Certified Legal Translation, the Rules of Evidence and Authenticating Non-US Records

We’ve blogged about multilingual certified legal translation services and authenticating foreign website evidence. Federal Rules of Evidence 901 and 902 govern the authentication of records. Accordingly, before a document can be admitted, the offering party must demonstrate that the document is authentic. The rules generally allow authentication to occur through the sworn testimony of a witness having knowledge or expert opinion on the document.

When it comes to the authentication of non-US documents, the rules cite specific provisions. According to Rule 44(a)(2), a public document, defined as an official paper, does not require maintenance and thus can be authenticated by a public official with knowledge of the document. In many cases, when the public record is in a foreign language, a foreign language translation will be required. Further, in some cases, a non-US public document can be self-authenticating when it is executed or attested to by an official authorized to execute it and accompanied by a final certification of its genuineness and contains a foreign language translation of any non-English text.

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