How to Select your Legal Translations Partner

Accurate and timely translation services are integral in today’s increasingly globalized legal landscape to ensure that clients involved in any international dispute, agreement, or transaction are best served by their counsel. The translation of foreign documents is a dynamic practice involving various factors, including an understanding of the target country’s legal system, an advanced knowledge of the specific legal terminology unique to the jurisdiction, and sensitivity to the cultural nuances of the language itself. Precision and clarity is key when legal translation services are implicated in any situation, and simple errors such as punctuation mistakes, spelling inconsistencies, and word choice can have serious consequences for both attorneys and clients. Working with an established translation partner such as LingPerfect can ultimately alleviate these risks and safeguard all parties against inaccurate translations as these needs arise in the course of practice.

The proverbial pitfalls of mistranslation have recently been animated in several situations spanning practice groups, subject matter, and national borders. In May, the Guangdong Intermediate People’s Court in China ordered an American company owning the popular shoe brand New Balance to pay $15.8 million in damages after selecting a Chinese trade name (Xin Bai Lun) that was already trademarked by a Chinese businessman. The company argued that their selected name was simply a translation of New Balance, the Court suggested that “Xin Pin Heng” would have been a more accurate representation of the brand, and that the company had used the pure transliteration “Niu Ba Lun” in the past. These considerations underscored the Court’s argument that there were variations in the trade name that would have prevented infringement on an existing mark, and ultimately shows the importance of working with an experienced translator with an in-depth understanding of the necessary linguistic nuances when translating brands.

Issues surrounding translation services have also been discussed in domestic litigation contexts, where US courts have explicitly looked at the procedural aspects of translation. For example, in 2012, the Supreme Court addressed whether a Japanese citizen who brought suit against a hotel for an injury that occurred in a hotel in Saipan (a US territory) could be held responsible for the $5,257.20 in costs for the translation of medical records after losing in court. Under federal law, a prevailing party can generally recoup “interpretation” costs, and the hotel argued that the translation costs should be included within the meaning of “interpretation” under the federal statute. The US Appellate courts were split on the issue of whether translation costs were recoupable under the statute, and the case was ultimately granted cert by the US Supreme Court. The Court ultimately held that translation costs are not recoupable under the statute, adopting a narrow reading of the term “interpretation” and limiting the “compensation of interpreters” does not include the cost of document translation.

Courts and arbitral tribunals have also addressed the practical considerations surrounding the procurement of languages services by attorneys and the ethical implications that inaccurate translations may have on a proceeding. For example, two California attorneys faced disciplinary action after attempting to capitalize on a purported mistranslation after trying to enforce a $489 million dollar award from a Nicaraguan court. The case was a toxic tort case filed by banana workers against The Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil, as well as Dole Food Corporation, an entity that does not exist, but not the Dole Food Company, the agricultural concern in the initial complaint in the Nicaraguan court. Prior to the enforcement action, the plaintiff’s lawyers knew that no judgment could be enforced against Dole Food Company, as it was not an actual party to the original action. The lawyers relied on the mistranslation in the state courts, federal district courts, and appellate courts, and ultimately had to dismiss the appeal on the day before the appellate argument. The lawyers were eventually disciplined for their actions, and the misconduct stemming from this mistranslation animates the moral and ethical quagmire a practitioner may face when not working with a trusted language service provider to ascertain the accuracy of a translation.

There are also subtle nuances in legal terminology itself that can affect the meaning of projects with an international component. For example, the French word “contrat” generally includes agreements that would be considered “conveyances” or “trusts” by American lawyers, but excludes documents known as “contracts” in American-English. Furthermore, because there may not be synonymous terms in the source and target languages, certain phrases may be denoted by creating a imported hybrid term, such as the American concept of “due process” being translated into Japanese as “doo processu”. Finally, a term in the source language may have two different meanings in the target language, which may cause confusion and inconsistency in the translation. The Chinese, for example, have two different words for the English word, “before.” When you say a contract expires “before January 1” in Chinese, it could include January 1 or not include January 1, depending on which version of “before” you use. These specific instances animate the importance of working with an experienced translation partner to ensure that all generally understood meanings, alternative definitions, and cultural considerations are taken into account when procuring translation services on behalf of your client.

