5 Considerations for Multilingual Litigation Content Review

welocalize May 3, 2021

Globalization has created opportunities for companies to expand into new markets. However, it has also led to challenges related to legal and regulatory disputes. Cross-border litigation is both thorny and costly. Law firms and corporate legal teams often have to deal with multiple countries, multiple legal systems, and multiple languages. 

Rapid Growth of Cross-Border Litigation  

A survey by Statista shows that 38% of all companies surveyed were involved in cross-border litigation. Another survey by global law firm, Hogan Lovells, revealed that 90% of cross-border disputes involved two to three countries, with some even crossing into as many as 50 jurisdictions. This trend is likely to increase rapidly as more companies expand internationally. 

Cross-border disputes often involve customers and suppliers over commercial and contractual issues. They can also arise from regulatory scrutiny by foreign governments for anti-competitive behavior, corruption practices, and breaches of trade sanctions. Some companies take legal action as a business strategy to protect their intellectual property or strengthen their market position. 

Surge of Content in Global Litigation 

The volume of data is staggering. Over 59 zettabytes (ZB) of data were created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide in 2020, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). As more people and organizations produce data on their computers, mobile devices, and the cloud, online content will grow at a 40% annual compound rate. 

All types of data can serve as evidence in cross-border litigation. This includes documents, emails, images, databases, spreadsheets, presentations, audio files, videos, social media content, instant messages, and other forms of electronically stored information. Add to these scanned documents and hard copies, and you can just imagine the scope of work. 

Cross-border litigation involves a massive amount of data that needs to be searched, identified, processed, and reviewed. To make matters more complicated, 80% of all litigation is multilingual, according to Gartner. 

In this latest post, Park IP shares 5 considerations for multilingual litigation content review and the challenges surrounding cross-border litigation Click To Tweet
Challenges and Costs of Multilingual E-Discovery 

To say that dealing with cross-border litigation is a challenge is a huge understatement. Multiple jurisdictions can mean different and sometimes confusing legal systems. Some countries may have data collection laws that prevent data transfer outside of their territories. 

The complications are even more pronounced in electronic discovery, or e-discovery, where electronic data is searched, secured, and used as legal evidence. Multilingual e-discovery is complex, costly, and time consuming. The stakes, however, are high. Poor translations and missed deadlines can lead to potential fines, investigations, and legal liability. 

It’s not just the mountain of data for legal teams to sift through. The fact that the data is in different languages adds a deeper layer of complexity. Some documents could be in different character sets or written in different directions. Others could be in a mix of languages. 

Translating them before English-speaking lawyers can even start to review them already takes a lot of time. Translating them accurately pushes the lead time further. This is detrimental to cases that require tight deadlines and quick turnaround times. 

Hiring human translators alone or relying on local law firms quickly adds to the cost of cross-border litigation. According to the Rand Institute for Civil Justice, document review is the most expensive stage of e-discovery. Due to outsourcing and the high cost of using lawyers, it accounts for 73% of the total cost. The estimate is US$1,800 to US$210,000, with the cost for multilingual review as much as three times higher. 

Taking this approach is not only slow; however, it’s also very expensive. 

MT and AI in Multilingual Legal Content 

To accelerate the translation process, legal teams have resorted to machine translation (MT) to augment human translators. This is crucial in the discovery stage, ensuring that lawyers review only relevant documents. 

While this approach certainly can handle bulk translation within a shorter time frame, basic online MT faces many of the same obstacles of manual translation. The result: inaccurate translations. Another drawback is the lack of security. In the legal profession, that is simply unacceptable. 

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) with the use of machine learning (ML) and neural language processing (NLP) can play a huge role in producing accurate and reliable translations. There are four areas where AI can be deployed to streamline e-discovery and review. 

Language Identification

Advanced linguistic AI technology automatically detects multiple languages and their proportion in the data set. This serves as the basis for which language skills are needed to review the documents. 

Text Search

AI can generate search and terminology to process foreign language data. Customized engines for MT and AI per language and data type ensure that key terminology is correct and linguistic nuances are contextualized for proper translation. 

Text Extraction

Enhanced optical character recognition (OCR) technology extracts multilingual text from scanned documents and even audio files. And this can be done at scale.  

Document Organization

Linguistic analytics can organize documents by batches for first-level review. They can be separated by language and assigned to appropriate translators. 

Legal firms can utilize MT and AI solutions to produce accurate and reliable translations, ensuring that key terminology is correct throughout the translation process Click To Tweet
Partnering With Multilingual Litigation Specialists 

As multilingual translation isn’t the core competence of legal teams and law firms, the best approach is to work with specialized language service providers (LSPs). These companies already have the technology and network to do the heavy load. 

Look for a consultative LSP with broad expertise in linguistics and deep experience in litigation translation. Partner with one that has e-discovery capabilities and AI technology for language review and analytics. Make sure it can customize and deploy engines for MT and AI to process large volumes of documents. Ensure it has a global network of human translators and linguists for manual review. 

How Park IP Can Help 

Park IP, a Welocalize company, is a full-service firm that provides translation and interpreting services to support litigation matters. As translation and process experts across diverse practice areas, we serve global law firms, corporate enterprises, and legal professionals. 

Park IP handles all translation requirements for high-profile cases involving multiple sites, complex logistical challenges, and tight deadlines with ease. Our solution combines the power of MT and AI with configurable workflows to streamline automation with professional reviewers and translators for blended tasks. Contact us to learn more.