4 Tips for Navigating Translations in Cross-Border IP Litigation
July 20, 2023
Cross-border IP litigation can be a complex and time-consuming process. As a legal professional, ensuring that your documents are accurately translated and tailored to the requirements of the target country is vital. In this article, we will share valuable insights on how to navigate translations in cross-border IP litigation with ease.
Translation Partner with Expertise in IP Litigation
Selecting the right translation partner is crucial to the success of cross-border IP litigation. Your translation partner should have in-depth knowledge of IP law in both the source and target countries. They should also have experience translating complex legal terminology specific to the IP law and the particular technology in question. An experienced translation partner will ensure that the translated documents are accurate and comply with the legal requirements of the country you are filing in.
Asking for a few translators’ resumes is always a good move. The richness of the resumes you receive speaks to the quality of your chosen partner, even though those translators may only sometimes work on your project. The same applies to requesting a sample translation. While the agency should handle the sample with extra care, how it manages your request (e.g., the questions they ask and the swiftness with which they complete the piece) will help narrow the list of potential partners.
Lastly, ask the language services provider for case studies highlighting their work on recent IP disputes in the language pertinent to you. Even anonymized ones will quickly tell you whether they are used to dealing with high-profile matters involving intricate subject matter, tight deadlines, and large volumes.
Early Planning for Translations
Planning early for translations is easier said than done. That said, planning for translation early in the process is essential. It helps avoid delays and ensures that the translated documents are ready when needed. By planning, you can identify and address potential issues before they impact your work.
One of the most common obstacles to receiving quality translations on time is legal teams waiting too long to submit files for translation. While the nature of legal work is such that this sometimes cannot be avoided, even one to two extra business days can make a difference and help prevent splitting a document to meet a deadline or at least reduce the number of ways a document gets split up. It is especially true for patents which a translator and an editor should do. The smaller the team, the better the consistency. Of course, allowing more time helps also relieves pressure on the overall quality control process and provides more opportunities for reducing costs.
In cases where a critical document is more sizeable and needed within a tight timeframe, providing your language services provider with a near-final draft—with limited changes expected afterward—can sometimes be wise so they get the ball rolling.
Technology to Streamline the Translation Process
Technology can be a valuable tool in streamlining the translation process for IP litigation. Translation memory (“TM”) software can help to identify and reuse previously translated content, reducing the time and cost of translation. Talk to your translation provider about this to understand the advantages and disadvantages of TM. When timing is tight, it is essential to understand that given how TM works, it can sometimes get in the way of meeting a pressing deadline, especially when splitting a file is necessary.
Machine translation (“MT”) may prove an effective method for document review to understand which documents are relevant. It may also be a more cost and time-effective approach for translations only needed for internal consideration rather than filing. It is, however, essential to note that machine translation may not be suitable for all types of content and file types. When reviewing machine translations to decide which content is relevant to your case, it is ideal to have a native speaker of the source language review both source and target texts. While machine translations might read well, it does not mean it is 100% accurate, so keep this in mind when sorting through machine-translated documents on which your team may rely.
Most importantly, if you do use MT, do not use free online tools which own the data put into them. Unless it is publicly available material, feeding these tools with confidential information is almost certainly breaching client NDAs, data protection laws, and internal security policies. Rely on the experience of your provider to understand which paid tools are best.
Ensure Confidentiality and Security
Confidentiality and security are paramount when it comes to cross-border IP litigation. Your translation partner should have strict protocols to ensure all materials’ privacy and security. These protocols should include everything from NDAs and agreed-upon processes for transferring files.
Any litigation process presents challenges. International IP litigation adds new demands with the inherent need to work in multiple languages on highly technical matters. However, with the right approach in place, it is easily navigated. You can ensure the effortless handling of the foreign language elements of your case by selecting a translation partner with documented expertise in IP litigation, planning for translation early in the process, using technology to streamline the translation process and control costs, and ensuring confidentiality and security of the translated documents.