Although translation may be regarded as an imperfect science, attorneys can ensure quality and clarity by selecting a trusted translation partner to facilitate all linguistic services to safeguard the best interests of their clients in any international context. LingPerfect’s Legal Translations Experts are always available to assist with any translation, interpretation, or linguistic needs that may arise in the course of practice.

Issues in Legal Translation – Practical and Procedural Considerations

In the burgeoning language services industry, the legal translations market has been a sector of unparalleled growth in the past decade. While the development of technology such as machine translation and advanced e-discovery platforms has made complex international legal matters more manageable, the issues surrounding legal translations continue to be addressed by both practitioners and courts. The current discourse incorporates both procedural and practical considerations when foreign language documents arise in litigation and spans diverse practice areas in today’s increasing globalized legal industry.

In US jurisprudence, several recent cases have addressed the practical, common-sense considerations highlighted the importance of partnering with a trusted language services partner when foreign documents arise in the course of practice. A recent federal case in California in 2014 (In re: Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation) illustrated the importance of discretion and confidentiality when translating foreign documents. In this multi-district litigation, a legal translator working as a freelancer for an agency retained by the law firm representing the defendant Toyota Motor Corp. and uploaded hundreds of confidential and privileged documents for public access on the internet. U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna issued a tentative ruling finding the translator in civil contempt for uploading 88 confidential documents she received after signing a protective order protecting the documents in the course of the MDL. Although the case was ultimately settled, the Court’s action highlights the importance of working with an established language services provider with strict confidentiality protocols to safeguard the sensitive documents implicated in the course of discovery.

Furthermore, the budgetary considerations involved with translating a large volume of foreign documents produced in the course of discovery has also been addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2012 case Taninguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan. Ltd (132 S.Ct. 1997). In the majority opinion, Justice Alito examined whether 28 U.S.C. § 1920(6), the Court Interpreters Act, which allows courts to award a prevailing party the costs of oral interpreters, also permits a court to award for the cost of document translation. In this case, a Japanese professional baseball player suffered injuries on defendant’s property and sued, and sought to recover the costs for translating documents and medical records from Japanese into English. While noting the substantial expenditures incurred while translating the files, the Court concluded that fee stipulation in the statute only applied to oral interpreters and not document translation, ultimately rejecting a more expansive view of costs. This decision by the nation’s highest court animates the necessity of establishing the most cost-effective workflow when partnering with a provider on translation projects and ensuring budgetary considerations are taken into account from the outset of litigation.

Finally, a the Florida Supreme Court has recently addressed an issue in which non-English speakers who purchased a vehicle with an arbitration clause in the sales contract attempted to return the vehicle to the dealership. All of the agreements were in English, and the plaintiffs filed suit claiming fraud in the inducement and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the dealership attempted to enforce the arbitration clause. Ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court remanded the case on procedural grounds, but commentators have stated that the lessons learned from the case include providing that party with copies of the agreements that are translated in their native language would provide a defense to any claims that the agreements are unenforceable due to a language barrier. This intersection of law, public policy, and translation services is a unique combination of substantive and practical considerations, ultimately representing the importance of clarity and transparency in today’s diverse marketplace.

These limited examples highlight the major considerations when partnering with a language services provider – confidentiality, cost, and practicality –they by no means represent the full discourse in today’s legal translation market. The proliferation of global disputes and international business transactions in the increasingly complex business environment means that foreign documents will continue to be implicated in litigation at an increasing rate.

Both lawyers and corporations should have a trusted partner to facilitate these translation projects and become a snap-on solution for the management of foreign documents. With LingPerfect’s consultative approach, we are glad to become part of your litigation team and ensure all legal language support services are provided as discreet and cost-effective as possible.

Translating Your Website: Best Practices

In today’s digital environment your website is one of your most vital marketing tools. In a globalized economy, connecting with customers around the world also means speaking to them in their own language. LingPerfect has extensive experience translating websites for many companies in different industries.

From our experience, there are a number of things to consider when preparing to translate your website. With these key steps we can work with you to manage the process seamlessly and successfully!

