationist, substantial achievement in teaching legal translation, law or related subjects; or
      3. For Government employee, substantially active participation in legal translation; or
    3. Legal practitioners; or
    4. Accredited or certified legal translator recognized by the professional body or the relevant government authority in other jurisdictions.