November 14, 2014

Legal Phone Interpreting Services and the Confrontation Clause

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We've blogged about the pros and cons of hospitals using Video Remote Interpreting services instead of on-site in-personal medical interpreter services. Some additional legal issues are likely to arise when the courts start using phone interpreters or VRI services instead of on-site in-person legal court interpreters.

The Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution, in its most basic application, gives someone accused of a crime the right to "confront" any witnesses against him or her. This law applies to the federal courts as well as to the state courts through the Fourteenth Amendment.

So the Confrontation Clause begs the questions: (1) what is defined as confrontation? and (2) what is defined as a witness? In a recent case interpreting translation of information to a defendant who does not speak English, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals attempted to provide its interpretation of these questions.

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November 12, 2014

Legal Translation Services and Zodiac Motion to Exclude Evidence

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We've blogged about the importance of professional legal translation services for patent law.
Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the "Board"), the Federal Rules of Evidence ("FRE") govern the admissibility of evidence in most cases. But the Board has traditionally been conservative about granting motions to exclude evidence, with less than 4 percent of 122 motions being granted. Instead the Board may allow the admissibility of such evidence to go to the weight of the evidence, rather than excluding it outright.

One factor that may contribute to the low success rate of having motions to exclude granted could come from the fact the Board does not have to authorize these motions before they are filed.

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November 10, 2014

Positive Energy Feng Shui Wall Art Will Boost Law Firm's Profitability

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You inhabit the world around you. You absorb the energy and feel its positive and negative impact. If you are in the middle of a desert, you feel thirsty and hot. Heat energy swirls around you and you absorb it. If you're at the beach, you feel the cool breeze on your face and smell the salt in the air.

The energy is around you and your body takes in that energy.

The same is true of an interior environment. Inside the New York City's Guggenheim Museum, you feel the curves and the strength of the design. Frank Lloyd Wright said the Guggenheim was designed as the "temple of the spirit" because it was modeled after ziggurats built in ancient Mesopotamia. He knew the power and spiritual aspects of interior space. He wanted people to absorb the transformative energy of the artwork inside the Guggenheim along with the building's unique architecture.

Taking this one step further, the same can be said for an interior law office workspace. When you're designing a law office space, you need to think about more than filing cabinets, desks and chairs. You also need an environment that exudes positive energy, and positive energy Feng Shui inspired wall art for office walls will help.

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November 5, 2014

Failure to Translate Employee Handbook Can Defeat Employer Defenses in Discrimination Claims

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The question of whether an employee has proper notice when an employee handbook is not available in that employee's language has been addressed in the courts on several occasions. Since numerous state and federal laws, including discrimination, labor issues, workers' compensation, and non-compete clauses, depend on the employee's understanding of the employer's rules and regulations, not supplying an employee with a handbook or manual that he or she can understand can be a crucial issue in an employer's ability to prove its case.

Here are some recent examples of the importance of a properly and professionally translated employee handbook:

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November 3, 2014

Legal Translation Services and What You Need to Know about International Process

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In most court cases, serving court-related documents is relatively straightforward. You file the lawsuit and either mail the documents or have a registered agent of the court serve them. However, serving a person or company who is involved in a US lawsuit but located in a foreign country is more complicated and often requires the use of multilingual legal translation services.

The serving process overseas is governed by a myriad of treaties and laws, including the 1965 Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (The Hague Service Convention), The Inter-American Service Convention, US law and The Foreign Services Immunities Act.


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October 21, 2014

Korean Legal Translation Services and Trading with South Korea

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If you're looking to export, Korea might be a country to consider. Cultural and language barriers, however, can be a major impediment . Consider enlisting services of a legal English into Korean and Korean into English translation company early in the process.

Over the past 50 years, the Korean economy has been completely transformed, going from one of the poorest in the world to being considered among the world's largest economies and a member of the G-20. It has the 15th largest GDP in the world and is the 12th largest purchasing power. The country's per capita income is around $23,000. South Korea is also technologically advanced with a highly educated workforce.


