Challenging Computer Generated
Foreign Language Translations

Legal Translation Services by Human Translation

As more companies are offering automated translation software programs (also known as “automatic translation”, or as “machine translation”) that provide foreign language translations aimed at doing away with the need for competent human language translations, done by professional translators, the issue of this evidence’s admissibility is a rather new question of law. For the opposing attorney, the issue is whether or not these computer-generated foreign language translations are accurate.

The court has held that such computer-generated evidence (“CGE”) as foreign language translations are admissible. However, they have tended to view them as aids to a professional translator or interpreter. In other words, the court tends to hold that computer generated evidence is admissible when overseen or used as a tool by a professional, such as a foreign language translator or interpreter. Further, since the courts have viewed such computer-generated evidence as being scientific in nature, admissibility is conditioned on a sufficient showing that:

  • The computer is functioning properly;
  • The input and underlying equations are sufficiently complete and accurate (and disclosed to the opposing party so that they may challenge them); and
  • The machine translation program is generally accepted by the appropriate community of translation professionals.

Thus, to challenge the admissibility of computer generated foreign language evidence, opposing counsel is best served by submitting evidence as to the computer translation program not being accepted in the field of foreign language translations. To do this, one should have a foreign language translator testify as an expert witness, paying particular attention to the problems associated with completely relying on a computer generated foreign language translation.

See Lorraine v. Markel Am. Ins. Co., 241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007) and Commercial Union v. Boston Edison, 591 N.E.2d 165 (Mass. 1992).

Contact our legal translation service to hire experienced U.S.- licensed attorneys, JDs, foreign-educated attorneys, and translators for on-site and off-site foreign language document review, and to obtain other professional foreign language services, including litigation translation, e-Discovery translation, and deposition translation and interpreting services.

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