Machine Translation for Legal Cases - Legal Scales

Machine Translation for Legal Cases – Why It’s Usually Not Enough

Technology continues to shape the way we work and interact in global environments. Legal practices are particularly influenced thanks to automated tools like eDiscovery which allow lawyers to search and filter electronic documentation. How does this play into translation? With the help of eDiscovery and a multilingual translator, translation services for international law and compliance cases can be streamlined – but keep in mind the translation process shouldn’t be entirely technical and relying solely on machine translation for legal cases can be problematic. 

Why Choose Professional Translation Services Along With Machine Translation For Legal Cases?

As people get more dependent of electronic devices, we can see how processes in several industries change to adapt to this trend. eDiscovery tackles this new era by helping attorneys to present proof in court cases with evidence collected electronically. When it comes to linguistics, there are also eDiscovery translation techniques that can be applied to international legal cases. This is done with the help of Machine translation for multilingual documentation. The benefit of this service is that it can be integrated into the overall eDiscovery process. However, it’s important to remember that only relying on machine translation for legal cases may not be enough to support a successful case.

eDiscovery: Changing Patterns in Legal Cases

Machine Translation for Legal Cases - eDiscovery Word ArtIn legal argot, discovery means the process in which each of the parties in a legal dispute presents each other with evidence to support their cases. As electronic devices continue to take over our lives, specialized areas such as business law have had to undergo some changes in the way they operate, too. eDiscovery and discovery are basically the same process. Nonetheless, eDiscovery uses electronically stored information (ESI) as proof for court cases. Examples of this type of evidence could be emails, instant messaging chats or websites. Raw data and metadata also fall under this category; this kind of evidence is reviewed by forensic investigators to find hidden evidence.

A big part of our lives is nowadays stored in an electronic format. Hence, eDiscovery is a great method for law professionals, as it gives them the opportunity to present much further evidence for their cases.

However, when facing an international lawsuit where more than one language is involved, eDiscovery can be tricky. For these cases, the legal translation services are essential, as you need to make sure that the process of translation is specialized, professional and complies with the high standards of court litigation.

Translation in the Process of eDiscovery

Machine Translation for Legal Cases - Person on ComputereDiscovery can be integrated into the realm of legal translation services by using it to identify certain keywords in multilingual documents. The language of corruption is often hidden in phrases, sayings and idioms, which make it hard enough to find in English, let alone in a foreign language. With the help of eDiscovery, known key words and key phrases that deal with corruption can be searched for in large volumes of documentation. However, as an English speaking lawyer, you may not always be aware of what these key words and key phrases are. To stay in line with the best practices of international law and anti-corruption efforts, global compliance services will need to start including legal translation agencies. Professional legal translation agencies will not only be familiar with U.S. legal terminology, but they will also be aware of international legal terminology and slang terms that may be used in criminal correspondences abroad.

Machine Translation for Legal Cases vs. Human Translation

Machine Translation for Legal Cases - Legal ScalesOnce multilingual documentation has undergone filtering through eDiscovery processes, machine translation services can then be used to get the gist of identified documents to see which ones need a full translation. The term machine translation (MT) refers to a translation made by a computer, generally without any kind of human involvement. It is also known as automated, automatic or instant translation. It was invented around the 1950s and it has prevailed until today. There are several computer assisted translation tools (CAT) that integrate MT and are widely used by professional translators. However, although faster and cheaper, MT can pose a serious threat to specialized translations.

The reason machine translation for legal cases isn’t used across the entire translation process is due to the nature of legal language, and the requirements of the U.S. court in terms of translated materials being used as evidence.

Translation agencies have very thorough quality assurance processes, not only when translating, proofreading and editing the documents they are assigned, but also during the whole process of choosing the translators they work with. On the other hand, MT does not necessarily ensure any quality control process whatsoever since it is automatized. There is only a certain amount of things we can ask a computer to do for us; a totally accurate translation is still not one of them.

Another area where only relying on machine translation for legal cases could be problematic is with court requirements. Often courts will require certified translations. Certified translation is generally needed for documents used in legal proceedings such as trials and hearings. MT without any human editing or translation would not be able to be certified, and as such would not hold up in court if that were a requirement.

Lastly, legal documents and court cases cover sensitive matters. Thus, confidentiality is also one of the most important aspects in legal translation. Professional translators and translation agencies sign confidentiality agreements with clients, so everything involving the evidence they want to translate is kept secret. If you choose to put documents through any non-secure machine translation methods – such as an online MT, or MT offered by agencies without a secure upload system  – you might be taking the risk of them being reachable by anyone with access to “the cloud”. Therefore, working with a translation agency that provides confidentiality or eDiscovery and MT processes within the platform already employed by your legal firm is much preferable.

Looking for Legal Translation? Language Connections Can Help!

Language Connections has been providing law firms and individuals with legal needs, language services for over 20 years. We offer international law translation services for cases centered around global corruption where the use of eDiscovery and MT techniques may be required. We have developed a unique partnership with certain eDiscovery platforms to allow us to integrate translation services in a seamless manner with the legal platforms of our clients. We also provide translation services for those simply looking to get brief summaries of legal documents for internal use.

All of our legal translators and court interpreters undergo an exhaustive certification process, so that we can offer the best, highest standard service possible to our clients across all legal linguistic needs.

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About Language Connections:

Language Connections is a language service provider.  We specialize in technical, medical and legal translation, simultaneous and consecutiveinterpreting, website and software localization, and corporate language programsandinterpreter training. We provide certified, professional translation in 100+ languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, and French. With over 20 years of experience, we have expertise in all major industries including the life sciences, patent and immigration law, international business, global education, and advanced technology. We offer cost-efficient interpreting and conference solutions that will meet your multilingual needs for all types of international events – business meetings, conferences, lectures or presentations.

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