How technology can assist with the e-discovery process

Legal & Finance

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Given the global nature of today’s business landscape, multilingual cases are becoming more and more likely as businesses enter new markets and export around the world. This means that when a case comes up, you’re likely to find source documents in several different languages, especially at the e-discovery stage.

What’s the best approach when you find multilingual electronically stored information (ESI) in your e-discovery files? In this article, we’ll cover how advances in translation technology can help to make the process smooth so multilingual ESI doesn’t break your stride.

Machine translation

Machine translation (MT) is one of the main tools that can be leveraged in order to save time in the e-discovery translation process. Machine translation engines are trained using translations done by human translators, and can be generic or specialize in a specific area of expertise, for example, law. This is useful because words can have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used – for example, “case” has different meanings for a shipping company or for a law firm. By training the engine using legal content, it will produce translations that fit the legal sector. It’s even possible to train a company-specific translation engine, and this is a wise choice when the terminology used within an organization is highly specific.

While machine translation is often useful for quickly understanding the gist of a document, it can be used in conjunction with a human translator to offer a higher-quality end result. There are two levels of post-editing available, machine translation with light post-editing and machine translation with full post-editing. Let’s take a look at both.

Machine translation with light post-editing is when human translators make minor edits to a machine-translated text. With this option, you receive an understandable translation, but not one that is stylistically perfect.

Machine translation with full post-editing includes a full proofreading of the machine translation output by a human translator. They go beyond grammatical edits and ensure that the tone and style are appropriate and suit the context of the translation. This option is comparable to a translation performed by a human translator and is recommended for documents which will be used externally.

In the context of e-discovery, both of these options are faster than the traditional translation process and can help ensure that you receive your documents back as quickly as possible. They can also help to optimize costs, and often generate significant cost savings.

Translation memories

Translation memories are another technology that can come in handy during the e-discovery phase. A translation memory (TM) is a database which contains previously translated content that can be re-used for future translations. Translation memories are built for a specific customer, and they ensure translation consistency by using the same terminology each time. The more you use a translation memory, the stronger it becomes, as it will include more words and text segments that have already been translated. A TM looks for matches between content that has been previously translated and the document that is being translated, and reuses content where possible. These previously translated text segments are then suggested to translators.

How does using a translation memory benefit you? One of the primary benefits is efficiency. Using a TM means that a translator only has to translate a word once, which is especially useful in documents with repetitive content. Another key benefit is consistency – the translation memory will remember your preferred terminology. This way, even if several different translators work on your documents for a given case, the translations will have a high degree of consistency. Finally, cost savings are another key benefit that translation memories can offer. In the long run, using a translation memory can result in substantial savings, and in our experience, translation memories can result in savings of around 20% for financial and legal content. This can really add up, especially used in conjunction with other translation technologies. To bring us back to the context of e-discovery, translation memories can help you get your documents back faster and ensure they are highly consistent, which is essential in the legal field.

Conclusion

Advances in translation technology can ensure a smoother translation process for any multilingual ESI documents you come across in the e-discovery process. When speaking with your translation partner, consider asking about how machine translation or translation memories could be implemented in your project, as they can offer huge time and cost savings for you. If you’re interested in discussing translation technologies for the legal sector, our team of legal translation experts is always ready to chat!