Language Translation Professionals, Expert Translation Services, Instant Message Conversations, and the Best Evidence Rule

We’ve blogged about language translation and language translation experts in multilingual e-discovery

With the increased use of computer-based instant message conversations and mobile phone text messaging, courts are now finding themselves dealing with the presenting of text and instant message evidence. Beyond issues of obtaining an actual transcript of the original text conversation from the Internet or mobile phone provider, an issue of translation also arises. As texting and instant messaging involve significant use of slang and abbreviations, presenting only a print out of the conversation may be incomprehensible to a jury. Instead, a translation of the conversation will be necessary.

The simple way to having a transcript of the conversation presented to the jury is in accordance with the Best Evidence Rule. Accordingly, the transcript is first given to the individual(s) involved in the conversation, who then can attest to its accuracy. However, when a text or instant message conversation is done in a foreign language, other issues arise.  And free instant translators, or free online translators, or free machine translation will not help.

First, any foreign language translator must be proved as an expert witness and fully qualified to provide foreign language translations. Second, as text messaging involves slang and abbreviations – many of which are culturally unique – the foreign language translator must be shown to have expert knowledge on this aspect of the foreign language.

To read our legal translation blog post “Wiretap Translation, Drug Slang Evidence Translation, and Professional Translation Services of Street Savvy Translators & Court Interpreters”, click here.

Contact our legal translation firm to obtain specialized translation from the following language varieties into standardized English:

Translations of dialect, colloquial forms and slang from the Caribbean, the US, the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong English, Singapore English (and other English varieties) into standard English – whether in the form of rap, text messages, SMS, or recorded language samples.  Gang culture slang, prison slang, also translated. Decoding and interpretation of letters, texts and other messages.  We also provide transcription of disputed utterances in covert surveillance, wiretap and drug slang evidence.

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