Meet the Challenges of Asian Language eDiscovery

Meet the Challenges of Asian Language eDiscovery

Cross-border legal disputes have created a demand for electronically stored information (ESI) to be handled in multiple languages, different formats and with rapid turnaround times. This is where electronic discovery “eDiscovery” comes into play. eDiscovery solutions are developed to help practitioners handle disclosures in arbitrations, litigation and investigations in the era of Big Data. The process begins with data collection and preservation, through to decryption, repair and the use of analytical technologies, usually using trained specialists and consultants.

In Asia, internal and regulatory investigations require eDiscovery services, which often involve cross-border data transfers, especially via China. Demand is also driven by investigations by the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the China State Secrets Act, patent prosecution and shareholder litigation, and as these needs increase so does the need for eDiscovery involving data in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages (CJK).

So what exactly does this entail, and what challenges must be overcome?

The complexity of multiple languages: Cross-border eDiscovery means working in multiple languages, sometimes within the same text. For paper records, optical character recognition (OCR) is a challenge due to encoding differences in the various scripts. The complexity of this task requires advanced technologies and customized processes.

A multifaceted workflow: Separate review workflows are needed for searchable and unsearchable records. Given the nuances involved, even the most sophisticated legal counsel consult eDiscovery specialists, who can apply global best practices while being sensitive to local requirements. This means having a local presence, cultural and legal knowledge, and language skills. An in-house team would most likely not have a full understanding of the legal implications and data integrity required.

A comprehensive legal system: The courts of Hong Kong and Singapore have eDiscovery rules in place to help litigants manage eDiscovery processes and costs, following a large amount of banking and regulatory investigations. It is expected that these jurisdictions will swiftly develop their eDiscovery practices, following the US and UK.

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Adherence to privacy: Data privacy and cybersecurity laws and compliance are indispensable to eDiscovery. In Hong Kong, there was a case where state secrecy and accountancy laws were able to block disclosure requests, so it is vital to have local experts who fully understand the sensitive process and any potential data protection risks. This also means adhering to cooperate policies for handling highly sensitive data and a very specific workflow.

Let technology support eDiscovery

In terms of time, budget and effectiveness, eDiscovery technology solutions can make a huge difference to legal practice today, especially when disclosure projects are becoming increasingly complex. Even lawyers with eDiscovery experience and knowledge will consult eDiscovery specialists with the right technical know-how, local experience and an in-depth understanding of the culture and laws surrounding the collection and production of CJK language data. Working alongside business, legal, compliance and IT teams, these experts create a workflow that is integrated across languages, departments, and even countries.

Don’t be put off if you are launching into CJK discovery for the first time. CJK experts can recognize and work with multiple encoding standards to convert ESI content. When it comes to grammar and sentence structure, they know that characters are not segmented into words, and sometimes are completely pictographic. A native speaker who understands regional and cultural variations, and the many other nuances in CJK, can help provide the most accurate data for any investigation.

SDL can do all this for you and more. Coming from a multilingual background using legal specialists, SDL has extensive experience working in different jurisdictions and practices, whether cultural or specific to the local jurisprudence. Combined with an advanced understanding of the workflow, sensitivity, and urgency required of multilingual eDiscovery projects, this guarantees you an accurate and fast translation, every time.

Contact SDL today and find out more about our Multilingual eDiscovery Solution.