Language Translation, E-Discovery Translation and European Data Privacy Laws

We’ve already blogged about language translation services and ediscovery translation in the context of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as about deposition translator and interpreter services in foreign depositions in U.S. federal cases.  But under European data privacy laws, conducting effective multilingual e-discovery becomes troublesome, and the benefits of e-discovery are being significantly hampered. By and large, E.U. law restricts the processing of personal data and its exporting outside E.U. borders.


According to the law, “personal data” is defined as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person”. Thus, any document that names a person, even in an email, falls under the protection of this regulation.

However, there is a small exception that allows the processing and export of personal data where it is “necessary for the purpose of, or in connection with, any legal proceedings”. Although this exception is very narrowly defined, it is important for U.S. attorneys to be aware of it. In order to fit into the exception, several methods are available. One is to get the consent of each individual whose data is to be used. The second involves using a model contract, while the third involves the certification of a company under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Safe Harbor Program.

Regardless of what method is used, all will require a foreign language translation of the discovery request. The foreign language translation will have to be both into the language of the individual person and into the various languages used by the European Union.

Up Next: Professional Translation & Interpreter Services, Multilingual Litigation Solutions, and International Insolvency Law

All Language Alliance

by Legal Translator

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