Foreign Language Translation, Mexico, Translation Error and Service of Process

We’ve blogged about professional legal translation services and the non-personal service of process in the age of Twitter. Professional translation and interpreting services continue to play an important role in transnational service of process which, in most cases, is governed by the Hague Service Convention.

Mexico joined the Convention in 1999, with entry into force occurring in 2000. According to accession protocol, Mexico designated the Directorate-General of Legal Affairs of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs as its Central Authority. This in effect designated this DG to receive and forward all request for service of both judicial and extrajudicial documents from other Hague Convention participating states. However, in doing so, Mexico rejected the alternative methods for serving documents as outlined in Articles 8 and 10.

On its surface this seems simple enough. Yet, because of an error in the foreign language translation of Mexico’s Article 10 declaration, it mistakenly appeared that the country’s opposition applied only to Article 10’s alternative methods of service when done “through diplomatic or consular agents”. This qualification was only part of the erroneous foreign language translation. As a result of this Spanish into English translation error, courts in the United States cannot utilize alternative methods of service of process on Mexican parties and instead must file all requests for service through the Central Authority – which is in contradiction to the methods of the Hague Convention.

Source: Charles B. Campbell. No Sirve: The Invalidity of Service of Process Abroad by Mail or Private Process Server on Parties in Mexico Under the Hague Service Convention.

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