  1. Determine your goals: What do you want to accomplish with this site? Who is your audience? What is the purpose? Is this an internal website for employees in your foreign offices? Is this site designed to bring in new customers? The answers to these questions will help you determine the appropriate budget, scope and method for translating your site.
  2. Define your Budget: When you think back to the amount of work and technical engineering that went into creating your website, think for a moment of how important it was to know that your investment would be worth the time, money and effort. The same applies to your international sites. In addition to tailoring the content, you will need to have budget and time set aside for addressing the technical build, images, graphics, videos, voice overs and other elements that made your original site a success. If you do not have in-house engineers who speak the language of your target market, you will also have to think about testing links, checking the layout and additional items to make sure the site is perfect.
  3. Define your strategy for non-translated data, URLs, partially translated pages: Our expert technical engineers can work with your team to ensure all elements of the site will be handled properly. This includes content that needs to stay in English for the functioning of the site. We can also work with your team to translate URLs and develop notices on the site if your target audience will be entering pages that are in English. There are many ways to go about managing this process and we can help develop your strategy prior to starting translation.
  4. Technical Preparation: Is your site going to be translated into a Non-Western font? For Asian languages and Arabic, you should consider preparing everything in Unicode before translation begins.
  5. Does your team need assistance separating code from translatable text?: Our engineers can work directly in your XML, HTML (and other files) to separate the text for you. This ensures that the coding is preserved and you receive the exact files needed for the build. Not only is this more efficient, but it avoids possible errors that occur when text is pasted in by individuals who do not know the language they are managing.
  6. Prepare for language expansion or contraction: Foreign languages will affect your layout. If you need to keep the text restricted within a given space, define the parameters at the start of the translation process. Translators can work within character limits, but they may need the “green light” in order to be more creative the text.
  7. How will you manage graphics with embedded text?: Graphics and banners with embedded text look great and have a way of making your website stand out from the crowd. Taking these embedded graphics into another language can be costly and time-consuming, but it could also be an important part of your marketing strategy. Our consultative approach will help you determine which graphics you would like to use and if certain graphics should be changed. Did you know the color red has very strong negative associations in Korea? It’s our job to know these things and we would be happy to offer consultation on the layout, colors and images of your website.
  8. Empower us with the tools to keep your branding and messaging true: When copywriters write, they are equipped with tools from their clients: style guides, brand guides and company information. These enable them to successfully create the right content. Translators will greatly benefit from having similar materials and understanding what you are looking to achieve with your website.
  9. Think about Search Engine Optimization (SEO): We can do more than help you translate your SEO terms. We do full research into determining which terms are the best for your target market. Direct translation of the terms from English will not produce the same results in your new market.
  10. Update your contacts, numbers and measurements: Before translating, it’s best to have updated contact information, phone numbers, addresses and measurements as part of the media pack.

Our team looks forward to working on your next website localization project. We can be always reached at sales@lingperfect.com

Resources for International Legal Practitioners

In today’s globalized market, international legal practitioners represent a wide array of clients spanning borders, cultures, and languages. Whether your client is a foreign party involved in transactions or litigation in the US or a domestic entity engaged in business abroad, access to the relevant jurisdiction’s laws, international treaties, and government databases is necessary to safeguard your client’s best interest. Thankfully, lawyers now have a number of reference databases online to help navigate international legal research, and we hope you find these resources helpful when undertaking these initiatives for your clients in the future.

The United Nations Treaty Collection is a definitive source for all information related to various multilateral agreements promulgated since by the UN Secretariat since 1946. The collection includes dates of accession and ratification for various jurisdictions for over 560 treaties covering a wide range of subject matters including Human Rights, the Environment, the Law of the Sea, Telecommunications, International Trade, and Commercial Transactions. The actual text of the agreements are available in all 6 of the official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, French, Chinese, Russian, English, and Spanish) and includes the official copy of the treaties along with all relevant bibliographical information.

