When dealing with a foreign party during transnational litigation, the discovery and deposition process is often more tedious than it is when dealt with domestically. When conducting multilingual foreign language discovery and cross-cultural depositions requiring professional foreign language translation and interpreting services, keep these tips in mind:
- When a foreign party responds to a document demand, these documents will often be served in the party’s language, even if an English translation has been done for their own personal counsel. Therefore, a document demand should specify that all foreign language translations also be provided with the originals.
- Even when provided with a foreign language translation of a document, one should always seek an independent foreign language translation to ensure accuracy.
- If a case involves substantial discovery and/or discovery of materials incapable of being shipped (such as those at a specific location), an attorney will have to go overseas to conduct the discovery. Regardless of whether or not a foreign language translator will be provided at the site, it is good practice to bring an independent foreign language translator with you.
- Conducting a foreign language deposition can be a lengthy process. First the question is asked in English and then interpreted to the witness by the court interpreter. If there is an objection, the objection must be raised in English and then interpreted for the witness. The witness next provides an answer, which is interpreted to the deposing attorney.
- During a deposition, opposing counsel might consider hiring a single, neutral expert foreign language interpreter in order to avoid arguments related to foreign language translation issues. On the other hand, when in doubt regarding the professionalism of an interpreter retained for the deposition by the opposing counsel, always hire your own competent check interpreter.
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