Managing Multilingual eDiscovery

Managing Multilingual eDiscovery

Stay one step ahead in an ever-accelerating world

Cross-border litigation can be complicated and costly. Both global commerce and global innovation mean that foreign language eDiscovery is now ubiquitous. In turn, law firms and corporate legal departments are challenged daily to manage multilingual eDiscovery as efficiently as possible. With data volumes continuing to grow, conducting business in multiple languages has become business as usual.

These factors mean that planning ahead and establishing a process to address multilingual demands identified in eDiscovery is a vital one; a process that will save you serious time, and money while creating global efficiencies for you and your clients.

Let’s take a look at the options and considerations.

Resources: in-house or outsourced?

In-house translation teams

PROS: Your team fully understands the company policy and content, workflows etc, and can work face-to-face to facilitate better communications. Having in-house translators makes it easier to adjust to urgent projects or respond to last minute changes.

CONS: You’ll have no support when translators are absent. You will have limited capability, capacity and expertise in different practices; the skillset and language coverage of an in-house hire may be narrow. Onboarding an internal team for one off projects can be time-consuming and costly. Scalability issues are hard to overcome.

Outsourcing to a language services provider (LSP)

PROS: Access to a wide range of professional linguists with the full range of industry expertise. Plus, project management, translation certification, and specialized technology to accommodate high volumes and tight deadlines – such as translation management system, translation memory, machine translation, and system integration (i.e., connecting a machine translation system with your eDiscovery platform via a connector). If you hire a service provider with encrypted data storage and transfer system, you can rest assured that your client’s data won’t be compromised. Also, the whole process will be measurable, repeatable and above all consistent – something which is tougher to manage internally.

CONS: This is typically more costly on a per word, per page basis, or per project, and if your translation team are not on-site, you will have little or no direct communication with the linguists.

Technology: machine or human translation?

Human translation:

PROS: Humans can interpret context and capture the same meaning to bridge cultural gaps, rather than simply translating words. They can also review their work, ensuring quality and accuracy.

CONS: Slower turnaround times and higher costs.

Machine translation (MT):

PROS: MT is a way of managing the daunting costs and timeframes of multilingual eDiscovery, enabling translation between multiple languages using one tool, with a given document’s meaning instantly provided.

CONS: While MT can be configured to meet your specific needs, your team may not have the time for training to get the best from it, which means the process will suffer – resulting in potential errors in legal terminology.

Process: how to maximize efficiency and minimize cost

Multiple languages can impact identification, collection and document review. For example, search terms must be translated, yet strict word translations may not account for cultural differences.

The steps below give you a way to determine data relevance, and avoid needless translation and unnecessary expense.

  1. Reduce the size of the electronically stored information (ESI) set by filtering with keywords, preferably with the agreement of opposing counsel.
  2. Detect the primary and secondary language of each document.
  3. Use the right document review technology, e.g. Technology Assisted Review (TAR) to automate a first pass review. A thorough review can make a high-level cut to identify relevant and non-relevant ESI. This could reduce date volume by over 50%.
  4. During the first pass review, reviewers should tag relevant documents that require translation.

Compliance: be prepared for new regulations

Think about the amount of data you share with your service providers for cross-border litigation cases. It’s vital that they comply with all aspects of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Make sure your service providers operate in a member state that has signed up to the GDPR and complies with all the relevant regulations. This doesn’t only apply to the service provider itself, but also to all sub-contractors, such as linguists (for LSPs), and also to the jurisdictions in which the company’s servers are based. In addition, make sure the technology or tools they use are secured, that they are willing to sign NDAs, and that they have information security accreditations such as ISO 27001.

Budgets and deadlines will of course influence how you manage your eDiscovery process. But working collaboratively with your clients and partners to understand the nuances of each case in depth will help you minimize both risk and cost.

Click here to learn how we can help you optimize your multilingual eDiscovery.