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Translation Services in eDiscovery for International Litigation

legal translation ediscovery

Last updated on June 22nd, 2023 at 03:04 pm

legal document translation ediscoveryThe Role of Translation Services in eDiscovery for International Litigation

“Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.”  -Nobel laureate GĂĽnter Grass

International Litigation

The basic definition of a lawsuit is to bring or oppose a legal action in a court of law, to be involved with a legal case.  International litigation can take place in a U.S. court, a foreign court, or both.  The litigants can be governments, commercial entities, individuals, organizations, etc., in any combination.

Today, we’re going to look at the role of translation services in e-discovery for international litigation.  International litigation is a high-stakes, complex process.  During an international case, the discovery process is even more complicated than it already is due to different legal systems, laws concerning transmitting legal documents across national borders, laws concerning the release of documents in each nation, and how each court system works.  Legal document translation influences each stage in the litigation process, making it possible for attorneys to protect their clients’ interests.   

How Law Firms Use Translation Services During eDiscovery

When language barriers exist in a legal case, there is no way the case can proceed without language services.  eDiscovery for international litigation is only one of the instances where this is true, but thousands of legal documents are involved in the ediscovery process.  Company-specific databases are replacing dusty rooms full of filing cabinets.  Virtual data rooms have made it possible to access vast quantities of documentation that would have been inaccessible otherwise or would have taken a long time to get.  Thankfully, today we have language professionals with solid methods and cutting-edge software to get the job done right.  Following we have some specific ways law firms use translation services to aid them in ediscovery for international cases.

Discovery Defined

The discovery process is the first stage of a legal case.  Discovery is composed of all sides of a legal case exchanging information that is relevant to their arguments.  This makes sure that everyone is informed on what exactly the case is about, their opponents’ positions, and what the evidence is.  Already one can see huge problems if there aren’t accurate legal document translation services in place.  Discovery also has a set of documents unique to the process:

  • These are questions or requests from one side of a legal case that are formally written up and passed to the other side to respond to.  Language services makes sure that the questions are plainly understood, with clear parameters.
  • Requests for admission. This is a means of requesting the opponent to acknowledge or deny specific facts or allegations.  An attorney cannot afford to lose valuable information by making a request containing mistranslations.
  • Requests for production of documents. These are specific requests for certain documents or files.
  • All the above described documents might require legal translation depending on the languages involved in the litigation.

Translation Services Open Doors

Legal translation services enable law firms to conduct multilingual international litigation.  If the lawyers of the law firm in question do not speak each language involved in the case fluently, then there is no chance of them taking on that case without professional legal document translation services available.  Then, each litigant, witness, jury member, and legal party member must have translated copies of all pertinent documents.

Legal translation services are the gateway for law firms to take international cases and multilingual cases in general. Using translation services and interpretation services, they never have to turn down a case due to a language barrier.

Law firms also require international clients to find them, and have visibility on-line by translating their websites and marketing material, and using International SEO for the keywords that they need to rank for.

Translation for eDiscovery is Efficient

Using translation services for international ediscovery saves time!  Attorneys and legal aides no longer have to rifle through hundreds of pages of documents just to see if they’ll be needed.  Translation services help afford attorneys more time preparing their arguments and less time searching for the right information.  Using translation services for ediscovery also ensures that documents, evidence, etc. are submitted on time.  Time is of the essence in discovery.  If certain items are not submitted by strict deadlines set by the court, they will likely not be admissible.  This can break a case that should have been won.

Legal Translation Promotes Precision

Using a professional translation company for ediscovery during an international case ensures accuracy.  JR Language’s team for ediscovery translation  will work  to give the highest level of language expertise and  language solutions to each project so that no argument is flawed, no evidence rejected, no character misrepresented, and no data skewed because of a language barrier.  Plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys can be confident that their material has been converted from one language and legal system to another with no loss of accuracy and meaning.

Translation for eDiscovery is Thorough

Using a professional translation agency that is experienced and has the appropriate resources  makes for a more complete discovery process because the translators locate items of importance that might be missed.  Also, legal professionals are advised about best practices and options for translation in multilingual litigation. Having the right support can facilitate the cross-border litigation, you can navigate its complications with support to be sure that all legal systems are followed and accounted for.  Here are some of the documents that translators help locate and translate during e-discovery:

  • Internal business documents like company policies, employee handbooks, and NDAs.
  • Intellectual property like patents and copyright documents.
  • Records of occurrences, such as meeting minutes.
  • Correspondence such as letters, emails, and audio transcripts.

eDiscovery translation with JR Language

When translating legal documents, it is essential that the work be done by experienced legal translators.  But that’s not where we start.  Machine or computer  translation may seem like it doesn’t belong in the international e-discovery and legal translation world, but it plays an important role.  We have the procedures in place, technology and an experienced team to manage deadlines and manage high volumes of translation to keep your case moving. We can discuss your needs and support the litigation process with human translation and/or machine translation.Here are a few ways our translation agency uses automated translation to help our clients with international e-discovery-

  • Machine translation helps determine which documents are needed. Translation AI can scan hundreds of pages in little time to find words and phrases related and significant to the case.  This saves time by eliminating irrelevant material.
  • Machine translation software has an advantage in the legal world because in law, there are many phrases that mean exactly the same thing in any context. The program’s memory can save these phrases and fill them in the instances  where they occur.
  • Machine translation for e-discovery can produce a rough draft of a document for a professional legal translator to post-edit, saving more time and making the software smarter.
  • Most importantly, automated translation delivers the translation to the legal team at a fraction of the time and cost, which allows them to review the documents very quickly to determine which documents are relevant to the case.

Machine translation doesn’t work well for all documents.  Maybe the document is old, and it is in bad condition, so the quality is not good enough to produce an electronic version, or it is handwritten.  A professional legal translator will handle the translation of those documents

A critical activity in e-discovery translation is establishing when and how machine translation should be used. Which documents are relevant and need professional human translation and which should be translated in an automated way?  It is extremely important to partner with a translation company that can validate if the quality of the output of machine translation for a language combination is good enough, what documents can use only machine translation, and also which need post editing after automated translation.

The ability to incorporate different solutions and Machine translation as a tool for conducting e-discovery Translation  in international litigation has being a game changer in that field of law.

Keep this in mind when looking for translation for e-discovery

When looking for a legal translation agency to support international ligation, make sure  you ask important questions about their services to evaluate their offering.

We have taken a look at the options for human translation, machine translation, using both in the mix and postediting services to improve the quality of the machine translation output.  It is also important to ask specific questions about their translation services:  use of glossary and translation memories, and understanding the capabilities of their cat tools. Other matters to discuss include processes of file preparation, conversion of files and last but not least security of files and confidentiality of your information.

As in any lengthy process, understanding your needs, understanding your options, managing time and cost is important for the final result, a translated document that supports your litigation.


Speaking the Language of International Law

When helping law firms with e-discovery for an international case, JR Language aims to remove any insecurities when it comes to how correct or thorough the translation job is.  We believe in enabling our clients to take on multilingual cases with confidence and pursue justice for clients anywhere and everywhere.  Contact us today for a quote.

Geraldine d'Empaire
Geraldine d'Empaire
Geraldine is a lawyer with +25 years of corporate and international law experience, focusing on cross border transactions. She is the managing director of JR Language Translations Canada.