The Eur-Lex portal is another robust database for attorneys involved in any work in which European Union legislation is implicated. The Eur-Lex portal provides access to the legislation promulgated by the EU, including full text of the treaties, regulations, directive, recommendations, and opinions, and provides general information on the governing structure and effect of these acts on domestic law. Practitioners also have access to a searchable archive of decisions from the European Court of Justice, which acts as the highest court in matters of EU law. Both the Eur-Lex EU legislation portal and the case law database are available in all 24 official languages of the EU and maintained by a permanent staff of over 1,750 linguists and 600 interpreters.

Eur-Lex also provides a database of the domestic laws of each member country of the EU through the N-Lex gateway, an integrated searchable interface that incorporates the national legislation of each of the 27 countries. The platform is supported with EuroVoc, a digital multilingual thesaurus that assists users in identifying corresponding legal terminology when looking for foreign terms in the title or text of a document. In addition, these databases were developed in cooperation with a machine translation tool that allows for the search results, which includes the titles, reference, and summaries, to be translated into all of the official languages of the European Union.

For practitioners who are undertaking legal research in a jurisdiction outside of the EU, the Law Library of Congress has provided a resource to aid practitioners in finding both case law and national legislation. The Law Library of Congress has prepared individual reference guides for a selection of countries, including China, Brazil, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, and Lebanon, that provide an introduction to the legal system as well as links to print and web resources. The Law Library of Congress has also published a guide to aid practitioners in locating English versions of various domestic laws in select jurisdictions as well as English translations of decisions from various international courts and tribunals.

While attorneys should undoubtedly undertake preliminary research on issues of foreign law, it is always recommended to work with a trusted partner when foreign documents arise in the course of discovery or transactional practice. The National Center for State Courts has published a thorough handbook for ensuring best practices when selecting a translations partner, including industry specific terminology, quality assurance safeguards, certification templates, professional accreditations, and formatting requirements, providing a roadmap for practitioners when selecting a language service provider. Our team at LingPerfect Translations is always available to provide any linguistic support with the utmost accuracy and confidentiality under tight deadlines across the globe, and we look forward to partnering with you on any language services in the future.

 

Flexible solutions, dependable results.

LingPerfect is a leading provider of translation services, localization and testing services. Our globalization services enable businesses to compete on the international market, allowing our clients to deliver the functionality and linguistic requirements of customers throughout the world.

We always deliver as promised
LingPerfect Translations is a localization company that provides professional quality language solutions. Every service required for the successful completion of your project is fulfilled by the top talent including Project Managers, Testers, Engineers, Attorneys and professional linguists worldwide.

LingPerfect is your one-stop partner
We take care of every aspect of your translation project. LingPerfect offers the most comprehensive list of professional translation services, interpretation services, and transcription services in the industry. For high volume and complex projects, Contact us and we will assign a dedicated project manager to customize a program specific to your requirements. We are ready to be of service at any time.

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“We were very thankful for the quick turnaround on our translations and will certainly be using LingPerfect for future projects” – Marketing Coordinator at skincare company selling in 20+ countries.

How can you get the most value out of your translations?

So you want to go global? Maybe you are already global and need your website translated, or perhaps some contracts for office space in another country, or it could be you even have some international talent and you need to review qualifications and cover letters in another language. Where do you begin? How do you start things off right?
By this point, most companies realize that an online machine translation is probably not going to give them the level of quality and accuracy they need for making important business decisions. Smart businesses recognize that now is the time to develop a partnership with a top notch language service provider (LSP). The question then becomes– “How do I start this process and how can I be sure that I’ll get the best value out of my translations?”
Budget_Time_Money

Look at the chart – where do you fall? Everyone’s goal is to be right where budget, timing and quality all come together and meet in perfect harmony. How can you be sure you are best positioned to make sure your partnership falls in that area?

It’s all about communication, planning and a little bit of research. These are the key things to keep in mind:

1. What are you trying to accomplish with these translations? : As with many business ventures, keeping your goals in mind helps streamline and focus the process. Translations may seem like a small administrative task to simply get done, but it actually contains the voice, messaging, and branding that is supposed to connect with your audience. Knowing your goals and what you’d like to achieve in the work will direct your translation provider in choosing the right people for the job who will give the text the proper tone and style.

