Monday, November 27, 2017

Creating a Process for Translation During the Legal Discovery Process

One of the most essential parts of fair procedure and due process in a trial is the pre-trial discovery. Legal teams on both sides of the case are legally obligated to share and exchange all relevant documentation in an effort to avoid “trial by ambush”.


The concept of pre-trial discovery is becoming more and more difficult, though. With the growth of cross-border litigation in our vastly global economy coming to an all-time high, discovery has become a lot more complex.


During discovery, dealing with multilingual documents makes the entire process much more laborious. This can affect collecting, filtering, reviewing, and processing all of the various documents. One of the best ways to handle these multilingual documents is by following a decision-making algorithm for legal translation that you can use to complete your discovery efficiently and accurately.


What’s the volume of the discovery documents you’re looking through?


You can determine how you’ll handle your multilingual discovery documents based on how many legal documents you have to translate. For smaller volumes of discovery documents that hold less than 1000 words for translation into maximum two languages, the smart course of action would be to choose a full legal document translation that translates every page.


This would be done by hiring a human translator who has a legal background or subject matter expertise in the legal field so that they can accurately translate the source text.


Alternatively, if you need to translate higher volumes of discovery documents, full human translation can often be too expensive. Instead, you can partner with a professional translation company so that they can filter through the documents and identify a smaller subset of those documents to engage in full human translation. These professional translation services usually relies on two key options: machine translation and foreign language document review.


Machine translation


Machine translation works like this:


  1. Scan, OCR (optical character recognition), and index all of the documents. These are then fed through a machine translator so that the translation company can determine the “overview” of each document and what it contains.
  2. Your internal legal team goes over all of the documents that went through the machine translator to figure out which ones are the most relevant to the case.
  3. All of the documents that were deemed relevant will then be translated word-for-word by a qualified legal translator


Foreign language document review


For foreign language document reviews, the usual process is:


  1. The translation agency you hire will get onsite reviewers to determine which documents are relevant to the case by applying legal principles of privilege. These onsite reviewers are usually professional translators with legal expertise or multilingual attorneys.
  2. This step is optional: For documents that are difficult to discern whether they are relevant or not, onsite reviewers can prepare summaries for review by the internal legal team in an oral or written form.
  3. Once the set of documents have been finalized and approved as relevant to the case, they undergo full document translation by qualified human translators.

Choosing a combination of machine learning and foreign language document review is the most cost-effective approach when dealing with multilingual documents in discovery. Document types that have a higher chance of being central to the case – such as meeting protocols, contracts, or agreements – might be chosen to go through a more intensive foreign language document review. Meanwhile, the rest of the documents can go the machine translation route. Striking a strong balance between the two options and instituting a decision-making algorithm for deciding will earn you better results in your cross-border cases.

By Sirena Rubinoff is the Content Manager at Morningside Translations. She earned her B.A. and Master’s Degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. After completing her graduate degree, Sirena won an international fellowship as a Rotary Cultural Ambassador to Jerusalem. Sirena covers topics related to software and website localization, global business solutions, and the translation industry as a whole.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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