Professional Translation in Light of The Hague Evidence Convention

Professional legal translation and court interpretation services play an important role in the international service of process. The Hague Convention is an international treaty that governs taking evidence abroad in civil and commercial matters. Regardless of whether or not the Convention actually governs a particular request for discovery, it is essential to understand its framework as the accepted method for harmonizing competing interests in cross-border litigation.

According to the Convention:

  • Document discovery is done by a Letter of Request, issued by the court where the action is pending via a Central Authority from the jurisdiction where the discovery is located.
  • Deposition testimony is also obtained by a Letter of Request, by a request that the testimony be taken before a diplomatic or consular officer or other appointed representative.

When the requested evidence consists of deposition testimony, the Letter of Request can then lead to the actual deposition to be be taken under the normal evidentiary rules of that jurisdiction.

Whenever evidence is being taken or transferred across borders, a foreign language translation will be required. First, the Letter of Request must be translated into the language of the jurisdiction where the evidence exists.

A document requests must also be translated into the language of the jurisdiction. And any deposition testimony must include a foreign language translation before being submitted in a US court.

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