Language Translation & Interpreting for Corporate Litigation Attorneys, and Challenging Arbitrators under an International Arbitration Act

Earlier we’ve blogged about corporate translation services in the context of international arbitration. Although the purpose of arbitration is to allow for the amicable resolution of business disagreements, sometimes a party will be left unsatisfied with the choice of arbitrator. Both the arbitration done under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) or via internal (ad hoc) rules allow for a challenge. When raising a challenge, specific requirements must be met:

  • In order to challenge an arbitrator, one must demonstrate justifiable doubts as to his or her impartiality, professional competence or ability.
  • Applications for a challenge must be made within the International Arbitration Rules’ specified time period.
  • One of the leading grounds for a challenge is when the arbitrator shares a nationality with one of the parties. For this reason, most International Arbitration Rules require the arbitrator to be of a neutral nationality.
  • However, this requirement raises an interesting issue as to foreign language translation. Typically, under common rules like those of the ICC, English and French are the official languages of international arbitration and all official documents and testimony must be translated into one of these languages. Yet, in practice, much of the actual arbitration is done in the parties’ native tongues and thus involves foreign language translation from and into other foreign languages. When the arbitrator is of a different nationality and culture and speaks a different language, another layer of foreign language translation is added.

    See 1976 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules (UNCITRAL Rules) and 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

    Up Next: Corporate Translation, Legal Translation Services for Corporate Litigation Lawyers, and International Arbitration