April 8, 2014

Multilingual Legal Translations and Franchise Agreements


According to the International Franchise Association, one of the leading trends in the franchising world today is the internationalization of franchises. This is made clear by the obvious brands, such as McDonald's, Subway and 7-Eleven, which can be found in all corners of the globe. But it is also a trend for the less known and smaller franchises that identify new markets in foreign countries. Likewise, many foreign franchises are appearing in the US market, creating new opportunities for aspiring American entrepreneurs.

As franchising continues to become more and more global, the importance of having a professional legal translation of all franchising agreements becomes essential. Here are some foreign language translation tips you should keep in mind when considering or entering into an international franchising agreement:

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April 6, 2014

Foreign Language Translations and Selling Foreign Rights to Your Creative Product


Whether it's a movie, music or book, there are many reasons to sell the foreign rights to your creative product. Essentially what this means is that you contract with a publisher, producer or distributor in a foreign jurisdiction in regards to the right to market your product. When this foreign market is non-English-speaking, then you will need not only a foreign language translation of your creative product, but also translation of your foreign rights contract.

As a general rule, US copyrighted work products require a separate copyright for the translated work products in accordance with the copyright laws of the jurisdiction where that translated version is being sold. Thus, you will likely need to file for copyright protection in multiple jurisdictions. Each of these copyright applications will need to be completed in the local language, meaning you will need foreign language translations of your original copyright status.

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April 2, 2014

Medical Interpreting Services and Medical Care: The Tran Case


Both patients and healthcare providers depend on having ready access to foreign language interpretations and translations - including the use of onsite medical interpreting services. When such language services are not available, the risk to patient safety goes up - and along with it the risk of a medical malpractice claim.

Let's look at the issue of medical malpractice and the availability of foreign language medical interpreters, starting from the seminal case on the topic.

In the Tran Case, the patient was a nine year old Vietnamese girl who died from a reaction she had to a drug administered by the physician. Although her parents primarily spoke Vietnamese, no foreign language interpreter was used. Instead, medical staff relied on both the patient and her 16 year old brother for interpretations.

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March 28, 2014

Foreign Language Translation Services, Online Contracts and E-Commerce


One of the biggest advantages of e-commerce in our multilingual world is that it allows one to buy and sell around the world - opening up new markets in nearly every country. And although this is great for the consumer - and business - it does create many new legal questions. For example, when business is conducted between parties located in two different countries, which country's laws apply is not always clear. This is why it is essential that before starting an e-commerce business, one fully consider the legal implications of international contract law.

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February 13, 2014

Legal Document Translation Services and Intellectual Property Law in France


We've blogged about the need for professional legal translation services in the context of Intellectual Property Law in Italy, Intellectual property rights in South Korea, In Japan, in India, in Sweden, and about contract enforcement in China.

Professional English to French translation services and French to English translations play an important role in the enforcement of intellectual property rights in France. Such enforcement is governed by Law 2007-1544, in conjunction with the EU's Fight Against Infringement (Directive 2004/48EC). The law specifically addresses 'the measures, procedures and remedies to ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including industrial property rights, community designs, patents, semi-conductors, plant breeder rights, trademarks, geographical indications, and copyright'.

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February 12, 2014

Document Translation Services, Product Liability and Non-English Speakers: Case Law


We've blogged about admissibility of professional language translation of foreign evidence in US product liability cases.

According to US law, a manufacturer or seller of a product can be held liable if they fail to adequately provide appropriate safety information to the users of its products. Considering that 56 million people in the US speak a language other than English and, of this number, 24.6 million speak English 'less than well', developing a method of effectively communicating product safety information to consumers is a legally complex area. In fact, in some circumstances, adequate safety information that is not effectively communicated to a foreseeable user (such as a non-English speaker) can be considered defective and the company held liable.

Of course the easiest way to effectively communicate product information to non-English speakers is to provide the information in their mother tongue or via commonly understood images. However, determining when exactly such measures are required remains unclear as US case law provides remarkably little guidance. In fact, there are very few cases that discuss the necessity to communicate to users who do not speak or read English.