2. How are you reaching those goals? : What processes do you currently have in place to reach your goals? Where do translations fit in this process? Are these translations one small piece of a big puzzle you’re working on? Or is international expansion a key initiative for your business and these translations are at the forefront of gaining access to a global market? Think about your process for completing the initiative and it will become more clear where translations fit within the steps and how high a priority they should be. It will also help you plan your budget and timing to complete them.

3. What impacts your decision making process? : As drawn up in the image diagram, everyone wants to be in the middle where cost, quality, and timing converge. The reality of most situations is that you can only choose two of three. What is most important to you? Fast and cost-effective? High-quality and budget conscience? Fast and exact? Make sure you communicate with your provider where your priorities lie.

4. What factors will come into play when choosing your translation provider? : Beyond the product itself, what other factors are you considering? The industry is such that many companies are free to share the same linguists and can provide comparable quality, pricing, and timing. What is most important to you in choosing the right LSP? Is it 24/7 service? Having someone down the street who will walk into your office at a moment’s notice to fully understand your work? Global offices? Industry experience and customer service? Professional and industry certifications for quality standards and procedures? You industry, your goals, and your priorities will determine which of these factors should be considered. Some of these may be dictated by regulatory requirements, and some may be personal preference, but not all translation companies will have the same characteristics or priorities.

5. What did you like and not like about previous translation work? : Communicating any issues with a previous translation service let’s your new provider know exactly how they can make sure not to let those issues happen again. Regardless of what the situation was, be sure to communicate any problems and keep previous translations on hand to show examples.

We hope you now have some food for thought the next time you have a need for translation services. Best of luck!

Do you need market research translations? Work with a company who understands this industry.

Market research translation services
Many industries see market research translation services as a necessary tool for continued success. Market research translations will be a key component of your growth strategy whether your business is expanding into a new global market or looking to improve its current position in an international setting.

At LingPerfect, we offer market research translations to businesses around the world. Our Project Managers have forged strong relationships with certified, professional linguists, and together they diligently produce high-quality tangible results. Our people will manage your work with native-level understanding of the language and culture of your target market, allowing us to quickly and efficiently achieve your objectives.

Market_Research_Translation

How can market research translation help your business?
If your company conducts market research on behalf of other businesses, then you are already aware of the vast global market your clients are eager to develop. Extending international service offerings to your clients will further enhance your relationship as a global central point of contact.

It’s important to consider that when your target market speaks another language, the response to your messaging may differ from what you experience in your native language. This is perhaps the most important reason to consider building a partnership with a Language Service Provider (LSP) who has experience translating market research materials for use in international markets.

LingPerfect has specialists with the knowledge and experience to best tailor your content for use in new global markets.

What makes a good market research translation?
Accuracy and experience are important for successful implementation of your international needs, but what is the most important factor that should be considered when choosing your translation partner?

Clear communication and project planning with an experienced translation provider who understands the market research industry.
It’s easy enough to take text and have it translated into another language. Making sure your text reflects the right tone and nuances for the target market requires more finesse. A provider who strives to understand your goals, brand image, and requirements will be sure to bring that knowledge into the workflow. This will show that your LSP not only has excellent customer service, but the experience and knowledge to successfully complete your market research translations.

Any individual who is responsible for writing surveys knows how vital it is to get the wording perfect in order to get the most accurate results. You should work with an LSP who understand this well and works with other industry experts who deliver the results you need.

Thinking of relying on Google Translate for your translations? Think again!

There is a lot of buzz out there about Google Translate and other machine or software translations which are cheap and instant. As a translation company we routinely get clients who wonder why translation services cost what they do and take time when you can do everything instantaneously with computers these days.

Well… it’s not that simple. Machine translation can handle some very simple sentences just fine. When you start getting into idiomatic, marketing speak or highly technical, industry specific language, machine translation still falls very short.

Language is dynamic, complex and highly nuanced. No machine or software has been built that can mimic the human brain and how it produces language. On a daily basis individuals produce speech creatively and instantly using more knowledge of tone, style, context and meaning than any software can compute.

Moreover, no software has been created that can capture how a statement needs to be culturally adapted in order to make it relevant for your target audience. Maybe that financial product you’re selling doesn’t have a counterpart in Germany. Perhaps “the grass is always greener” has no value when taken word for word in Chinese. Not to mention the fact that some Asian languages are so different from Western languages, they don’t even have tenses! Google translate isn’t going to tell you that and most of the time it doesn’t handle the line in the right way.

