I would like to supplement the way that I present information on Inside eDiscovery with a new series entitled, Inside Focus. These posts will allow me to highlight specific eDiscovery subjects with bulleted lists of tips, suggestions, expectations and personal experience. I start the series with Foreign Language Document Review. eDiscovery that incorporates foreign language(s) is often challenging and expensive and it adds a layer of complexity that can overwhelm timelines, case teams, institutional resources and vendors. I have managed many foreign language matters (FCPA, IP and general cross-border litigation) and have acquired expertise where there isn’t necessarily guidance or support. The following topics are meant to serve as a high-level check-list of issues related to foreign language eDiscovery and review;
· Cost – Review in a foreign language is far slower, rates for multi-lingual reviewers are far higher and collection/processing issues are far more complex. These critical components to the eDiscovery process may double or triple the cost of English language reviews.
· Data Privacy/Jurisdiction – Privacy or other jurisdictional concerns may impact more traditional approaches to eDiscovery and require multi-jurisdiction review. Global partners (collection, processing, hosting, staffing, etc.) may be indispensable in coordinating international efforts.
· Language and Client – Collaboration with a foreign/international client is more important than with English-speaking clients during the eDiscovery process. A client’s language and business expertise is meaningful when developing search terms as well as understanding terms of art and proper nouns, etc.
· Management – Managing a foreign language review can be challenging if you are not language proficient because there will always be issues regarding verifying the quality of the work product. I recommend having a trusted resource to monitor the analysis or translation work. For large firms, you may have a language speaker in-house, the client may be a resource or staffing providers may have experienced language-specific project managers.
· Review Platforms – It is important to fully understand the capabilities and/or limitations with specific review platforms and your language(s). Specifically, it is important to verify how languages with non-English characters are treated (particularly Chinese, Japanese and Korean).
· Staffing – If you seek to employ multi-lingual review attorneys, it is critical to know their fluency and all candidates should be tested and you should know their fluency percentage. ALTA is a market leader in language testing and you may learn more at www.altalang.com. Under general circumstances, native speakers are preferred because they have broader cultural and business exposure.
· Technology – Emerging technology like machine translation (MT), machine learning and predictive coding may be powerful options for your foreign language matter. Predictive coding and automated translation tools are evolving and creating opportunities for efficiency. These tools, working together or separately, need to be thoroughly vetted and evaluated considering efficacy, product capability, cost and production requirements/agreements.