In the first case on the matter, the US federal appellate court cited two characteristics of what constitutes a legally adequate warning. On the one hand, the warning must be in a form that it could 'reasonably be expected to catch the attention of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances of its use. On the other hand, the content of the warning must be of 'such a nature as to be comprehensible to the average user and to convey a fair indication of the nature and extend of the danger to the mind of a reasonably prudent person'. Spruill v. Boyle-Midway, Inc. 308 F.2d 79 (4th Cir. 1962).
Needless to say, this decision does not answer the question as to whether manufacturers should assume that the 'average user' is English speaking.

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February 4, 2014

Product Labeling Translation Requirements: Product Liability and Non-English Speakers


As was discussed in the previous post Document Translation Services, Product Liability and Non-English Speakers: Case Law, US case law is surprisingly vague in regards to whether or not a manufacturer is required to provide foreign language translations of product safety information. However, regardless of what case law says, in some cases labeling standards require manufacturers to provide specific information. Although these standards are not law in fact, courts will often view them as industry practice conclusive of what should be required as 'adequate labeling'.
Starting in 1991, the American National Standards Institute published a list of voluntary standards in regards to product safety labeling.

According to ANSI Z535, images are not required but are considered acceptable and thus encouraged. More so, the standard specifically uses translation of foreign language labels as examples, although the actual content does not specifically cite foreign language translations as being 'appropriate'.

Although not required by the standard itself, a subpart of ANSI Z535 does provide acceptable formats for foreign language versions of a safety label, which include image depictions of the information in addition to the foreign language translations. However, the subpart does not go so far as to indicate when foreign language translations should be provided. Instead, it states: "The selection of additional languages for product safety signs is an extremely complex issue. Experts suggest that nearly 150 languages are spoken in the United States and over 23 million Americans speak a language other than English in their homes."

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February 4, 2014

Legal Document Translation Services and Intellectual Property Law in Italy


Certified legal document translation services play an important role in intellectual property law. In Italy intellectual property law tends to lag behind the rest of Europe, and many other developed countries for that matter. In fact, the US Trade representative consistently lists Italy on either its Watch or Priority Watch Lists. The country's intellectual property laws - or lack thereof - is of particular concern to the music, film, software, publishing, fashion and pharmaceutical industries.

In reaction to this reputation, Italy has introduced new, strong legislation. And while this legislation is a step in the right direction, the system is still plagued by a lack of enforcement.

In this legal blog post we take a look at some particular areas of Italian IP law and what US companies can do to protect themselves.


According to Italian copyright law, the author of any original intellectual work is protected, regardless of whether or not he or she registered their copyright with the Copyright Office. Italian law automatically protects the copyright for the life of the creator plus 70 years following their death.

If a copyrighted item is placed for sale on the Italian market, it must include the sticker of the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers and, in some cases, product identification declarations must be filed in Italian, thus requiring an English into Italian translation.

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December 30, 2013

Language Translation, Instant Messages in Foreign Languages and the Rules of Evidence


We've blogged about the need for certified translations to present conversations that originally took place in a foreign language to the jury. In many criminal and civil cases valuable evidence can be found in instant message conversations (such as via Skype, Google Chat, Yahoo messenger, Facebook, etc). If the evidence is there, should we assume that it's just a matter of copying the transcript and pasting it into a Word document to enter it into the evidence? Unfortunately the process is not that easy, since the Federal Rules of Evidence require, among other things, authentication.

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December 24, 2013

Clinical Trial Translation Services and Clinical Research


Today, as the pharmaceutical market becomes increasingly global, major pharmaceutical companies are running clinical trials around the world, and professional clinical trial translation services become vitally important. For example, in 2006 GSK sponsored a multinational clinical trial to test a vaccine for avian bird flu. In Spain, the time for the test was substantially shortened as some steps were skipped. This was due to a decision by the Spanish drug regulatory agency which allowed for the shortened process because they felt finding an effective vaccine was a matter of top priority.
What was skipped? In this instance the clinics skipped translating the trial protocol into Spanish, instead only translations of the protocol summary and informed consent forms were translated. Although skipping these translations may have been in violation of the EU law, it did comply with Spain's law, which does not explicitly require translation of the protocol into Spanish. However, the Spanish clinical trial ethics committees do require the translation of the protocol. Of course the concern with this is that researchers whose first language is not English would not be able to read and understand the technical information, jeopardizing the validity of the trials and tests.

