Translating “Made in the USA” and “Made in America” Labels
into Foreign Languages

Expert Language Translations

Earlier we’ve blogged about online legal translations, professional translation services, instant translators and product liability claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act.  Competent human translators play an equally important role in the process of identifying the products, which qualify for the “Made in the USA” label.  Everyone has seen the label “Made in the USA”, but few know what it actually means, especially in the legal sense. However, courts and the Federal Trade Commission have outlined a bright-line rule to define this iconic term.

According to the FTC Act:

“To the extent any person introduces, delivers for introduction, sells, advertises or offers for sale in commerce a product with a Made in the USA or Made in America label or the equivalent thereof, in order to represent that such product was in whole or substantial part of domestic origin, such label shall be consistent with decisions and order of the Federal Trade Commission issued pursuant to section 5 of the FTCA.”

According to the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on US Origin Claims, a product can use the label if all, or virtually all of it is made in the United States. Needless to say, such a vague policy causes problems for consumers and manufacturers.  To assist in defining this policy, the courts have taken into consideration such factors as:

  • The site of final assembly or processing;
  • Proportion of US manufacturing costs (which includes both parts and processing); and
  • The remoteness of foreign content (i.e. how far back in the manufacturing process is the foreign content found).

When a product is partially foreign-based and one is attempting to determine whether or not it qualifies for the “Made in the USA” label one will need a foreign language translation of all supporting documents and contracts. Once a foreign language translation is obtained, one can determine whether the above-mentioned factors are satisfied.


Up Next: Court Interpreters,
Legal Translators for Litigators and Attorneys,
and Alien Tort Statute Accomplice Liability Cases