Professional Legal Translators
and Best Practices for Successful
Foreign Language Document Review

Legal Translator Services of Foreign Language Document Reviews

Any attorney working within the global business environment will likely come across a document review or e-discovery project that includes foreign language documents. Although it may be tempting to rely on someone in-house who ‘speaks a little Spanish’, all too often this leads to sloppy document review.

Instead, particularly for large document review projects, it is important to implement the best practices of utilizing the services of a professional foreign language translation company.

Document review is a complex and time consuming process as is. When foreign language documents are included, the process becomes even more complex. Without the proper team, processes and support, costs will quickly rise, deadlines slip and quality control disappear.

Successful foreign language document review projects all come down to having the right people involved. Even in an English only document review project there are ‘language’ issues as legal people try to interpret IT documents. Just imagine what happens when these IT documents are in Japanese or Spanish! For this reason it is essential to have a dedicated, qualified project manager. If your project involves Spanish documents and Spanish speaking attorneys to review the documents, then you should most definitely have a Spanish fluent project manager who is a qualified foreign language translator with particular legal translation experience.

Your team will also involve a document custodian. When you are dealing with e-discovery, the documents themselves will likely be located somewhere overseas and be controlled by the document custodian who, in all likelihood, will not speak your language. To ensure that nothing is lost in translation, you should utilize a professional foreign language translator to facilitate these conversations.

Depending on the size of your foreign language document review project, you will also require numerous team members to do the actual review. Although you could utilize foreign language fluent attorneys, this is not always the best choice. Typically a firm will hire a group of, for example, temporary Spanish literate attorneys from a placement firm. However, there is no way to know that the attorneys have the actual degree of Spanish fluency to make the correct interpretations of the documents being reviewed. Instead, your team should be comprised of professional translators with a legal background. To help you assemble your team, you should rely on your project manager.

Once you have your team organized, it is time to get reviewing. It is best to start by implementing a clearly defined workflow that categorizes documents by language and then routing them to the individual(s) designated for reviewing that particular language. You will also want a streamlined process for your Spanish review team to re-route English documents that may have mistakenly been added to their portfolios. One suggestion is to tag the coding form for each language and automate the process of queuing document for review by the correct team.

You will also want to implement a communication protocol to prevent breakdowns in communication between language teams. Your protocol should establish clear lines of communication so each review team gets the same information and is able to consistently categorize documents.

Contact All Language Alliance, Inc. to retain multilingual professional translators and interpreters for your multilingual e-discovery and foreign language document review.

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and Jurisdiction in the European Union