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October 9, 2014

Patent Translation Services and Protecting Your Patent Here and Abroad

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We've blogged about professional patent translation services in the context of the US patent law. You've worked hard to protect your patent in the United States, and have even filed patents in other countries - all part of a strategy to protect your intellectual property rights around the globe. After all, you've spend time and money developing and marketing the product and don't want to see anyone else profit from it

Unfortunately, no matter how much you plan, if your patent is infringed, bringing an international patent infringement case is not easy. Therefore, it is essential that you develop a comprehensive strategy for protecting your patent no matter where the infringement occurred.

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September 5, 2014

Document Translation Services for International Estate Planning

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We've blogged about certified legal document translation in the context of the US wills and international estate planning . If your client is a resident non-citizen, married to a non-citizen, or has property located in more than one country, then careful estate planning needs to be done in order to minimize their tax burden. When dealing with an international estate, two specific issues must be addressed.

First, you need to plan for the distribution of property at the time of death. The Last Will and Testament should address this by including a designated fiduciary who will administer the estate, identify the beneficiaries who will receive the property, and include appropriate trust arrangements for any beneficiary who is incompetent or too young to inherit the property. Second, you need to also plan for the possibility that one may become incapacitated prior to death. Here, your client should create a Durable General Power of Attorney naming a third-party as attorney-in-fact.

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August 13, 2014

Brazilian Portuguese Translation Services and Setting Up a Foreign Branch in Brazil

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We've blogged about English into Brazilian Portuguese translation services in the context of exporting goods to South America. With a population of nearly 200 million and a sizeable middle class, the Brazilian market is an attractive option for many US companies. But before you pack your bags and head to Brazil to open a foreign branch, there are some important issues you should consider.

For starters, although the market may be attractive, the regulatory environment is anything but. In fact, Brazilian legislation makes it very difficult - even unattractive - to open a foreign branch. With restrictions on foreign capital and the need to obtain authorization from the government to launch operations, for some the hassle might be more than the benefits.

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July 30, 2014

Legal Translation Services for International Estate Planning

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We've blogged about the need for legal translation services in the context of real estate ownership in a foreign country. International estate planning for international clients residing in the US also generates a need for certified translation of public documents and contracts. How does planning an estate for an expat living in the US differ from any other estate planning issue?

For starters, there is the issue of double (or even triple!) taxation. Many non-US citizens are uncertain as to what kind of taxes they could face. As a general rule, the answer is simple: an individual residing in the US has to pay income tax on their worldwide earnings. In addition, they could also be required to pay taxes on the worldwide earnings to their home country, their spouse's home country - or both.

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July 28, 2014

Arabic Translation Services and Real Estate Contracts in the UAE

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With the United Arab Emirates' economy once again roaring, many investors are looking to the UAE for property investment opportunities. However, there are several differences in the legal system and thus specific steps should be taken. For example, in the UAE only a registered broker licensed by the relevant authorities can market real estate. According to the law, both a seller and property developer must appoint a registered broker via a written agreement. As these agreements are likely to be in Arabic, a foreign language translation will be necessary.

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July 11, 2014

Legal Document Translation, Estate Planning and Foreign Property

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We've blogged about legal document translation services in the context of enforceability of US wills in foreign countries.

When a client owns property located in a foreign country, several unique issues arise. For instance, there is the issue of taxation and, in particular, double taxation. This is because in some cases when a foreign property is transferred via an estate, US estate taxes will apply in addition to any tax due to the country where the property is located.

In other words, when a US citizen who owns property in a foreign country dies, that property is subject to US estate tax. However, the US has estate tax treaties with numerous countries that allow the country where the property is located to tax the estate so long as it is the non-domiciliary country. When the domiciliary country taxes the estate of the foreign property, it must provide a credit to the estate to cover the foreign tax. Thus, if a US citizen dies owning property in country with an estate tax treaty with the US, then the foreign country's estate laws will apply. The US will then provide a credit in the US estate tax to cover these foreign taxes

To ensure that double taxation is avoided, careful estate planning is required. When purchasing a property in a foreign country, it is essential that one understand both property and estate laws there. This will likely require a foreign language translation of relevant laws, regulations and the contract itself.

