The Issue of Legal Document Translation Accuracy in Court
Admissibility standards for the use of written translations of foreign-language documentary evidence in court vary. The determination of whether to grant a preliminary injunction, for example, is to be based on “evidence that is less complete than in a trial on the merits.” Univ. of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981). For this reason, the court may consider otherwise inadmissible evidence in making its determination as to the preliminary injunction. 11A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice & Procedure sec. 2949 (2d ed. 1995).
This includes affidavits that may prove later to be inadmissible at trial. United States ex rel. Taxpayers Against Fraud v. Link Flight Simulation Corp., 722 F. Supp. 1248, 1252 (D. Md. 1989).
In the case Mancia v. Mayflower Textile Services Co. three plaintiffs submitted sworn affidavits. At least one of the affidavits contained a foreign language translation. However, because the defendants failed to challenge the accuracy of the foreign language translations and the translator was no longer with the plaintiff’s law firm, the court denied the defendant’s motions to strike.
Furthermore, even if the above were not true, according to the case law regarding preliminary injunctions, the court would likewise have denied the defendant’s motion, since showing the accuracy of a translation is required in trial (Contracts Materials Processing, Inc. v. Kataleuna GMBH Catalysts, 164 F. Supp. 2d 520 (D. Md. 2001), this is not the case with preliminary injunctions.