Foreign Language Document Review Pays A Lot More

I’m sure we all took foreign language classes when we were little. I myself took French. If I could go back in time I would have told myself not to take French. It’s not a more elegant language and besides, no one in the United States speaks it. Take Spanish instead – it’s a lot more useful.

When it comes to learning a foreign language, conventional wisdom is that you take classes in a language that is popular and spoken by many. After all, what is the point of language if you can’t find anybody to communicate with?

However, in the world of contract attorneys, conventional wisdom doesn’t always apply. So you know French and Spanish and want to do foreign language document review. Well guess what? There are plenty of individuals out there who are fluent in those two languages as well and can perform the same translation skills as you can. That is why when it comes to foreign language projects, the demand for the more common languages isn’t as high as that of the more obscure languages. Obscurity in this case doesn’t mean that no one in the population speaks it. It just means of all the fluent speakers, fewer of them are actually attorneys.

Supply and Demand Means Big Money For Asian Languages

Now if you really want to become hot commodity, you’ll need to dive into the more obscure languages – languages like Swedish or Norwegian. However, the pinnacle of in-demand foreign languages is fluency in one of the Asian languages, such as Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. If you are a native speaker and can reasonably perform legal translation in those languages, you are good as gold. The current market rate for contract attorneys who can perform Asian language document review is $50-55 an hour, with a whopping $75 per hour for overtime. It’s simple supply and demand. There are simply relatively very few contract attorneys that can speak or read any of the Asian languages. Legal staffing agencies would love not having to pay such a high rate, but they know that they wouldn’t be able to recruit any Asian language contract attorneys otherwise.

Learning a new language is difficult and the task of learning Chinese, Korean, or Japanese is probably even more insurmountably difficult. But some of you may already have a basic background or foundation in a language other than English. If you do, I encourage you to brush up on your reading comprehension and translation skills. You will be increasing your marketability not only for contract attorney projects, but also improving your employment prospects should you decide to ultimately pursue permanent employment.

For those of you up to the task, I’d suggest that you start taking classes at a local college or even performing self study through an online course like Rosetta Stone. The language skills you acquire will likely pay dividends in the future.

8 Responses to “Foreign Language Document Review Pays A Lot More”

  1. Joe Miller Says:

    There is also a free service on-line, released two weeks ago, which provides training in foreign languages. Here is the link: http://www.trymango.com/

  2. Temp Partner Says:

    Nice source. I think the best way to learn is probably through immersion though. Live in the target country for a few months and take language courses. Not sure everyone can do that however..

  3. Guodi Sun Says:

    Dear:

    I am supposed to be such a hot commodity. A Chinese attorney, well educated in the United States (Ph.D.). Having taken Summer 2008 California Bar exam and wait for the result due November. Plus I am kind of the persons who are familiar with both traditional and simplied Chinese. How good it is! Before having licenced and starting my own law practice, I want a temporary job. But I don’t know how to find it. Could you help? If I get a job via your help, I will pay you.

    Regards,

    Guodi Sun

  4. jessicachristina Says:

    Learning a new language is difficult and the task of learning Chinese, Korean, or Japanese is probably even more insurmountably difficult. But some of you may already have a basic background or foundation in a language other than English. If you do, I encourage you to brush up on your reading comprehension and translation skills. You will be increasing your marketability not only for contract attorney projects, but also improving your employment prospects should you decide to ultimately pursue permanent employment.

  5. Guodi Sun Says:

    I am supposed to be such a hot commodity. A Chinese attorney, well educated in the United States (Ph.D. in Economics). I took California Bar exam in February and wait for the result due this May. I have been working in California law for more than six years. Certainly I am fluent with both traditional and simplied Chinese. In last three years I did certain document review and gave my clients lots of help in understanding what was going on. Anyone who is interested in my background and experience please write me at gene.sun@lawyersforyou.org.

    Regards,

    Guodi Sun
    Los Angeles

  6. JZ Says:

    I am a Chicago-based attorney. I speak and write both Chinese and English fluently. I will finish my clerkship with a state court judge this September. I thought I’d be valuable for an international law firm, but I cannot find a job. Does anyone have an idea where to look?

  7. Bingo Kingo Says:

    Why study for the bar in the USA. There are thousands of lawyers who are plumbers, selling beer for breweries, electricians and even salesmen. Dont waste your time and money-you wont be able to compete in this jurisdiction. Anyway, there are no laws being enforced-Judges have lobbyists to get re-elected, Wall Street-white collar crimes are exempted from prosecution-best to find another profession or work in Europe.


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