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July 10, 2014

Legal Translation Saves the Day: Why Translation of Foreign Language Contracts Matters

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The internet has made international commerce easier. No longer does a company have to be large and powerful to have an international presence. But the comparative ease of doing international business is accompanied by legal requirements that many companies may never have encountered before. Suppose you hire someone in another country to do contract work for you, or suppose there is a dispute over something you sell in another country. Legal cases involving contracts are inherently complicated, and when parties to a legal issue speak different languages, they're even more complex.


Boilerplate Language Designating English as the "Official Language" Is Insufficient

Some business owners may believe that adding basic boilerplate contract language declaring English as the official language of the contract is sufficient for making a contract legal and enforceable in other countries, but that is not so. Any contract that doesn't comply with jurisdictional requirements in other countries can be ruled invalid and unenforceable. Many countries require that all contracts be made in the local language, even if both parties to the contract speak English, and in these cases, a professional translation is required.

Any company doing business in non-English speaking countries must understand the rules of contracts in those countries, or else they could end up with contracts that are unenforceable. Professional legal translators with subject-specific knowledge of law, science, engineering, insurance or other topics relevant to the contract are necessary to ensure that contracts are accurate and meet legal requirements in those countries so that they will be valid and enforceable.




Enforcing Judgments Made in One Country in Other Countries

When a legal judgment is rendered in one country, it may not be enforceable in another country. If a contract made in, say, the United States, is to be enforceable in a non-English speaking country, it must include an accurate translation. Additionally, while an accurate translation by a professional translator is necessary for a contract to be enforceable abroad, it isn't sufficient. It's important for those creating an international contract to consider where a dispute is most likely to be raised. If it's more likely that a dispute will be raised in another country, where another language is spoken, then it makes more sense for that country's language to be the official language of the contract, with English versions of the contract made for reference.

When Disputes Are More Likely to Arise in Foreign Countries

Many US companies are learning to navigate the legal environment surrounding contracts with manufacturers in China. For a contract to be enforceable in China, it must be litigated through the Chinese court system, under Chinese law, and the governing language must be Chinese. Non-Chinese speaking US clients who have contracts with Chinese suppliers may be uncomfortable having contracts in a language they do not understand, but it's required by China, and an English translation of the contract can be created for reference purposes. Different nations have different rules about what evidence is admissible in court, and this too often requires that documents be translated professionally.

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July 2, 2014

Apostille Translation and Legal Translation of Public Documents

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Multilingual Apostille translation services are often required these days by businesses and individuals in need of legal translation services. Anyone who has lived in a foreign country may be familiar with the term 'apostille'. When registering as a resident in a foreign country, simply turning in a copy of your birth certificate or marriage license isn't enough. This is because every country (and state, region, etc.) has their own formats for these types of legal documents, and there is no way for one jurisdiction to verify the authenticity of a document coming from a different jurisdiction. In addition, there's the issue of the document being in a language other than the official language of the jurisdiction where it is being submitted.

Clearly, as the world becomes increasingly global and people regularly travel and live in different countries, a system for providing authentication of legal documents is needed. That's why in 1961 numerous countries convened what is now known as the Hague Convention. One of the Convention's objectives was to establish a process for certain public legal documents to be issued by one foreign government to be accepted as authentic legal documents by another government. The result was the Apostille - a certificate of certification that accompanies an original copy of the public legal document. Since 1961, many countries have signed the Hague Convention, including the United States in 1981.

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June 27, 2014

Foreign Language Translation of Wills, and Enforceability of US Wills in Foreign Countries

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Professional legal translation services come in handy in the legal practice of wills, trusts, and estate planning. With many Americans either retiring abroad or owning assets (real estate, businesses, investments, etc.), an increasingly common issue is what happens when the individual dies. If you have drafted a will in accordance with US law, will it be recognized in a foreign country?

The answer, like many legal questions, is 'it depends'.

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