Legal Translation Experts, Free Speech, Foreign Judgments and Specific Jurisdiction

Legal Translation Expert Services

We’ve blogged about court translation, courtroom interpreting experts, certified translation professionals and document interpreting professionals in the context of pleading a case for libel, and in the context of legal protection of posthumous personality rights.  Under the US Constitution, people enjoy significant rights to free speech. Although hate speech is not protected per se, it does enjoy significant constitutional protection. Thus, a neo-Nazi group is allowed to hold a march through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and the website Yahoo! or eBay can facilitate auctions of Nazi artifacts.

However, this is not the case abroad, as many foreign jurisdictions have much stricter limitations on hate speech. And with the Internet facilitating international commerce, this can become a problem. For example, Yahoo! was sued under French law for hate speech violations. Such a situation raises the question of jurisdiction, particularly whether or not the website company has made enough contacts to make their foreign adversary susceptible to jurisdiction at home.

According to the law, a judicial declaration that a foreign order is unenforceable in the US is available so long as there are sufficient minimum contacts to warrant haling the alien litigant before a federal court. If jurisdiction is found, the US company may be able to obtain relief for their claims under the US law – which is more liberal than the French law.

To successfully make such a jurisdictional claim, foreign language translations are essential. First, one must file their claims in the foreign court, requiring a foreign language translation. Further, when moving for local jurisdiction, evidence of contacts will have to be made, which again will require the use of a foreign language legal translation center.

Up Next: Multilingual Document Translation and Expert Court Translator & Interpreter Services, Section 1782 and Foreign Proceedings