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December 23, 2013

Foreign Language Translation Requirements for Regulatory Compliance


When working with corporate clients to ensure their products comply with regulations around the world, it is essential that one keep in mind the important role of foreign language translations. Take, for example, the pharmaceutical sector. When a company brings a new drug to market it must first comply with the regulations of each jurisdiction it intends to sell in. Each jurisdiction has its own regulatory conditions, and more often than not, these regulations will include providing at least some - if not all - information in the local language.

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December 12, 2013

Legal Translation Services and New ICC Arbitration Rules Released


We've blogged about document translation services in the context of mediation and arbitration in Brazil. The new International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Rules of Mediation were unveiled last week and will come into force on January 1, 2014. The new rules will replace the ICC ADR Rules, which have governed dispute resolution since 2001. The new rules have been adapted to help parties resolve increasingly complex cross-border disputes quickly and reliably. Notable changes in the new rules include the setting of mediation as the default technique, as well as increased support from the ICC International Centre for ADR, the body administering the new Rules.

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December 10, 2013

Legal Translation Services and Using Judicial Notice to Determine Foreign Law


Whenever a court is faced with potentially applicable foreign law they will turn to the Rules of Evidence and, in particular, the provisions for judicial notice. Judicial notice is the vehicle to determine the substance of applicable law coming from a different jurisdiction - whether that be a foreign country or a different state.

When the law comes from a foreign country, taking judicial notice will, first and foremost, require a foreign language translation of the legal text into English. In addition to this foreign language translation, the courts will turn to informal evidence, including affidavits and
treatises, to prove what the foreign law is. This too will likely require the use of both foreign language translations and, in some cases, foreign language court interpreters to interpret the testimony of experts.

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December 7, 2013

The Legal Risks of Using Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) Services for Non-English-Speaking Patients, and Why On-Site Medical Interpreting Services Should Be the Preferred Option


Doctors and medical professionals have long struggled with providing medical interpreters for non-English speaking patients. The typical complaints are that the interpreters are too expensive, unavailable or too hard to find. However, according to the law, the medical profession is required to provide a patient with a foreign language interpreter in order to ensure doctor-patient understanding and to secure implied consent. Interestingly, judicial interpretation of the law does not establish an absolute requirement that an interpreter be provided in a particular situation. However, in order to remain compliant, auxiliary aids must provide effective doctor-patient communication. Auxiliary aids have been interpreted to mean everything from qualified foreign language interpreters to video remote interpreting services (VRI).
As hospitals and medical centers look to cut costs, many are looking towards VRI as an option. However, before making the switch from in-person, face-to-face on-site medical interpreters to VRI, one must consider the malpractice risks. In general, by providing a qualified foreign language medical interpreter one will satisfy all legal requirements and not open themselves up to a malpractice claim.
Using VRI, on the other hand, comes with additional requirements - many of which are dependent on the quality of technology - any requirement which that is not fully satisfied puts the user at risk for failing to comply with the law and thus committing malpractice. Needless to say, there are risks associated with VRI.

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November 18, 2013

Certified Document Translation and Enforcing Foreign Judgments in the UK


We've blogged about certified legal translation services in the context of enforcing foreign judgments in India. Successfully enforcing a foreign judgment in the UK often depends on the country or state of the judgment's origin and the nature of the judgment itself. This article explores both of these issues.

Judgments under the European Economic Order

Judgments that fall under the jurisdiction of the European Economic Order (EEO) generally can be quickly enforced within the European Union - and thus the UK. However, the EEO is limited to money judgments obtained for uncontested claims. Specifically, in order to enforce a foreign judgment in the UK under the EEO, it must be shown that the debtor:

  • Agreed to the debt
  • The approval has been approved by the originating court
  • Did not defend the claim (i.e., there is a default judgment)
  • Did not defend the claim in court when the claim was tried

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