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human translation is superior to machine translation

Since the early 1950s, human beings have being trying to use machines to translate languages. While these efforts have advanced in recent years, they are no substitute for a human foreign language translator.

One of the earliest attempts was a partnership between Georgetown University and IBM. The researchers tried to develop a language translation program with early generation computers. The system used basic algorithm to make decisions. It had 250 words and six grammar rules and attempted to translate Russian to English.

Despite the early success, computers did not solve many of the subtle problems with language translation. While programmers can easily install the rules of grammar and meaning of words into a computer, they have a hard teaching a computer to understand cultural contexts and idioms. Continue reading →

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Doctors in a meeting

We’ve blogged about the importance of professional medical translation services of consent forms.

The healthcare field is highly regulated. Hospitals, doctors and other healthcare organizations receive guidance from multiple regulatory agencies as well as in-house attorneys. This is done in order to protect both the patient and the healthcare organization.

A key part of healthcare and any medical procedure is informed consent. A person must understand his or her medical options and the potential dangers associated with a medical procedure. The options must be clearly presented to the patient and explained in a way that the patient understands.

Many times, prior to a procedure, the patient signs an informed consent form. The informed consent form is an acknowledgement by the patient that he or she understands the procedure and the potential risks. Attorneys usually draft the language in an informed consent form in order to limit the liability of the medical organization. Continue reading →

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clinical-trial-translation

A need for multilingual professional translation services is on the rise during clinical trials.

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was admitted to a Baltimore hospital with abdominal pain. She was poor and uneducated. After performing a series of tests on Henrietta, doctors determined that she had cervical cancer and took a tissue sample.

Although Henrietta died of cervical cancer a few months later, her cells from that sample are still living today. Called HeLa cells, the cells have been grown and sold to laboratories all over the world over the last six decades. The cells have been used in 74,000 studies. But Henrietta never gave informed consent. She was illiterate and was never offered the chance to decide if her cells could be used for scientific purposes.

The Lack family threatened to file a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and several laboratories, but an agreement was reached in 2013. Work based on the study of the HeLa cells could continue, but data about the cells’ genome could not be made publically available. The family was concerned that mapping of the genome could be used against Henrietta’s descendants. Continue reading →

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When a court has evidence before it that prompts the comment “[t]he settlement agreement consists of an English and Spanish version of what hopefully is the same agreement [emphasis added],” it is apparent that the court has a problem with the way at least one of the parties has handled the conveyance of properly translated documents to the other.

In the realm of translation in the legal context, evidence rejected on the basis of inaccurate, questionable, or uncertified translation can be the difference between justice and an unfair result, in some cases even a travesty of justice.

In some cases, the court may allow the parties to cure the deficiencies by having the translated information certified as is, if the original translator is willing and able to do so, or have the inadequacies repaired in another way that is satisfactory to the court. In other cases, the court may decide not to give the parties this option and just exclude the evidence as unreliable.

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We’ve blogged about the need for professional legal translation services during foreign language document review. In the digital age, our electronic footprints are everywhere. We use social media , such as Facebook and Twitter. We send emails. We purchase books, movies and wall art paintings online. Our browser tracks our website history. Needless to say, this has changed the nature of discovery for attorneys. Discovery is no longer limited to depositions, business correspondence on letterhead and contracts in a file. Discovery in the digital age involves searching a large part of the digital landscape.

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We’ve blogged about English to Japanese translation services in the context of intellectual property rights. Professional Japanese translation services are equally important in trading with Japan, which is an excellent country for a trading relationship. After the end of World War II, Japan and the United States have had strong business ties. Japan is the fourth largest purchaser of the US-made goods. The United States was the leading importer to Japan until 2009, when China took that spot. Japan’s GDP is $5.8 trillion. The country’s 128 million residents are highly educated and generally have large expendable incomes.

Even though US firms export $70 billion in goods to Japan each year, doing business in Japan can be complicated. For example, the Japanese business people often operate on what is not said rather than what is said. They often say yes when they mean no. If you go out for dinner in Japan with a potential customer, you should not ask for a fork if chopsticks are awkward. Rather, you should clumsily use the chopsticks and your host will know to order a fork. It’s considered impolite for a guest to request a fork.

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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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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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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 paintings and moving sand art pictures for office walls will help.

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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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