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Academic Articles Awards > Cross-border Issues

Translation Protocols: The Time Has Come

Lisa C. Wood, Antitrust, Spring 2015

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Translation and interpretation are also both very expensive, and they will affect the time it takes to complete discovery and trial. Courts and clients will, of course, want to control cost and promote efficiency, but these objectives must be balanced against those other factors to make sure that translation quality is not sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. A translation protocol (which typically addresses the related issue of interpretation) is one way to strike this balance. To explore these interesting and competing issues, I interviewed several lawyers experienced with translation and interpretation, as well as several translators. These interviews were invaluable, and I want to acknowledge the assistance of John H. Chung, White & Case LLP; Kevin B. Goldstein, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Ian Simmons, O’Melveny & Myers LLP; Mark L. Krotoski and Hill B. Wellford, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Layne E. Kruse, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP; Wheatleigh Dunham, Attorney Translation Services, LLC; and my Foley Hoag colleagues Thomas Ayres, Claire Laporte, and Jeremy Younkin. I also reviewed translation protocols we have developed at Foley Hoag, as well as several protocols used in recent cartel cases, and quote liberally from them later in this column. Intrigued by what I heard in these interviews, I dusted off my college textbooks on the philosophy of language, and actually reread several essays on translation to remind myself of the academic community’s views on translation outside the legal context. Lastly, I reviewed the ABA’s own Standards for Language Access in Courts, adopted in February 2012. I served on the project advisory group that developed these standards, and as the chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, I have had the privilege of speaking to judges around the country regarding implementation of these standards.

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