As more businesses enter the global marketplace, the challenges of cross-border legal issues have risen dramatically. Language barriers and unfamiliar legal systems create a complicated environment for litigation issues that demand precision in reviewing and understanding discovery material. The cost for document review and human translation can escalate quickly.
To address the challenge of accuracy and cost, a host of translation services and technologies have evolved with litigation support specifically in mind. Professional language service providers (LSPs) are at the forefront of providing legal translation services that address accurate interpretation, specific understanding of local legal systems, and in-house legal expertise that bridge that gap.
Hiring a professional translation firm from the beginning can help manage litigation costs. Through expertise, they can guide your business through the complex and costly process of legal translation. For companies that foresee future legal assistance abroad, hiring a language service provider that utilizes the best tools and strategies in the business can significantly reduce expenses well into the future.
Legal Translation Service Options
The simplest and most cost-effective translation process is machine translation. Several software products on the market provide a fast, word-for-word literal translation of written material. The software works in both directions: English into local language and vice-versa.
Machine translations are particularly helpful when a case involves a large volume of materials for translation. This would include litigation work-product documents, discovery materials, and other reference information.
The downside to machine language is that it lacks context and subtlety. The software has not progressed to the point (yet) where it can be relied on as the sole means of translation. The value of machine language comes from transforming the volume of material into a format in which it can be understood. From there, decisions can be made about the value of the documentation and whether it needs more precise translation or can be eliminated from concern.
Whatever legal matter your business is involved in, language translation providers can specialize in specific areas of law. They have either adapted existing machine language tools to address topic expertise or staff translators who know and understand the local legal systems of interest.
For top quality translations, professional LSPs offer human translators to translate all the material involved with a legal case or issue. The translators are considered subject matter experts, and bring a wealth of value to such projects because they have an intimate familiarity with the local language, its customs, and its legal system. Often, they have legal training in fields of interest and can provide document review services as well.
Human translations can incur significant costs. The language and legal knowledge offered by human translators has a high-value demand that often demands a high-value price. However, their attention to detail and quality often mean saving you time and money in the long run by not having to re-translate or fix errors.
With cross-border litigation, organizations often need to address competing terminology for legal terms and concepts. They might also have their own terminology for internal research and review of materials.
In consultation with their clients, language translations services build terminology databases consisting of preferred translations of terms and their definitions. By creating these agreed-upon glossaries, they can ensure that a large project consistently treats the same terms in a consistent manner. Companies that have already developed their own legal terminology glossaries can share them with their LSP to save development time.
In every legal context, standard language and phrasings exist and repeat throughout materials of all kinds. The time spent translating each instance costs money, since language service providers typically charge on a per word basis.
Translation memory takes terminology and glossaries software to the next level. A software platform creates a database of boilerplate text of words, phrases, and paragraphs that appear routinely in particular areas of expertise.
The material can be translated into preferred local language versions – even several languages. The software scans documents of interest for this standard language and automatically offers precision translations without the need for a human retranslating the material every time.
Building Cost-Savings Into Translation Management
With the various options for legal translation services, businesses must devise decision-making processes that will mitigate the costs as much as possible. Having a clear process in place will also reduce translation billing time that can be better spent on other matters.
Using machine language translation as a first option can give a good, general idea of the legal documentation contents. It’s cheap and fast, but a poor substitute for quality. Once complete, however, a record is created that can be referred to and reviewed over time as legal proceedings continue.
With the machine language translation available, companies can then perform a cost-benefit analysis by performing an internal review of the material for identification purposes. Decisions for further translation by human translators can be made that will provide more exacting translations of pertinent documents. Alternatively, a language service provider can do the same review, working with the main legal team, often at a lower rate than the internal team.
Studies show that at least 30% of costs related to cross-border litigation is attributable to document review. By managing these costs, organizations can remain highly competitive while providing high-quality services.
For larger cases, bringing a language service provider onboard from the beginning can help manage costs. Through consultation, they can guide businesses through the complex and costly process of translation and educate on the technicalities of operating within a foreign legal system. For organizations that foresee future needs on other matters and cases, hiring an LSP that utilizes translation memory, terminology memory, and sophisticated data storage can significantly reduce costs well into the future.
About Morningside Translations:
Morningside Translations is the fastest growing major language service provider in North America and one of the largest intellectual property translation companies in the world. Specializing in patent, life sciences, and legal translations where accuracy and subject matter expertise are paramount, Morningside provides ISO 9001 and 13485-certified translations into more than 150 languages and offers end-to-end technology-enabled translation, localization, and multimedia solutions. Morningside is the trusted partner to thousands of organizations including Fortune 500 companies, Am Law 200 firms, and international regulatory bodies. Headquartered in New York City, Morningside has offices across the globe in San Francisco, Hamburg, London, and Jerusalem.