Court Document Translation and Legal Interpreter Compensation Issues
in Light of Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, LTD

Legal Translator and Interpreter Compensation

We’ve blogged about litigation translation and interpreting services and address the issue of which party pays for the foreign document disclosure. On February 21, 2012, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, LTD (on appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit). This case is of interest because it deals directly with the issue of compensation for foreign language interpreters and foreign language document translations.

Background: After falling through a deck on a property owned by Kan Pacific Saipan, LTD, Petitioner filed suit for negligence. The district court granted summary judgment in respondent’s favor, awarding the company costs under 28 USC section 1920(6), which included the costs of translating various documents from Japanese to English. The Ninth Circuit upheld the decision, holding that the phrase ‘compensation of interpreters‘ in section 1920(6) applies to both written translations and verbal interpretations. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the statute’s plain meaning, structure and legislative history indicate that the term ‘interpreters’ should be limited to oral translators of spoken language.

After hearing oral arguments, the Supreme Court will now rule on whether or not litigants, under Section 1920 of 28 USC, can recover for non-oral (written) document translation costs. The outcome of this decision could have far reaching effects, including increasing recoverable court costs and deterring meritorious litigation.

Contact our specialized legal translating service to retain competent deposition translators and deposition interpreter and for professional legal document translations.

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