The need for cross-border litigation increases annually as global trade does, and the discovery process of a foreign entity inevitably requires translation that is not simple or cheap. Thousands of pages of documents of all kinds in multiple languages might need to be reviewed to extract the information you need. According to an article in Multilingual (June 2017), the cost of the discovery process in litigation is “growing out of proportion to the benefits gained.”
In fact, language barriers are a main obstacle preventing people, companies and organizations from acting to defend their rights internationally. In order to proceed when legal action is necessary and the costs of time and money are overwhelming, it’s tempting to ask a bilingual associate or employee, or even the client involved, to translate the relevant texts. But authorities in the countries involved will often refuse to even accept a document that is not translated well.
There are some tips to keep in mind that can make an overseas discovery and legal case more manageable:
- Use Machine Translation software strategically as a first step. Making a list of key words and concepts to search for and translate enables you to scour foreign language documents for passages of text that target the matter at hand. Putting those documents or passages into the hands of professional language service providers for precise translations is the next step.
- Right from the start, be very clear on which documents require summary translations, and which require certified translations (by human professionals). Subject matter experts are invaluable.
- Ensure that all involved parties understand “hold” policies for data so that nothing is compromised or lost. This means that the translations for your hold policies must be extremely clear and succinct.
- Be aware of which types of documents in which countries are actually “discoverable.” In the United States, for instance, privacy policies are much looser; it can be a surprise to find that in Germany or elsewhere you do not have a legal right to as much information.
- Moving forward, participation in global compliance programs and translation of all of your company’s basic texts into multiple languages, are two ways to show good intentions of transparency and inclusion, and to develop long-term policies that support any future legal needs.
Beyond the page, depositions may be required for the court presentation of your legal matter. Recorded legal statements intended for use as evidence will require skilled interpreters. Skrivanek has a history of over two decades of navigating the legal language translation and interpreting needs of international customers. We are ready to help you defend your rights anywhere in the world.