Foreign Language Libel,
and Document Translation Services:
How to Plead the Case

Legal Translation Services for Defamation Cases

There’s a growing need for professional legal translation services for defamation cases.  Libel is defined as defamation that takes the form of writing. In general, in order to plead a case for libel, the pleading must show that the statement in question used defamatory language or language that adversely affects a person’s reputation. Further, the writing must be about the plaintiff and must be communicated to a third person.  When the alleged defamatory writing is written and communicated in a foreign language, determining whether these elements are satisfied presents a unique challenge to the court.

One of the main challenges is not only obtaining an accurate foreign language translation, but also a foreign language interpretation of what the written language means. In other words, when pleading a case of foreign language libel, it must be shown that the statement was defamatory in the language written and not necessarily in its English translation.

In order to plead a successful case of foreign language libel, the pleading party must submit not only the foreign language translation of the writing, but also the original foreign language document. Further, the pleading party should be prepared to prove the writing’s defamatory nature through the use of a competent foreign language interpreter who is familiar with both the language and with the culture that surrounds the particular language in question.

See Romano v. De Vito, 191 Mass. 457, 78 N.E. 105, 6 Ann. Cas. 731; Wormouth v. Cramer, 3 Wend, (N.Y.) 395, 20 Am. Dec. 706; Pelzer v. Benish, 67 Wis. 291, 30 N.W. 366; Kerschbaugher v. Slusser,12 Ind. 453; Simonsen v. Herold Co., 61 Wis. 626, 21 N.W. 799.

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