To explain the point, let’s do a little test run. For a recent translation we had a quote from a customer:

It doesn’t make sense to go with anyone else.

The Chinese translation was:

看电影的伴侣非其莫属。

Let’s head over to Google Translate for a demo on how machine translation compares:

google_translation_1

OK… Hm. I’m thinking maybe there was something off in that line? Why don’t I click on the “Did you mean” link since I think that is giving me some sort of auto-correct suggestion.

google_translation_2

Well, that’s clearly not right. At least it got the language right. I once dropped in Japanese and it detected Chinese since there were a couple Kanji characters.

So maybe we have one too many characters here and the period has been misplaced. I wonder how it would change if I deleted one character at a time from the end.

I just want to see something that resembles “doesn’t make sense.” That’s the key phrase here.

google_translation_3

Deleting one character resulted in what? Let’s delete another.

google_translation_4

Wow. One character and two words disappeared? And why is Google Translate giving me a hyphen? What’s that all about?

google_translation_5

Hm. Nothing changed this time.

google_translation_6

I deleted one character and now it went from “Cinema partner non-” to “Couples watching movies!”

google_translation_7

Hmmm…

google_translation_8

To watch vs. to look. OK, those are similar. Fair enough.

google_translation_9

We’re still in sort of the same ball park here even though I deleted three characters. I wonder how “ball park” would translate in Chinese. Of course assuming Google Translate would pick up what I mean.

google_translation_10

Wow. Deleting one character now changed it to “See power!”

google_translation_11

This last image really is the best. It captures the exact reason why machine translation falls short, even today, with all our technological advances. See how one Chinese character has numerous possibilities for how it can be translated and how many different characters could be used for each of those terms.

This demonstration is not meant to say that Google Translate is wrong, but without a person to go through those terms and understand the context and the message you are trying to convey, how can you be sure that the right term will be chosen?

Additionally, when a sentence can change so much by deleting one character, do you really want to leave professional translations up to a machine? Asian languages can be particularly problematic because the structure, grammar and culture is vastly different and mistranslations, especially by a machine, are even more likely.

Document & Website Translation

Communication is a vital component of any business. It is a way to stay “in touch,” and reach your clients, employees, customers and potential customers. Translation broadens your horizons and allows you to reach millions of potential customers around the globe. Translation is about more than simply replacing words with those of another language; it is about preserving the original message and conveying it in a culturally appropriate way. Take humor, for example. It is one of the best ways to grab the attention of an audience, but anyone who is bilingual will tell you how difficult it is to translate a joke. The translators at LingPerfect have know the intricacies of the languages they speak and can convey the essence of any message from one language to another. Our goal is to make impossible translations … possible. Why are our translators so good? We strive to find the best language experts from around the world. Simply knowing English is not good enough. All LingPerfect language experts go through a rigorous testing process before work with our company. Why should a company be so concerned with the quality of their translators and paying for highly professional translations? In the digital age these questions come up often as instantaneous machine translations grow in popularity. It can be difficult to explain the nuances and personal touch that makes all the difference and sometimes that is of little concern to a clients bottom line. Explaining if a certain idea or product doesn’t exist in one culture only a translator can find an appropriate substitution can also be a complex idea. It’s really best just to give a few examples from one of our favorite websites: www.engrish.com

wrong_translation_1

 

Can you blame them? Cheese and dairy products simply were not part of the Asian diet for centuries! Or how about this one:

wrong_translation_2

To be quite honest with you, I’m not even sure what this would be in English but I think the point is made.

Would you want to be one of those companies? Of course not. No one wants to be one of those companies who makes the headlines because an entire ad campaign has to be yanked for offensive material. Certainly don’t want to be a company who fails to file financial documents in a foreign country because one of the concepts was mistranslated.

We offer translation of online and offline texts and documents, both of which are important components to running a successful business. By working with LingPerfect to translate these texts you can rest assured that the only jokes you’ll worry about are the ones that need to be translated and not the jokes made about your translation.